Weekly mailmerge 5,000 letters - What printer do I need?

Archived from groups: comp.periphs.printers (More info?)

A new customer will be giving us approximately 5 mailmerge jobs per week
each mailmerge will be a run of about 5,000.

We will be given an Excel spreadsheet with approx 5,000 names/addresses in
it. We will use Word 97 SR2 to Mailmerge the data. Each address will be
output in 12pt type to a single A4 sheet.

The PC that will run the job is a P4 2Ghz 256MB Ram. We currently have a
LaserJet4 Plus, But we don't think this is up to the job.

If our current printer is not up to this, what printer should we buy to do
the job? Do we need a print server. We only a 2 PC peer network, The printer
will be connected directly to the PC running the Mailmerge. Sorry I can't
provide a budget, but I do not know how profitable the work will be!

Help!

Paul

P.S. We have been told that "occasionally" we will get jobs of up to 30,000.
If the cost of a printer to do that size job is vastly different to 5,000
runs we will outsource those jobs.
8 answers Last reply
More about weekly mailmerge letters printer need
  1. Archived from groups: comp.periphs.printers (More info?)

    Paul H wrote:

    >A new customer will be giving us approximately 5 mailmerge jobs per week
    >each mailmerge will be a run of about 5,000.

    Ok, so that's roughly 25,000 pages a week, or 100,000 pages a month.

    >The PC that will run the job is a P4 2Ghz 256MB Ram. We currently have a
    >LaserJet4 Plus, But we don't think this is up to the job.

    Depending on the source documents, you may want to consider increasing
    the RAM on the computer. RAM is relatively cheap these days.

    >If our current printer is not up to this, what printer should we buy to do
    >the job?

    The 4P is way too slow...it would take all day to run off that job. You
    need something that prints in the 35-50ppm range.

    > Do we need a print server. We only a 2 PC peer network, The printer
    >will be connected directly to the PC running the Mailmerge.

    You don't need a print server if you intend to print directly from the
    computer to the printer.

    > Sorry I can't
    >provide a budget, but I do not know how profitable the work will be!

    Start by looking at the 4250 with optional paper trays. Other models
    will give you higher performance at a higher price. You will have to
    decide what's too expensive.
  2. Archived from groups: comp.periphs.printers (More info?)

    Paul H wrote:
    >
    > A new customer will be giving us approximately 5 mailmerge jobs per week
    > each mailmerge will be a run of about 5,000.
    >
    > We will be given an Excel spreadsheet with approx 5,000 names/addresses in
    > it. We will use Word 97 SR2 to Mailmerge the data. Each address will be
    > output in 12pt type to a single A4 sheet.
    >
    > The PC that will run the job is a P4 2Ghz 256MB Ram. We currently have a
    > LaserJet4 Plus, But we don't think this is up to the job.
    >
    > If our current printer is not up to this, what printer should we buy to do
    > the job? Do we need a print server. We only a 2 PC peer network, The printer
    > will be connected directly to the PC running the Mailmerge. Sorry I can't
    > provide a budget, but I do not know how profitable the work will be!
    >
    > Help!
    >
    > Paul
    >
    > P.S. We have been told that "occasionally" we will get jobs of up to 30,000.
    > If the cost of a printer to do that size job is vastly different to 5,000
    > runs we will outsource those jobs.


    I tend to agree with you that the LJ-4 might not be up to doing runs
    that are as large as you describe. The 4 is a great printer but has
    been around for a while and, depending on how much use and how little
    preventive maint. yours has had, it could be on the verge of going
    down. I read the LJ-4 specs. several months ago but do not remember the
    claimed per-month throughput. Pretty sure it wasn't 20,000 pages/month
    though.
  3. Archived from groups: comp.periphs.printers (More info?)

    The max monthly duty cycle for the LJ 4 Plus is 20,000. If you are on a budget,
    check and get a godo refurbished HP LJ 5Si or LJ 8000. These printers supports
    150K/month duty cycle. They are about 24PPM. A very good refurbished LJ 5Si
    should less than $500 or so if you could find a good reputable local reseller.
    In the same lines are the LJ 8100, 8150, and lower profile 5000.

