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Surveys Find Digital Copier Reliability & Appeal Vary By Vendor

18 Apr, 2001 By: Brian Bissett imageSource

Surveys Find Digital Copier Reliability & Appeal Vary By Vendor

Recent data contained in the September and October issues of The Office Products Analyst, a newsletter published by Industry Analysts, provides interesting insights into the current views of copier dealers and end users with regard to various monochrome digital copier models.

Reported in the September issue were the results of Industry Analysts’ Annual Copier Reliability Study, which was based on results from 146 US independent copier dealers. The dealers provided percentage ratings for 158 different B&W copiers from Canon, Konica, Kyocera Mita, Minolta, Panasonic, Ricoh, Sharp and Toshiba.

Some 37% of the B&W models in the survey were digital, while the 63% were analog. Both digital and analog models with the exception of Panasonic, which had no digital models in this survey, represented all vendors. Ratings were also provided for four-color copier models.


The ratings on the various models ranged from a low of 56.7% to a high of 93.3%. Industry Analysts considers those models having a dealer rating of 85% or higher to be “recommended purchases.” Of the 21 models falling into this category, 10 were digital machines. At the opposite end of the spectrum were 7 digital models receiving ratings from dealers of 70% or lower.

It was also interesting to note the relative differences in analog and digital copier rankings between vendors, as weighted by number of models in the survey. On average, digital models were rated slightly higher at 78.8% than were analog machines at 78.0%. However, the preference for digital models was by no means universal.

Analog Vs- Digital

Canon and Konica digital models were on average rated significantly higher than analog copiers from these vendors. The two vendors’ digital models enjoyed the highest absolute ratings. Kyocera Mita’s digital models were also ranked noticeably higher than its analog machines, while digital models from Minolta and Toshiba were only slightly preferred over those vendors’ analog copiers.

The big surprise was that Ricoh’s digital models were ranked lower than its analog models. In fact, Aficios were ranked much lower than any other digital copiers. Ricoh also had the lowest rated analog machines. Sharp was the only other vendor whose analog models beat its digital models.

Reported in the October issue of The Office Products Analyst were the results of Industry Analysts’ Annual Copier User Survey. The survey compiled 233 end-user company responses encompassing some 568 different copiers. Note that these data are not necessarily intended to be reflective of the actual installed base of copiers, and in fact probably are not. For example, three vendors — Xerox, Canon and Konica — accounted for over half (55%) of the units in the survey. Conversely, popular copiers from Ricoh, Savin and Gestetner accounted for only 7% of the surveyed units.

The survey found 67 different B&W copier models in use, with digital machines accounting for 25% the models and analog copiers representing the other 75%. Each model was rated by users on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the highest) for reliability, price/performance, copy quality, service support, overall support. These criteria were then used to derive an overall rating for each model.

Digital models were rated the top models or tied for the top model position in three of the six speed categories used in the survey. Lanier’s 20 ppm 5020 MFD was rated highest ,with a score of 9.7 in the 15-24 ppm category. The 5020 MFD is a relabelled version of Ricoh’s Aficio 220. Xerox’s 32 ppm Document Centre 332 tied a Sharp analog model with a score of 9.8 in the 25-44 ppm speed range. These were also the highest rated models in the survey. Canon’s 55 ppm imageRUNNER 550 was the top-ranked model, with a score of 9.5, in the 45-59 ppm speed category.

Top Ratings

Four other digital models received overall ratings of at least 9.0. These machines were the 40 ppm Kyocera Mita Ai4040, the 32 ppm Sharp AR-5132, the 60 ppm Canon imageRUNNER 600, and the 135 ppm Xerox DocuTech 135.

Conversely, four digital machines had overall ratings below 8.0. These were Canon’s 21 ppm iR 210 and 40 ppm iR400, Sharp’s 20-25 ppm AR-200/205, and Xerox’s 65 ppm Document Centre 265. The iR210 (7.3) and Document Centre 265 (7.4) had the lowest digital copier ratings. Only four analog copiers received lower ratings than these.

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