Category Archives: Printing

Choosing the right printer

If you find yourself needing to choose or recommend a small or medium printer, it’s worthwhile to consider the volume of pages that the printer prints per month.

HP (for example) publishes this information for their business/enterprise printers.

If the printer is replacing another printer, papercut can be used to give us an idea of how many pages the old printer has printed per month:

A printer that’s specced for less pages / month will have a decreased “life expectancy”, as is happening with AXN105. If a printer is failing repeatedly, you may want to consult the manufacturer specs to see if the printer is printing more than it’s meant to handle. On the other hand, purchasing an expensive high-volume printer that will only be used sparingly is a waste of resources. So consult the “Recommended Monthly Print Volume” specification from the manufacturer and, if there’s an older printer currently in place, consult the papercut statistics for the queue.

Hope this helps you in your journeys in printer land…

As an additional recommendation, if new printers are needed, I would suggest sticking to ones that are listed as Office printers, have PCL5, PCL6 and Postscript Support, and a control Panel for easy configuration. Printers listed as personal printers or ones that use host based printing generally aren’t set up to be connected to via a server. You can usually find that information on the specifications tab when checking out printers specs online.


Managing Public Printers

The public printers in several College buildings have been printing millions of pages. In some situations, like the Davis Family Library, we have more than one printer assigned to an area. Yet, by setting a default printer for that area, the printer that’s set as default gets the brunt of the print jobs (i.e. millions of pages) which results in that printer failing sooner than expected. At the same time, the idea of having multiple printers was that they would load balance.

One way that we’ve approached this issue was by not setting a physical printer as the default printer. This forces the patron to have to choose which printer they’d like to print to. This has upsides (patrons may not choose the same printer, resulting in load balancing) and downsides (confusion).

Another way of solving the issue is to implement some smart print server-based load balancing that would take into account the load that one printer is having and automatically choose another printer, but that’s more far fetched.

We could however, easily, schedule an automatic change whereby every day a different printer is set as default. For example, on odd days, computers would print to LIB242, and on even days to LIB242K. This way we get automatic load balancing, and customers can get used to the same printer being default on set days.

Something to think about…