    An used LJ 4100 will also fit your need. It has 150K/mothly duty cycle also and
    does 25 PPM.


    Dewaine
    Bill wrote:

    > Paul H wrote:
    >
    > >A new customer will be giving us approximately 5 mailmerge jobs per week
    > >each mailmerge will be a run of about 5,000.
    >
    > Ok, so that's roughly 25,000 pages a week, or 100,000 pages a month.
    >
    > >The PC that will run the job is a P4 2Ghz 256MB Ram. We currently have a
    > >LaserJet4 Plus, But we don't think this is up to the job.
    >
    > Depending on the source documents, you may want to consider increasing
    > the RAM on the computer. RAM is relatively cheap these days.
    >
    > >If our current printer is not up to this, what printer should we buy to do
    > >the job?
    >
    > The 4P is way too slow...it would take all day to run off that job. You
    > need something that prints in the 35-50ppm range.
    >
    > > Do we need a print server. We only a 2 PC peer network, The printer
    > >will be connected directly to the PC running the Mailmerge.
    >
    > You don't need a print server if you intend to print directly from the
    > computer to the printer.
    >
    > > Sorry I can't
    > >provide a budget, but I do not know how profitable the work will be!
    >
    > Start by looking at the 4250 with optional paper trays. Other models
    > will give you higher performance at a higher price. You will have to
    > decide what's too expensive.
  4. Archived from groups: comp.periphs.printers (More info?)

    I'd purchase 5 computers at $300 each and 5 medium duty printers and
    get the job done quickly, saving labor costs, and having built in
    backup capability.


    On Fri, 11 Feb 2005 14:54:39 GMT, "Paul H" <nospam@nospam.com> wrote:

    >A new customer will be giving us approximately 5 mailmerge jobs per week
    >each mailmerge will be a run of about 5,000.
    >
    >We will be given an Excel spreadsheet with approx 5,000 names/addresses in
    >it. We will use Word 97 SR2 to Mailmerge the data. Each address will be
    >output in 12pt type to a single A4 sheet.
    >
    >The PC that will run the job is a P4 2Ghz 256MB Ram. We currently have a
    >LaserJet4 Plus, But we don't think this is up to the job.
    >
    >If our current printer is not up to this, what printer should we buy to do
    >the job? Do we need a print server. We only a 2 PC peer network, The printer
    >will be connected directly to the PC running the Mailmerge. Sorry I can't
    >provide a budget, but I do not know how profitable the work will be!
    >
    >Help!
    >
    >Paul
    >
    >P.S. We have been told that "occasionally" we will get jobs of up to 30,000.
    >If the cost of a printer to do that size job is vastly different to 5,000
    >runs we will outsource those jobs.
    >
  5. Archived from groups: comp.periphs.printers (More info?)

    "Bill" <bill@c.a> wrote in message news:vIGdneyWlLCCmpDfRVn-qg@golden.net...
    > Paul H wrote:
    >
    >>A new customer will be giving us approximately 5 mailmerge jobs per week
    >>each mailmerge will be a run of about 5,000.
    >
    > Ok, so that's roughly 25,000 pages a week, or 100,000 pages a month.
    >
    >>The PC that will run the job is a P4 2Ghz 256MB Ram. We currently have a
    >>LaserJet4 Plus, But we don't think this is up to the job.
    >
    > Depending on the source documents, you may want to consider increasing
    > the RAM on the computer. RAM is relatively cheap these days.

    A single Excel spreadsheet per job with about 10 columns (FirstName,
    SurName, AddLine1, AddLine2, AddLine3 etc.)

    UK will be sent 2nd Class, Overseas will be sent 1st Class.


    >
    >>If our current printer is not up to this, what printer should we buy to do
    >>the job?
    >
    > The 4P is way too slow...it would take all day to run off that job. You
    > need something that prints in the 35-50ppm range.
    >
    >> Do we need a print server. We only a 2 PC peer network, The printer
    >>will be connected directly to the PC running the Mailmerge.
    >
    > You don't need a print server if you intend to print directly from the
    > computer to the printer.


