With the cost of prime office space shooting upwards more than ever before size really does matter when it comes to business machines. A whole raft of end-users, ranging from estate agents and architects to media companies and publishers, are looking to move to smaller, more cost-effective premises (if they haven’t already done so) leading to demand for machines with a smaller footprint that still offer excellent print quality and a wide range of functions.
Demand for compact printers, whether single or multi-function printers or devices (MFDs), has never been higher. Businesses are either desperately squeezed for space in existing offices or are catering for an ever more flexible workforce, with more hot desks, and so are able to pare down their equipment. Simply look at all the businesses operating at shared working environments such as London’s TechHub, where every rented square foot of office space impacts an organisation’s bottom line.
In places like these, there just isn’t enough space for several standalone devices like printers, copiers, fax machines and scanners. As a result, organisations are looking for compact devices that can fulfil all of these document management functions in one single unit, without compromising on quality.
Small can be beautiful
When it comes to print, quality and features really do matter. Yet, until very recently, if a business wanted top quality print output, large outputs and plenty of features, A3 printers were the obvious choice, even though the majority of print output was A4. This was largely due to the superior paper handling and finishing capabilities the larger A3 devices could offer.
The good news for those organisations craving all of the features of an A3 MFP in a machine with the compact footprint of an A4 is that the tide is turning. Manufacturers are working hard to match this demand so product developers are working out clever ways to reduce the space around drums and fusers in laser printers, creating compact components that don’t compromise on quality and which are still easily accessible to engineers.
KYOCERA Document Solutions has been in on the act too – its new enhanced TASKalfa A4 MFP devices, uniquely, come with superior paper handling and finishing capabilities normally available only on more expensive, larger A3 devices. Up to 3,100 sheet paper tray capacity, double-sided printing, scanning, copying and faxing, and full finishing options make these devices unrivalled in the market – and perfect for offices where space is at a premium.
Of course organisations do still need and demand A3 printers so manufacturers have been busy reducing the footprints of A3 devices too – many devices on the market today are half the size of equivalent machines back at the turn of the Millennium.
Highly intuitive colour touch screens are just one way the size of devices has been reduced – doing away with the need for large keypads – as sophisticated apps now power printing, scanning and copying. The tablet revolution has had as big an impact on MFDs as it has other parts of our digital world – an almost endless number of digital features can now be added to print devices without adding any more component parts.
Overall, end-users of office equipment are laying down a tough marker for the industry. They want fast, feature rich, technology laden, high quality machines that will also fit in a small space in the office. Happily for those users manufacturers continue to innovate in order to deliver the goods and save space, without sacrificing quality.