Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Memjet printer comparison videos

I tweeted a couple weeks back about the new Memjet web site, which accompanies the Silverbrook Research site.

With a little time on my hands during this semi-holiday week (at least it's starting to feel that way), I have been poking around a bit more, and finding some interesting gems worth suggesting to my readers. The head-to-head videos (between a Memjet letter-sized prototype and a combination of inkjet and color lasers from Brother, Canon, HP, and Xerox) provide interesting viewing. I might suggest adding a musical soundtrack, for example Flight of the Bumblebee, or perhaps, fitting with the Fourth of July, The William Tell Overture. (Who would have ever thought in years past that a video comparing two desktop printers could be TOO QUIET?)

I like this one too, showing where the Memjet components go in the printer -- and by deduction, what the OEM's responsibilities include, meaning that perhaps the time lapse from componet announcement to shipping printers is indicative of a pretty big order, and that we should not be too surprised that it's taking a couple of years.

On that front, I will send readers over to Art Post's "Print For Pay Hotel" blog and his excellent post, "Who's Afraid of Memjet" and follow-up commentary from Memjet Home and Office Vice President Kim Beswick, on the current status of Memjet and its partners.

And now take a look, not a comparison per se but the 4x6 proto demo, similar that got the buzz going in the first place, back in 2007.


Anonymous said...

Give it up Jim.

You've been chasing this bird for 2 years. There has to be something more "available" to write about!

When you actually have a real memjet on your desk and put it through the ringer we would be happy to hear what you have to say about it at that time.

Jim Lyons said...

Hey Anonymous --

I don't mind your friendly jab, just wish you'd reveal your identity!


PS -- One clue I have is you seem to know me (personally) well enough to use a "bird" reference!

bruce said...

I have to agree this memjet machine is worst than vaporware. They have obviously had developmental setbacks otherwise we would have seen machine's by now.

Kim (Memjet Home and Office said...

Delays - well yes. Disappointment - perhaps.

"Worse than vaporware" - a little harsh.

I'm curious. Has there been a major printer technology announcement over the last 5 years that HAS been on schedule?

Edgeline? Nope. Brother Lions Head? Not yet! Kodak new IJ's - Nope. Memjet - well we know that answer. I could use your help making a list.

The reality - we are still looking forward to getting Jim a unit he can in fact "put through the ringer"

We are aware of having miss set some early expectations re: launch dates and applogize for any real frustration that might have caused potential customers.

Anonymous said...

Jim, I don't know you, and I don't even live in the same country as you. The intention was not to jab, but to point out to your readers that this is getting real boring. Memjet has been hyped up as the next best printer for a couple of years now witout anyone ever being able to prove it's worthyness. If Kim ( memjet home office ) has anything to do with memjet, she had the perfect opportuity right here, right now, to clear the air, but chose the same old same old.

Kim or Jim,

Can you honestly say there will be a machine available to the public in the next 3 months in the $300 range that will produce 3600 high quality colour prints per hour that are as good as or better than any Epson or Canon on the market today ( Quality Wise ) and will be able to work only using it half days producing over 1/4 million prints a month without a problem, all at a cost of a fraction of a penny over the paper cost?

Here is some news for you. I'm a commercial printer ( 15 years ) and have been doing this for the past eight years. I have a large number of Canon IP3500's modified with continues ink systems I build and install for myself. I paid $29 for the printers ( new ) and another $10 for the parts in my continues ink systems. I buy my ink by the gallon directly from the labs that make it. At $40 per gallon, I can't even factor in a cost per copy for the inkjet inks, as it falls way below the penny range. So ... I for one can honestly say that I CAN PRODUCE over 1/4 million HIGH QUALITY full colour prints per month at a cost of a fraction of a penny over the cost of the ordinary paper I consume and have been doing this for years. Furthermore, my clients prefer the sharpness and accuracy or overall High Quality of my colour printing today over the quality of the offset printing I use to provide them with years ago.

I have great reservations that memjet is going to improve on what I already have. I would bet that in oder to get the same quality, the memjet will have to be run at half the speed. And I doubt they will be able to come to the same total costs per copy.

