Why you should know the duty cycle of your printer

I often get asked to explain what the term ‘duty cycle’ means and why it’s important to keep it in mind when choosing a printer.

Duty cycle is a number that’s based on the stress testing of a printer. It represents the absolute number of pages that can be printed per month at rated print quality of a machine. In other words, the duty cycle is intended to show how much a given printer can produce over a one-month period without any errors or jams.

If the stats for a printer indicate that the duty cycle is 1,000 pages per month, the manufacturer is essentially saying that you can expect to print a maximum of that volume per month without any issues. This does not mean that you can produce that given number of pages each and every month. The monthly duty cycle should be used for comparison only.

Why is duty cycle quoted?

Duty cycle is associated with robustness of a device so you may want to purchase a printer with a monthly duty cycle well beyond your needs to ensure trouble free operation. You may find that cheaper models may promise 8,000 pages per month and a typical workgroup printer may claim a 250,000-page monthly limit.

There is no industry standard for duty cycle, so one vendor’s figures can vary from another’s, so be careful and do your homework. And there is a catch as well – determining how long a printer can last when printing at duty cycle level.

How can you tell whether you’re being sold the printer that you really need?

In addition to the stated duty cycle, there is also another number that can help you to determine whether a particular printer is suited for you and for the volume your office prints. I suggest that you ask your vendor to provide the monthly recommended print volume for each machine that you are considering.

Recommended monthly print volume is the number of printed pages per month within the stated range for optimum device performance based on factors including supplies, maintenance intervals and device engine life.This is the real monthly usage value that guarantees smooth and uninterrupted performance of your device.

Visit the Ricoh website, to find out more about our range of office printers

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