Thursday, June 19, 2008

Greener office equipment

A group called the Green Electronics Council recently released a report on progress in making equipment, mostly PCs and monitors, less harmful to the environment. The report measures the sale of products rated highly by a system called EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool).

EPEAT was developed by the EPA. This system rates a growing number of products as gold, silver, and bronze in terms of their recyclability, reduced use of toxic materials, and lowered power use. All US Federal computer buys now must be of EPEAT-certified products.

EPEAT-certified PCs and laptops make up 22% of all computers worldwide. Since its inception in 2006, there has been a 150% growth in sales of certified computers. Prospects are good that the numbers will keep going up as companies and individuals become more aware of the environmental costs of disposing old office machines.

Among the benefits of using EPEAT products are:
* Reducing use of primary materials by 75.5 million metric tons
* Reducing use of toxic materials (especially lead) by 3,220 metric tons
* Making significant reductions in mercury use
* Reducing disposal of hazardous waste by 124,000 metric tons
* Saving over 42 billion kilowatt hours of electricity.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

2008 Better Buys High-Volume Printer and Digital Duplicator Guide released

This guide, which covers black-and-white production printers with speeds from 50ppm to 150ppm as well as the very specialized category of digital duplicators is now available. More information is available here.

OKI upgrades its color printer line

Over the past month, OKI Printing Solutions has revamped its A4 (letter/legal size)color laser printer line from top to bottom, offering a set of models that combine lower prices with enhanced performance.

The new models are:
* The C3600n, which prints at 16ppm in color and 20ppm in monochrome, with a street price of $399.
* The C5650 family, which prints at 22ppm in color and 26ppm in monochrome, with prices starting at $499.
* The C6050 family, which prints at 22ppm in color and 26ppm in monochrome, with prices starting at $499, Unlike the C3650n, it comes with PostScript.
* The C6150 family, which prints at 26ppm in color and 30ppm in monochrome, with prices starting at $699.
* The C710 family, which runs at 30ppm in color, 32ppm in monochrome, with prices starting at $1,099.

All of models come are Ethernet-ready, many have duplexing, and all come with OKI’s enhanced HD color toners and color management.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Xerox’s mobile print driver

Xerox recently released a free piece of software for Windows laptops. Call the Mobile Express Driver, it allows mobile workers to find and use available PostScript printers at their current location. These printers include both Xerox and non-Xerox models. After the user plugs into a network (wired or wireless), using the print command causes a pop-up menu with all available printers from which the user can choose. This avoids the need to configure profiles for each new printer. The driver is available here.

Xerox now also offers a similar piece of software, the Global Print Driver, which allows Windows IT managers to quickly set up printer profiles for any users and supports both Xerox and non-Xerox printers, This could be a big time savings for It administrators, as it should cut down tedious and repetitious setup tasks every time a new printer of user is added to the network. It is available here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Xerox offers new library-oriented models

Xerox recently replaced its library-oriented 20ppm Digital Bookmark copier/printer with a set of four new machines, namely, the WorkCentre Bookmark 40 Copier and Copier/Printer and the WorkCentre Bookmark 55 Copier and Copier/Printer. Not only are these machines faster (at 40ppm and 55ppm), they also have new high-end features in common with Xerox’s latest WorkCentre machines.

There are several features that make these library-oriented. First, the platen has a beveled edge, designed to protect book spines, as you scan one page at a time without having to crush an open book on the platen to get a good copy. Second, the unit has also been designed to be wheelchair-accessible and easy to operate by novice users. In addition, there is an optional coin and bill vending unit and an ID-card reader.

The machines hold 1,200 sheets of ledger paper standard. You can add on a two-tray device that holds 3,600 letter pages. Single-position and multiposition finishers are available. So is a fax option.

The Copier/Printers include PCL and PostScript, a powerful processor, and a hard drive. They also support (optionally) scanning, including Xerox’s SmartSend scan workflow software. The Copier/Printer supports Xerox’ EIP (Extensible Interface Platform).

This specialized unit is aimed at a very specific market segment, primarily libraries. It’s a powerful machine with a good array of options.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Paperless or at least less paper

BusinessWeek recently reported (“The New Push to Get Rid of Paper,” 5/30/08) on a renewed effort to approach the long-wished for “paperless office,” noting that the term is now 33 years old.

Of course offices are anything but paperless. As the article notes:“According to RISI, a research firm that tracks forest products, in 1975 the average U.S. office worker used 62 pounds of paper a year. By 1999, that figure peaked at 143 pounds, but in 2006 it was still at 127 pounds.”.

But things may be changing, thanks to a public that is getting more used to receiving and viewing things on the screen. The article cites PNC Bank, 15% of whose customers now get PDF files rather than paper for account statements, up from 0% a few years ago. 80% of company internal reports are now published electronically, not on paper.

Among the interesting points cited in the report:
* One analyst “estimates that companies will spend about $8 billion this year on paper alone.”
* One company thought it “had 150 fax machines, but a detailed search turned up 1,000, many of which were rarely used.”
* “Researchers at Xerox found that about half of the documents printed in a typical office are thrown away within 24 hours.”