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PROFIT By Servicing HP's New Printers

13 Nov, 2008 By: Steve Geishirt imageSource

PROFIT By Servicing HP's New Printers

Right now, thousands of new, HP business printers are landing on office desktops
all over the country. These new machines replace HP’s “bread and butter”
LaserJet 4250 and LaserJet 4350 series, first introduced in 2004. These new
machines, with new engines  and new features, all mean new service opportunities
to generate revenue. Will you be  ready to service this new army of office
printers? To help position technicians and business owners for a more 
profitable future, Parts Now! has put together the following analysis:

Introducing the New Printer Line

More than a million LaserJet 4250 and 4350s will soon start to age and
disappear from the marketplace, only to be replaced with the newer, faster
models: the HP P4014, P4015 and P4515. We anticipate the life cycle to extend
beyond its predecessor – up to 3 years vs. 2 for the LJ 4250 and 4350.  These
new monochrome business class printers are very promising to those of us in the
service world for many reasons.  We predict even a larger market presence than
the LJ 4250, closer to 1.5 million. The “keep it and fix it” price bucks the
trend of disposable printers priced under $700 – which are cheaper to dispose of
rather than repair. Instead, HP held the price point steady. The P4015 base unit
is listed on HP’s website at $1,099. The lusher model, the “dtn” (duplex, extra
tray and network), now known as the “x” version, is priced at $1,629. Instead of
reducing the price and going for market share, HP saw the wisdom of adding new
and improved features that justify the price.

These added features are a bonus for the customer and present new and
different service issues for the dealer.  Within months (March of 2009), the new
model warranty will run out and customers will begin to call. At a glance, the
new machine and its predecessor look like mirror images. But under the covers,
these are very different animals.

There are four key differences:

1.         New Approach to Model Numbers

2.         New Speeds

3.         New Maintenance Kits

4.         New Engine

Let’s address each in detail:

1. New Approach to Model Numbers

  • LaserJet P4014 replaces the LaserJet 4240 (lite version)
  • LaserJet P4015 replaces the LaserJet 4250
  • LaserJet P4515 replaces the LaserJet 4350

The new model naming structure means you must know the class of machine
first, then its grouping. If you’re looking for the new models on HP’s website,
you may struggle. They are listed by series. The LJ P4014 and P4015 are listed
under the P4010 series of printers. The P4515 is listed under the P4510 series.
HP is likely directing customers to a group or series of units to suit their
needs. If the customer needs a printer that’s 40 – 50 ppm and costs $1,000 to
$1,200, they would be directed to the P4010 series. This could be a good tool
for customers down the road as individual model numbers change to, say, P4016 or
P4020. The category would remain the same but the models could change over time.

2. New Speed Cycles       

Model PPM Predecessor Duty Cycle
P4014  45 ppm  40 ppm  175k
P4015 52 ppm 45 ppm 225k
P4515   62 ppm  55 ppm   275k

Interestingly, duty cycles vary even though models all use the same engine.
HP continues to create an engine with a maximum speed rated at 62 ppm, but it
can slow down to create other models to fill additional market needs. The
benefit to HP is efficiency: fewer parts on the shelf. The service provider
benefit: only one maintenance kit is required.

3. New Maintenance Kits

One kit fits all three of the models. Kit CB388A is rated for 225k pages. It
includes a fuser, transfer roller and 8 feed/sep rollers while eliminating the
tray 1 pickup roller. Many customers didn’t use tray 1, so why replace parts
that aren’t used? For those who do, HP has a new kit called the MP Tray Kit.

Kit CB506-67905 is the MP Tray Kit. It contains a tray 1 pickup roller, a
feed and a separation roller. (Yes, the separation pad is gone.) This is a
unique but effective method of pickup, feed and separation – especially for
these higher pages per minute machines.

The maintenance kit reset uses the keypad. This procedure is only for the
maintenance kit, not other kits such as the MP tray kit, printer roller kit (2
feed/sep rollers for a cassette tray), transfer roller kit (just the transfer
roller), or fuser kit (just the fuser).

4. New Engine

Good news for service dealers: there is no swing plate assembly to fail,
which can cost techs 40 minutes to a couple of hours to replace. The machine
looks like a hybrid between the LJ 4350 and the P3005. You can see examples of
both units when you tear off the cover. For instance, there are three drive
motors in the P4015 series: one for the toner cartridge and transfer roller, one
for the front of the paper path, and one for the fuser and delivery assembly.
While the P3005 uses one motor for the front paper path and toner cartridge, the
fuser and delivery in the P3005 have a separate motor. This motor is partially
used for the duplex. When the fuser motor shifts into reverse it pulls the paper
back from the delivery assembly and directs the paper into the duplex assembly.
While the fuser motor runs in reverse, gearing near the fuser keeps it moving
forward so reversing the fuser does not cause damage. The P3005 also uses a
fuser drive system similar to the LJ 2400 series which has a unique, if not very
loud, noise problem with its gears. The gearing in the P3005 as well as the
P4015 series has been beefed up greatly and some helical gears have been added
to reduce noise. Time will tell how successful (and quiet) this is.

The Bottom Line

The P4010 and P4510 series are new engines as well as new models. I liken
this to a new model year car. If you’ve ever purchased a new model year car –
one that is a new design – you experience bugs and problems that engineers
couldn’t anticipate. I had a new model car once. It had multiple problems and
once the warranty was up, it became costly to fix. Ultimately it needed a head
gasket replaced because there was a common flaw that allowed radiator fluid to
leak into the engine. It can be similar with new model year printers. Remember
the LJ 4200 sleeve problem?

Steve Geishirt is the director of training at Parts Now! Since 1989 he has
served in the functions of bench repair technician & service manager. He now
oversees training which includes educating sales and technical staff on new
printers and their technologies, and online printer repair.  For more info visit


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