Konica Minolta production devices sweep BLI’s PRO Awards

| 23 February 2016

Konica Minolta’s bizhub PRESS devices have swept the board at the Buyers Laboratory LLC’s (BLI) 2015 PRO Awards by scooping all three prizes. The bizhub PRESS C1100 was awarded Outstanding Colour Mid-Volume Production Device; whilst the bizhub PRESS 1052 and bizhub PRESS 2250P were awarded Outstanding Monochrome Light- to Mid-Volume Production Device and Outstanding Monochrome Mid- to High-Volume Production Device respectively. These awards acknowledge the best-in-class devices in BLI’s production field tests. Having generated tens of millions of impressions on production devices from the leading vendors over several years, BLI’s production tests reveal the attributes that distinguish the most outstanding performers in a challenging evaluation covering productivity, image quality, media handling, ease of use and more.

While each of the winning devices has particular strengths, all the models share some important characteristics that are welcome in high-volume production environments. For one, they all have excellent media handling, with very high maximum input and output paper capacities, support for heavy media up to 350 gsm, dehumidifier and preheat features to assist with handling of offset media, a humidifier option to reduce rippling and paper curl, and a high-capacity post-process inserter for workflows incorporating pre-printed colour covers, inserts and tabs. They are also productive (particularly with A3 and oversize SRA3 media), easy to use and offer a wider than average range of image quality settings to enable users to achieve optimum output.

Speaking of the 100-ppm Konica Minolta bizhub PRESS C1100, which won the 2015 BLI PRO award for Outstanding Colour Mid-Volume Production Device, David Sweetnam, head of BLI’s European Research and Lab Services said: “Usually we see models that excel in one or two areas, but fall short in others,” said. “But with very high ratings across the board in every category, the bizhub PRESS C1100 will be a good fit in mid-volume production environments regardless of whether productivity, image quality, media handling or ease of use is the main concern.”

Particularly noteworthy is the unit’s colour consistency, which is among the best BLI has seen and earned the rarely awarded 5-star rating for this important category. Text and fine lines were equally stellar, also earning 5-star ratings, and the device produced smooth halftone curves across all four colours on both coated and uncoated paper. In addition, the unit achieved simplex and duplex throughput speeds at rated speed across the entire supported media range.

Winner of the 2015 PRO award for Outstanding Monochrome Light- to Mid-Volume Production Device, the 105-ppm bizhub PRESS 1052 matched or surpassed its competitors in nearly all of close to 20 speed tests and earned BLI’s highest (5-star) rating for productivity. Notably, it ran at rated engine speed when producing jobs with multi-tray switching and coated inserts, outperforming all of its competitors - two of them by very large margins. It also handled heavy-grade stocks and jobs that involve switching between letter and ledger output more efficiently than many competing models. “Not only is the bizhub PRESS 1052 highly productive,” said BLI director of Laboratory Testing, Pete Emory, “but its input and output paper capacities are so high that it can run for a full eight hours before requiring operator attention.”

Comprising two bizhub PRESS 1250P engines working in tandem and driven by a single Konica Minolta controller, the bizub PRESS 2250P is the PRO award winner for Outstanding Monochrome Mid- to High-Volume Production Device. In BLI’s evaluation, the unit delivered on its promise of 250 A4 ipm in duplex mode, cranking out more than 15,000 images in a single hour of duplex A4 workflow. BLI analysts cited in particular its duplex performance on A3 and SRA3 media, where, over the course of an hour it delivered 8,396 and 7,886 impressions, respectively, equating to speeds of 279.87 and 262.87 A4 2-up impressions per minute, surpassing the performance of competing devices and approaching the performance of some devices with higher rated speeds.

“Our results clearly show the bizhub PRESS 2250P to be an excellent and cost-effective choice for organisations entering the short-run book printing market,” said Sweetnam.

While alternative print controllers are available for some of the devices, BLI tested all the models with the Konica Minolta controller, which offers a wide range of image quality adjustments; extensive job-building and advanced page-level programming capabilities; highly featured drag-and-drop hot folder functionality; and Konica Minolta’s Tone Curve utility, which provides users with professional-grade custom grey programming capability.

“Receiving the BLI PRO awards for the bizhub PRESS C1100, 1052 and 2250P from the experts at Buyers Laboratory confirms the outstanding quality of our systems,” said Leon Minnie, Product Manager, production printing division of Konica Minolta South Africa.