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Kyocera TaskAlfa 400CI Product Review

Most of this year's new products have been released, and Kyocera Mita have released their new TaskAlfa series of copiers.  In this series there is the 40ppm TaskAlfa 400CI color copier.  This is a robust color copier with a rated duty cycle of 160,000 impressions per month.  (Keep in mind duty cycle and recommended workload are NOT equivelent terms… We'd recommend a maximum of 35,000 impressions per month on this copying machine.)  The cost per print on this is super low with a toner only cost of $.029 per print.  If you add maintenance and imaging units, then you are likely to see an all inclusive cost around $.06 per color page!

Key Features: One thing to be aware of is this copier does not produce ozone. (See ozone effects here). It comes standard with a dual scan document processor.  What does this mean?  Basically it means when you put a document in to scan, you do not have to watch it go in and out and in and out to scan the second side.  It goes through in one pass.

Color Quality: The color quality is very good, but I don't personally think it is quite as good as the Xerox WorkCentre 7345 quite yet.  It is far better than the older CS 3232e or the 4035e's are, but in my opinion have a little more distance to cover to get in the image quality class of the Xerox WorkCentre 7345.

If you are looking for a high production color copier which does very good color and is extremely reliable and won't make your people sick with ozone gas, then this is a copier you really need to consider!

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I just got a message from a different copier rep here in town disputing some of the information here and since I like transparency, I thought I would include and address his objections…

"$.06 per page depending upon usage. Printing around 500 color copies per month is probably not going to get you this price. If you fall into the manufacturers specified recommended monthly volume (duty cycle) then you may get $.06 per page."

This is sort of true, what he is saying, although I just did a quote yesterday for this device that was for 500 color pages a month and we were at $.062 per page.  So, if you do a decent quantity of Mono prints, you can still get $.06 per print on the color (at least with us)…  If you said I want to buy a $8,000 copier and print 20 pages a month of color and black and white…  I'd think you were nuts and would suggest you go to Kinkos.  Basically, if it can be cost justified to spend this much on a machine, you can get $.06 per print…

"30% less toner than what? This is highly subjective, and nearly impossible to prove unless you know the exact ink coverage that will be printed on every page."

This was in reference to Kyocera's claim that their TaskAlfa device uses 30% less toner than their previous models use (and also roughly 30% less than most competitors…)  …  Actually, this is not subjective and is quite simple.  Manufacturers rate cartridge life at a combined 20% — This means 5% of the page is covered with Black, Cyan, Magenta and Yellow.  Now when you add the 5% for the 4 colors you get 20% coverage (not it is possible because of this to get over 100% color coverage.)  Now how a claim like this be made by a manufacturer?  It's actually quite simple.  They are subject to ISO rules, in fact you will see this on Kyocera's spec sheets…

This unit is manufactured according to ISO 9001 quality standards and ISO 14001 Environmental Impact Standards

What does this mean, well the ISO 9001 will assure items such as rated cartridge life, machine integrity (speed) are consistent.  Now when the cartridge is rated for 28,000 pages it had gone through a process that is extremely consistent.  Of course, there will be allowed tolerances, but there is a statistical average at work here… This is all assumed, so to say you can't know for sure how much toner is being used is making the wrong set of assumptions.  It is assuming an actual customer location rather than a scientific lab setting.  The scientific lab is where ALL manufacturers make their yield declarations from.  Why?  Well, I have no idea what coverage you put on your pages and neither does the manufacturer.

So, to take this statement and show how a manufacturer would make such a claim.  If it took 225g of toner in the last engine to print 25,000 pages and a new cartridge and engine technology made it so the same 25,000 pages could be printed with 157.5g of toner, the manufacturer would rightly say this engine uses 30% less toner.   When you see that it uses 30% less toner in all your lab tests at different coverage levels, you can tell a customer the device indeed uses a lot less toner.  This does not even necessarily mean it'll be cheaper, it's just a claim about the environmental impact of the device.