Recently, Canon Solutions America announced the launch of the Oce PlotWave 550 as the successor to their popular PlotWave 500 system. Like, its predecessor, the PlotWave 500 is a magnificent mid-volume, wide-format printer capable of printing 25,000 square feet per month. Also, it is fast! The PlotWave is capable of printing 10 D-size monochrome sheets per minute and can be configured as a 2 roll or 4 roll system. Likewise, it continues to use Océ Radiant Fusion technology, placing it as one of the most energy efficient units on the market. So, let’s see how it compares to another popular mid-volume competitor, the Kip 7970.
First, a side-note. Canon has also unveiled the PlotWave 450 system alongside the PlotWave 550. Essentially, they are identical in specs except for print speed—the PlotWave 450 prints 8 D-size sheets per minute, while the PlotWave 550 prints 10 per minute.
Pictured: Océ PlotWave 550 - 4 roll system
Speed is a factor that can be deceiving. While spec sheets tell one story, reality tells another. This is certainly relevant with the Kip printer as the conventional fuser requires much more warm-up time than the “instant on” Oce. This is important because even though the Kip promotes a faster print speed, the Oce PlotWave 450/550 has a faster first print out from a cold start. In fact, the Oce can print 40 to 60 D-size sheets before the KIP even starts. With no warm-up time, technical document prints are generally produced faster, on the PlotWave.
It is no secret that commercial real estate is very expensive. The less space that a company needs for printing equipment, the more room they can use for other things, like more employees. The PlotWave has a smaller footprint vs both the KIP 7770 and 7790.
Pictured: Kip 7970 - 4 Roll System
As mentioned earlier, the Océ uses a process called Radiant Fusion. This is the part of the machine that heats to melt the toner on the print material (paper). The Kip, on the other hand, uses a traditional process where a pressure roller is heated to essentially iron the toner onto the paper. Heating this roller, uses much more electricity, and generates a lot more heat. On the contrary, Radiant Fusion simply energizes heating elements only when they are precisely needed. This is what allows the PlotWave 450/550 to run from a cold start without any warmup time. This lower energy consumption over the working day makes the 450/550 a much more "green," environmentally friendly system.
Media Handling & Stacking
One of the biggest complaints users have about wide-format equipment, commonly, is poor stacking of the prints. Luckily Océ PlotWave users do not have to worry about this. Both versions come with an integrate flat-stacking tray on top of the machine. This streamlined paper stacker results in faster printing of mixed sizes when continually switching between paper rolls. The fully integrated Top Delivery Tray (TDT), neatly stacks twice the volume of prints (100 sheets) vs KIP's (50 sheet) newly added tray on their 7770 and 7970 models.
Let’s face it, toner can be messy. The Oce closed-toner system is much easier and cleaner than the more cumbersome KIP toner cartridge. The PlotWave also captures the very nominal amount of waste toner left over and deposits it into a disposal container. Alternatively, the KIP claims to repurpose the waste toner for 100% efficiency. But, in our opinion, reintroducing waste material back into the main toner supply is a recipe for bad things to happen. That is why Canon (Oce) opts to collect the waste toner particles instead, and dispenses them in a collection bottle that is easy to change. That way, there is no chance for the toner supply to be polluted from contaminants that may have been introduced, such as paper dust.
Pictured: Kip 7970 Replacement Toner Container
Discover more about the remarkable Oce PlotWave 450 and 550