Panasonic has become the latest vendor to blur the lines between A4 and A3 devices, with the launch of the DP-MB500 series of
Combining the low cost and high speed of an A4 MFP with the ability to print/copy in sizes up to A3, the DPMB500 series represents a significant introduction for Panasonic as it continues to strengthen its position in the printer market, which it re-entered last year after pulling out in 2010.
In particular, it enables the company to target both A4 and A3 users with the same machines.
There are two models in the range, the DP-MB545 with print/copy speeds of 45 pages per minute (ppm) and the 36ppm DP-MB357.
Both models print on two sides of the page at their rated speed, have a paper capacity of 1,750 sheets, long-life consumables and a maximum monthly print volume of 150,000 pages, including up to 2,000 A3 pages per month.
Useful features include WiFi connectivity, support for printing from mobile devices and password-protected printing to maintain document security. Panasonic hopes the launch of the new printers will enable it to attract OA dealers that may have sold
Panasonic copiers and printers in the past, as well as telecoms dealers, stationery companies and IT service providers that are looking to get into print for the first time.
A spokesperson told PITR that the new devices have a number of qualities that are likely to be welcomed by the channel including a low cost per page, offering resellers the opportunity to make good margin on supplies; simplicity – “there’s just one option on these machines and that’s a cassette” – so it can be set up in one quarter of the time it takes to install competitor products; excellent reliability, with a very low failure rate; and a small reseller base, which makes it more likely that the channel can maintain good margins on the hardware.
The devices can also be offered as part of an MPS, using either the reseller’s own resources or those provided by DMC Business Machines, a distributor of the new printers.
Sam Saunders, marketing and communications manager of DMC Business Machines, which has been a partner of Panasonic’s for over 20 years, told PrintIT Reseller that the DP-MB500 series fills a big gap in the market.
He said: “What excites us at DMC is the versatility of these products. You have small, super-quick desktop devices that are A4 in footprint size but A3 in capability. In our current portfolio we do have access to large, floor-standing A3 multifunctional devices or very expensive high-end professional A3 devices. But currently across our vendors there isn’t a product that allows desktop A3 at a reasonable purchase price and a decent total cost of ownership, so that’s very exciting for us and our resellers. It plugs a huge gap in our portfolio.”
A3 output is still popular for proofs and spreadsheets, but according to most estimates currently accounts for less than 5% of the pages printed in offices. With the DP-MB500 series, small businesses and workgroups with limited A3 printing requirements no longer have to buy separate A4 and A3 devices or spend extra on a bulky A3 MFP. They can cover all their needs with one single, compact, affordable device.
Another benefit for resellers, says Saunders, is the Panasonic name. “Panasonic is a world renowned name. There are certain print vendors people may not have heard of, but when you hear the Panasonic name you think ‘OK, that’s a great product’,” he said.
He added: “Panasonic aren’t going to saturate the market with this product. There will only be a few selected partners, such as ourselves, where resellers can purchase these devices. They will not be competing against the High Street.”