    How long will it take to squirt the average 5,000 run print job down the
    USB/Parallel pipe? I'm just curious to know how long we will have to wait
    until the PC is available to do other stuff again


    >
    >> Sorry I can't
    >>provide a budget, but I do not know how profitable the work will be!
    >
    > Start by looking at the 4250 with optional paper trays. Other models
    > will give you higher performance at a higher price. You will have to
    > decide what's too expensive.

    Many thanks for that Bill, a couple more questions ..? :O)

    I have had a look at a few printers and the 4250 is the one we like.

    1. HP claims up to 43ppm for the 4250. How seriously should I take this?
    Does this figure apply to the base model, or will I need to buy more RAM to
    get this? Does this 43ppm figure assume minuscule coverage and the lowest
    quality?

    2. (Probably a daft question) If I add an additional tray, when tray "1" is
    empty will the printer automatically start grabbing paper from tray "2" thus
    allowing me to refill tray "1" without stopping/pausing printing?

    3. Being new to these volumes of printing, is there anything I should watch
    out for? One thing that occurred to me was whether I should spend a few
    hundred pounds getting say 50,000 A4 sheets pre-printed with the postal
    indicia, the company logo, return address etc..on them. These graphics make
    up about a 2" square solid area on each sheet. Will his be cheaper than
    lasering these "solid" areas? Also if they are laser printed, would that
    slow down the printing speed a lot?

    Sorry to throw more at you.

    Regards,

    Paul
  6. Archived from groups: comp.periphs.printers (More info?)

    Paul H wrote:

    >> Depending on the source documents, you may want to consider increasing
    >> the RAM on the computer. RAM is relatively cheap these days.
    >
    >A single Excel spreadsheet per job with about 10 columns (FirstName,
    >SurName, AddLine1, AddLine2, AddLine3 etc.)

    Ahh...no need for upgrades then. :)

    >> You don't need a print server if you intend to print directly from the
    >> computer to the printer.
    >
    >How long will it take to squirt the average 5,000 run print job down the
    >USB/Parallel pipe? I'm just curious to know how long we will have to wait
    >until the PC is available to do other stuff again

    With a small document like that, it shouldn't be an issue. But if you
    get a model like the 4250 with a built-in ethernet print server, it
    should be quite speedy.

    >I have had a look at a few printers and the 4250 is the one we like.
    >
    >1. HP claims up to 43ppm for the 4250. How seriously should I take this?
    >Does this figure apply to the base model, or will I need to buy more RAM to
    >get this? Does this 43ppm figure assume minuscule coverage and the lowest
    >quality?

    I'd say it's pretty close to that, and it should do it with the default
    RAM on such a tiny document.

    If you expect the print needs to grow in the next few years, you may
    want to consider buying for those needs now and grow into it.

    >2. (Probably a daft question) If I add an additional tray, when tray "1" is
    >empty will the printer automatically start grabbing paper from tray "2" thus
    >allowing me to refill tray "1" without stopping/pausing printing?

    You know, I've never thought about refilling while printing since I'm
    usually busy doing other things, so I don't know the answer to that one.
    :)

    Kinda makes sense though.

    >3. Being new to these volumes of printing, is there anything I should watch
    >out for?

    Yes.

    Don't buy too much paper all at once.

    That may sound silly, but if you buy a huge amount and don't use some of
    it for a long time (rotate your stock), it will not be as dry as new
    stock and may jam easier in the printer. A supply of a couple of weeks
    or so is good. If you decide you need to keep more on-hand, then make
    sure you rotate it properly, and keep it very dry.

    Also, with that high of a volume of printing, you will need to make sure
    you keep the printer clean on the inside. A good once a week cleaning as
    recommended by HP would be needed to keep paper dust particles from
    clogging the innards (printer paper is surprisingly dusty). Keeping the
    inside clean will help the printer last longer.

    > One thing that occurred to me was whether I should spend a few
    >hundred pounds getting say 50,000 A4 sheets pre-printed with the postal
    >indicia, the company logo, return address etc..on them. These graphics make
    >up about a 2" square solid area on each sheet. Will his be cheaper than
    >lasering these "solid" areas? Also if they are laser printed, would that
    >slow down the printing speed a lot?

    It won't make much difference to speed because laser printers lay the
    document "image" at the same speed all the time, unlike inkjet printers
    which spray the sheet according to the source.

