Plotter Printers: Hidden Costs You Need to Know About

Plotter Printers: Hidden Costs You Need to Know About

It’s a huge decision for any business. And the biggest question is usually this: how much is a plotter printer? But simply comparing price tags on large format printing price guides as a measure of cost-effectiveness can take you to misleading conclusions.


The upfront hardware cost of buying a printer forms only the tip of the iceberg out of its total cost of ownership (TCO). Less visible—but more significant—are the plotter printer’s recurring operational and maintenance costs, which rapidly add up over the long term. In a time where businesses need to be even more prudent with money, this becomes all the more critical.


So where do you start? Let’s break it down, one cost centre at a time.

Understanding the impact of hidden printer costs

A printer’s TCO is what you should consider. Here are the five hidden key costs that contribute to it:


1) Printing


Consumer reports have found that ink used in inkjet printers can cost anywhere from USD13 to USD75 an ounce. That’s more expensive than vintage champagne, and not even something you would even think about because you thought you’d scored on plotter printer prices alone! Here’s a tip One way of saving on ink is to print on draft mode if the printout isn’t critical work. Think twice about printing large photos, especially in high resolution, as these are the notorious ink guzzlers.


With the high cost of ink consumed, the sad part is most of it may not even make it to the page.
Instead, as much as half is used to clean printheads and maintenance chores, particularly if your machine is starting up from idle. If usage in your office is frequent, think of the amount of ink you’re wasting each time that happens. Then think of the number of users in your office. If the technology you’re relying on is old, that is yet another huge reason precious ink is going down the drain.


If ink is money, ink-efficient, tech-ready printers are your best friends.


2) Printhead cleaning


If you’ve noticed you’re getting less mileage per page from your plotter printer’s ink cartridges,
below even the manufacturer’s projected rate (based usually on continuous bulk printing), it could be that most of your ink is used for nozzle cleaning and printhead maintenance.


Imagine large volumes of ink used to flush all nozzles at fixed intervals, filling up frequently replaced waste ink tanks. Did you know that ink wastage cost from twice-monthly printer nozzle cleaning (ink purging) can rapidly add up to around 11% of TCO for most large format printers?


While maintenance cycles are out of your control (set by manufacturers, no matter what model you choose), what you can do is reduce the frequency of the flushes simply by leaving your printer on all the time. It doesn’t consume much energy, and you avoid setting off a maintenance cycle.


3) Waste ink tank replacement cost


Waste ink tanks fill up quickly and require regular replacement often. It is yet another hidden cost – which you may not have to bear if you look at printers that use more state-of-the-art technology that bypasses the need for waste ink tanks in the first place. What if your printer only cleaned nozzles that were clogged (and not indiscriminately), using a minimal amount of ink which would then flow into a service centre and just evaporate? That’s what smart technology is doing, so choose wisely.


4) Printhead replacement


There is a limit to what you can do to save on ink cartridges, because eventually, all printheads need replacing through wear and tear. That’s an additional hardware cost. But if your printer is ink efficient and uses the latest tech to keep nozzles and printheads clean, you probably would be able to delay replacing your printheads, which equates to money saved.


5) Service downtime


Many printers are so complicated to maintain, you have to rely on service experts each time. What is the cost of printer downtime when printheads need replacing? While waiting for specialist support to arrive, what is the real cost to your business? Very quickly, all these costs can add up. In the end, your bargain-priced plotter printer could cost you way more than what you’re prepared for.


There really is more to plotter printer price tags that meets the eye. While you may think you have saved big by getting a cost-efficient plotter printer, you also need to consider the recurring costs that you will have to incur because of the features and functions of your chosen plotter printer model. A printer with a smaller price tag may end up costing you more in the long run because of its high usage and maintenance costs! So it’s important to take your time when selecting the best plotter printer model for your needs.


Need more tips on how to spot the plotter printer hidden costs? Download our eBook now to learn more about what to look out for when choosing your next printer. Our eBook will also walk you through how you can enjoy up to 80% savings via reduced ink wastage and reduce downtime costs by 300%.

Download our eBook now to learn more about what to look out for when choosing your next printer.

Need more tips on how to spot the plotter printer hidden costs? Our eBook will also walk you through how you can enjoy up to 80% savings via reduced ink wastage and reduce downtime costs by 300%.

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