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Until recently, if you wanted to print in white ink on black or other deep coloured paper and card stocks, you’d be limited to very expensive outsourcing.

There was white foiling and back in 2010 HP Indigo released a digital white ink print option in a machine for a 7 figure price, no less. (Obviously a commercial option only).

There’s always been the option of printing solids onto white stocks, leaving anything required in white free of all ink. Of course, you’d end up with white on the back and in the ‘core’, which is certainly not the ‘look’ any of us are after in 2014.

Which has kept me on the lookout for anyone to catch up their technology with demand and come up with an affordable, in-studio white ink printing option.

When I came across the OKI 711WT, it blew my mind.

From the hype I’d read, it could do everything I knew my customers were looking for and then some. It could even print envelopes with ease! It promised to open up new creative possibilities that didn’t exist until now.

So, just before Christmas, we took delivery of our own Oki 711WT and proceeded to put it through its paces…and fell head over heels in love.

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It’s straight through paper path allows for card stocks of up to 250gsm (but we managed to poke 270gsm through with no problem). Envelopes glide through effortlessly and out the other side with little paper curl. Although it only prints up to just over A4 to allow for bleed.

I thought it was a laser printer, but actually it’s LED, which Oki apparently pioneered the technology over 20 years ago. This innovation delivers High Definition printing and according to Oki, allows them to make more compact, environmentally friendly and energy efficient printers, using significantly less raw materials in the manufacturing process and consuming less energy. LED print heads have no moving parts, making them robust and ultra reliable.

 

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STOCKS

Of course we poked whatever weird and wonderful card and paper stocks in it that we could find! It really excelled at printing onto metallic stocks including Glamour Puss and matte stocks like Eco Luxury too. (Love love love the white ink on Hollywood). Zsa Zsa was also very acceptable, considering the deep texture of the stock.

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SOFTWARE

We use Adobe Creative Suite, but you can use anything. It’s the driver that dictates if you print in white, black or colour. When printing in white only, whatever is on your screen in black is what it will print in white.

 

COLOUR PRINTING

We thought the colour printing was good quality too. Although it can’t manage printing in colour and white during the same pass, which we found frustrating. You’d need to run it through twice, which may result in registration issues given it is a desktop machine and not a commercial digital press. (There’s another, more commercial machine for that job… SRA3 too. Contact me if you want to know more about that one).

 

WARRANTY

3 year onsite warranty as standard – you must register your machine within 30 days. Oki says they can offer this kind of warranty due to the LED technology, rather than all the mirrors and breakable parts in a laser machine.

 

PAPER JAMS

We’ve run several envelope printing jobs on ours and it hasn’t missed a beat. The straight-through paper path when you use the bypass I think keeps jams to a minimum.

 

LIMITATIONS & DOWN SIDES

No matter how hard we tried, we could not get it to print white with colour on the same page and the Oki Technical Support were (to be honest) quite hopeless. Our in-house designer and digital printer knows more than them…no joke. (We tried the U.S. office too and of course they referred us to the Aussie office…). Eventually, I got in contact with the National Manager and got it sorted. (Can’t be done).

Black. Yes I think it’s a limitation. You see, the toners are made up of C (Cyan) M (Magenta) Y (Yellow) and W (White)… no K or Key colour, which is black. This means when you want to print black, it’s made up of CMY, which isn’t really black. In fact, on some stocks it actually looks like a chocolate brown.

It prints a maximum sheet size of A4, so if you’re used to working in SRA3, you’ll either need to adjust your mind-set or look at the bigger model – yes there is one, but its around $20K. Contact me if you’d like to know more on that.

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ON-GOING COSTS – TONER, DRUMS, FUSER & TRANSFER UNITS

I guess being the first, they can pretty much name their price for the white toner…and they do. It’s $470 ex gst, which yields 6000 prints, according to Oki. However, given the savings you can make by printing in-house instead of helping pay off someone’s Indigo probably makes up for it.

A starter set of toner is included and you can purchase toners from us too. (We weren’t going to sell the toner, but it just makes sense to get the toner from the print supplier.)

 

OPTIONS

You can increase the memory before you take delivery to a maximum of 768MB, although we haven’t had any issues with the standard issue memory of 256MB and you can get larger capacity paper trays if you need them too.

 

COST

At just under $3K ex gst, it’s a far cry from the Indigo price tag and really affordable as a colour and white printer (not black – see limitations & down sides) you can print cardstock and envelopes in-house on. I see you could make your money back very quickly with this machine.

 

WHERE TO BUY

Peterkin Premium Paper Merchant (of course)…And when you buy from our company, we’ll be able to offer you support from a designers perspective. We’re experts now…

 

VIEW SPECIFICATIONS SHEET

 

Cheers, Jodie