    Cost will increase because you're using more toner, but it's a marginal
    amount, maybe 50 cents on a run of 5,000? I wouldn't worry about it.
  7. Archived from groups: comp.periphs.printers (More info?)

    On Fri, 11 Feb 2005 14:54:39 GMT, "Paul H" <nospam@nospam.com> wrote:

    >A new customer will be giving us approximately 5 mailmerge jobs per week
    >each mailmerge will be a run of about 5,000.
    >
    >We will be given an Excel spreadsheet with approx 5,000 names/addresses in
    >it. We will use Word 97 SR2 to Mailmerge the data. Each address will be
    >output in 12pt type to a single A4 sheet.
    >
    >The PC that will run the job is a P4 2Ghz 256MB Ram. We currently have a
    >LaserJet4 Plus, But we don't think this is up to the job.

    The PC will have no problem.
    The LJ4+ is rated at 12 ppm. So 5000 pages will take 7 hours.
    If the printer is waiting for data, the problem is not with the PC,
    but taking too long for the data to get loaded.
    If that appears to be the case, look at ways of making the print data
    smaller -- for instance preloading graphics and fonts in the printer,
    and activating them with PCL macros (or PostScript, if you have that).

    You can get more printer RAM, Ebay is much cheaper than parts dealers.

    >If our current printer is not up to this, what printer should we buy to do
    >the job? Do we need a print server. We only a 2 PC peer network, The printer
    >will be connected directly to the PC running the Mailmerge. Sorry I can't
    >provide a budget, but I do not know how profitable the work will be!

    For older HPs, see
    <http://www.printerworks.com/Printers/Laser-Printers.html> for
    datasheets, etc.

    >P.S. We have been told that "occasionally" we will get jobs of up to 30,000.
    >If the cost of a printer to do that size job is vastly different to 5,000
    >runs we will outsource those jobs.

    That's going to take 42 hours at 12ppm. You could get a stable of 4 or
    5 "oldish" lasers cheap, if you have the space. HP4/5/6 are so cheap
    now, less than the cost of a toner cart. You'll be running around
    loading paper and changing toner though. Also look at the TPW page
    above for heavier-duty machines, like the 4300, at 43 ppm. A couple of
    these would be good, and give you some security if one breaks down.
  8. Archived from groups: comp.periphs.printers (More info?)

    On Mon, 14 Feb 2005 14:56:13 GMT, in comp.periphs.printers, "Paul H"
    <nospam@nospam.com> wrote:

    >I have had a look at a few printers and the 4250 is the one we like.


    Paul, I don't know what the 4250 service interval is, but make sure you
    read the manual thouroughly as regards service intervals. Likewise, make
    sure you have some consumables on hand at all times. Obviously you'll
    want to keep a minumum of one spare tonar cart on hand, preferably two as
    even a new cart can fail "out of the box" sometimes.

    What you may not have considered is the feed rollers, transfer roller and
    fuser. A maint. kit contains all those parts + instructions.

    Even if you have a service contract with a maintenance company, the normal
    contract is 8+8, ie up to 8 working hours to respond to your call for help
    and up to a further 8 working hours to complete a fix if they can't fix on
    first attending and a maint. kit is normally a chargable item even though
    fitting it will be within the contract terms (uless you pay extra to get
    those parts including)

    With the sort of print cycle you envisage, I suspect your service interval
    will be months rather than years.

    By the sound of what you wrote, you are a small operation so might not
    have a spare printer if this one goes down in a serious way. Either find
    somewhere you can hire one short term or get a maintenance contract which
    specifies a loan printer be supplied if your's can't be fixed immediately.

    A final alternative is to do what others have suggested re. second hand
    printers. Get one for emergency use so it's ready to take over at any
    time. Don't be tempted to use it day to day as sods law dictates that it
    will go down at the same time ;-)

    Sudden Impact in Stoke-On-Trent aren't bad for second hand/refurbished
    kit. They're pretty good for spares too. http://siprinters.com Site not
    up to date, so phone them and see what's in stock.

    Dave

    --
    xtalsinger@yahoo.com is a valid reply-to address but I don't check it every day.
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