So until I am proven wrong, I will keep my opinion that there has to be something more "available" or more exciting to write about. When you actually have a real memjet on your desk and put it through the ringer we would be happy to hear what you have to say about it at that time.

Jim Lyons said...

Hi Anon --

Well, that's a lot to chew on!

I will let Kim choose to respond to your specific requests of her and Memjet, but let me invite you to share more about your current solution -- I am fascinated. You are really pushing barrels of ink through $29 printers, in a print-for-pay setting?

The blog contains detail on how to reach me in other ways, or feel free to continue to comment here. Thanks!

Jim Lyons

Anonymous said...

Inkjet technology is precise and spits out very little ink so a gallon or in my case, 4 gallons ( CMYK ) can go a long long way. And being a commercial printer or in the print-for-pay business as you call it, printing full colour letterhead, envelopes and business cards all day contributes to the lower ink usage as well. So there is no barrels of ink needed.

Yes, it's true, I am a commercial printer in business for 15 years who has switched from offset printing to inkjet some 8 years ago. I no longer use offset or xerography to produce anything in colour. It’s just seems stupid to me. Before deciding to open my own business, I had a successful career with Xerox Canada as a top rated technical specialist and like yourself have always had an interest in all the technologies or different ways a print can be produced. I also worked for Gestetner and AB Dick before that. Xerography or today's laser printers I think will die off soon for better less complicated, less costly, and more environmentally friendly technologies just as the gasoline engine will die off for more environmentally friendly and less expensive alternatives. Xerography machines have to many moving parts and are costly to maintain. Offset takes labour and uses harsh chemistry. With my background and a good understanding of the technologies available I decided inkjet was not only something that can produce colour prints with exceptional results, it was also the most environmentally safe. So I set out to solve a few shortcomings with the inkjet technology of the day. Namely, speed and the cost of ink. Speed was easily solved by simply using several inkjets at the same time to achieve any speed I needed for a particular job. Ink costs were solved by designing and installing ink feed systems to the machines. I think I read somewhere that if I were to buy the typical inkjet cartridges to equal a full gallon it would cost me somewhere around $7,200.00 per gallon! "Continued in the next posting due to posting limitations."

Anonymous said...

I no longer have to worry about chemistry, colour separations, plates, labour, and so on.  I get easily $20,000.00 to $30,000.00 worth of colour printing sales per machine before I need to replace it.  I have several units on the go at any one time and a large supply of new machines ready to be modified and come to work for me anytime I want or need more capacity.  There are no service contracts ... these are throw away machines.  There is no toner ... it's inkjet ink which I buy by the gallon straight from the laboratories that custom make it for $40 a gallon.  I don't even factor in ink costs ( they are to low ).  When I switched to these units after supplying my clients for years with offset printing, the feedback was  "whatever your doing, don't go back to the way you did it before".   The quality had noticeably improved.  It was simply a much better, more accurate print than offset.  And we all know the most accurate technology for printing today is inkjet based.   That is why the better ones are often used as proofing machines before going to press.

So now let’s get to all the hype about memjet and my opinion on what I think you can expect. First I don’t believe from the specs I’ve read on their print heads that they have as high a quality print head as Canon or Epson. So in order for memjet to achieve the same or close to the same quality of colour prints, it’s going to have to run at half the speed or less than it is capable of. Sort of defeats it’s most attractive quality, speed. Second, I don’t believe they will have as much control as they thought they would over a signed on company that will market it’s product using memjet chips. It is more likely that a company using memjet chips will market the product in a way that is most lucrative to them. So for memjet to come out and make any claims of what a memjet printer is likely to cost, or what the cost per copy would be, is premature on their part. I would guess that it is more likely that a memjet product that competes with a Canon IP3500 for example, will cost considerably more, will not produce as high a quality print, and will cost almost as much in ink consumption. Speed at the cost of quality is nothing to get to hyped up about. Speed is not enough.

Jim Lyons said...

Hey Anonymous --

Thanks for continuing to fill in the pieces in your story. Seems like a great case study, maybe for here (blog) and/or somewhere else.

Contact me directly if you're interested, ok?

Thanks again,