Ricoh Pro C5100S

With its latest machines, Ricoh has brought heavyweight features and functions to the light production sector and installed over 30 machines in India in last three months, reports PrintWeek India

13 Dec 2013 | By PrintWeek India

The Ricoh Pro C5100S sits beneath the rest of Ricoh’s production colour machines – but only in one respect. The light production machine has a lower intended monthly pages volume than the Ricoh Pro C651, C751 and C901. According to Ricoh India’s chief operating officer, production printing business unit, Avijit Mukherjee, this is significant. It means  the C5100S – and its sister machine, the Pro C5110S – offers the sophistication and quality of its bigger siblings without the additional grunt that some users just don’t need.
Launched in July 2013, the entry level machine is suitable for first time users of digital printing. In the last three months, Ricoh has installed over 30 machines in India, informs Anjana Saha, national business and marketing manager for production printing BU, Ricoh India. Likely, markets include quick printers, corporate inplants and marketing and design agencies looking to insource their print production. Within the agency market, it is likely to find a place for producing samples, book proofs and even packaging mock-ups.
The machine features a number of incremental improvements to Ricoh’s digital printing technology. Considering the improvements to the C901 earlier this year, it is fair to expect Ricoh to keep introducing additional benefits at a fairly rapid clip across its range.
So what are the new features and what are their benefits? One is enhanced VCSEL diode imaging. VCSEL refers to the type of laser diode used to create the image. It stands for Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser. VCSEL is a surface emitting laser diode that features the fabrication of a two-dimensional arrangement of the beam; density of the laser beam can be significantly increased in a smaller space than with the conventional edge type laser diode. This class of laser is economic to manufacture, offers high power and, because it can be built in 2-D arrays of multiple-beams, enables printing machines that combine high resolution with high speed.
Ricoh first introduced the technology in the C751; the C5100S takes it further with a 1,200x4,800dpi resolution. According to Mukherjee, the advantage of the 4,800dpi along the length of the sheets is that it enables the printer more adjustment latitude and the ability to register the image to the leading and trailing edge of the sheet.
Chemical toner itself is not new but the C5100S uses a new generation. Chemical toner refers to the way the particles are grown in a soup of chemicals rather than the more traditional approach of grinding down chunks to a smaller size. Less energy is needed to make the toner and the particles are smaller and more consistent in sizes, which means more even and consistent prints. Saha says, “The new toner has two major benefits: lower melting point and wider colour gamut. The colour gamut, which is 10% greater than other Ricoh toners, is caused by a revised cyan formulation, giving better blues and greens.”
Ricoh sees the greatest benefit in the lower melting point. This enables heavier, textured and more heat-sensitive mat-erials to be handled. The C5100S can handle up to 300gsm either using the bypass tray or an additional optional feed tray. As for an expanded range of substrates, in addition to many already approved stocks in Ricoh’s media library, it is working on accrediting more materials.
When it comes to extending the range of materials printed, the new toner is only half the story. The second key element is a new fuser. It incorporates new technology to assist in the transfer and adhesion of the toner to the substrate, which helps it to handle textured stocks, envelopes and lighter weight papers down to 60gsm. This opens up an extended range of applications, and the ability to handle heavier and textured stocks is important for addressing premium quality jobs.
The DEMS technology reduces the unevenness in the image density. In long runs the density may vary, this technology reduces the probability of varying densities. Generally, the unevenness caused due to the development roller and drum rotation may get affected due to pressure. 

Wider range of stocks
New on the 5100S is the long sheet printing option, which is able to handle sheets of up to 49-inch long with banner printing mode. This builds on the little-known ability of the C751 to handle sheets of up to 630mm long. This long sheet ability is something of a trend for digital colour printers but is new in the light production class. Some desktop devices have had the ability for a while, and as such have been suggested for some banner work and even modified for label printing. At the other end of the scale are the long sheet options for the Kodak Nexpress and Xerox iGen4, which successfully increases productivity and application range.
It is equipped with enhanaced paper library which is updated from time to time.
The 5100S is not challenging any of these but it does open up opportunities that the canny print company could exploit for niche applications. The long sheet could be used to produce banners, providing short edge that is less than 323mm. This could be much more cost-effective than using a wide-format printer.
It also opens up the opportunity to produce a range of unusual A4 formats including landscape spreads, gate folds, throw-outs, six-page, eight-page and even A3 landscape spreads, which might prove useful for real estate brochures and photo-books. “We don’t envisage it being a major part of the machine’s workload,” says Saha. “It’s about helping customers to uncover new applications.”
The limitations are that you need to use the bypass tray and need to be careful – potentially standing over the machine feeding and removing long sheets. Duplex printing requires manually feeding.
Additional controller options
There’s a choice of two controllers, an embedded Ricoh GW+ or an external EFI Fiery controller. Users with the desire for more involved colour control and variable data will probably opt for the extra muscle of the external controller, while for less demanding applications the internal controller is the most cost-effective option.
Small footprint
Ricoh has worked hard to minimise the footprint of the basic unit to suit its target market. Saha says, “Typically for a customer who has expanded from being a DTP service provider to become a digital print service provider, smaller footprint is beneficial.”
It accommodates with a footprint of just 835x880mm. For those that have the space and need the additional features, it is possible to add a range of paper feeds and finishing units, although not as many as its bigger siblings. For instance, you can have a saddle stitcher inline but not a perfect binder.
Low power consumption
One of the biggest benefits of the new fuser and toner technologies is, it requires less heat, hence the machine uses less power. The C5100S draws less than 1,920W, while the faster C5110S draws less than 2,400W, significantly lower than the other machines in Ricoh’s range. That’s good news – lower energy consumption is a nice sustainability story but it also means lower running costs from reduced electricity bills.
Mukherjee says, “Another unique feature of the machine is that it switches to AC power supply while printing on textured media.”
In conclusion, the C5100S is a well-specified addition to the light production market. If you meet the sweet spot of wanting top quality but you don’t anticipate needing high-volume production too, it definitely meets a previously unmet need, especially with the long sheet option offering some interesting niche applications. 

The Alternatives

Canon Imagepress C6010
Canon’s Imagepress C6010 may only run at 61pp/min, but production output is still high due to the fact that up to 10,000 sheets can be fed into the machine from eight different sources. Canon’s V toner, meanwhile, allows for eight hours of uninterrupted production time. 
Speed 61.7 A4 ppm
Contact Puneet Datta
+91 124 4160000
Konica Minolta Bizhub Press C6000 
The C6000 is the baby of the Bizub Press range. Additional finishing and paper handling options are available and for higher speed, there are the 70ppm C7000 and 80ppm C8000 ranges too.
Speed 60 A4ppm
Contact HCL/
KMI Business Technologies/
Monotech Systems/
TechNova Imaging Systems/
Xerox C75/J75
Like the Ricoh Pro C5100, the C75 and J75 were launched this year. The C75 and J75 are based on the same core technology but pitched at different markets. The C75 is the top end of the office market while the J75 is the bottom. Both include Xerox’s built-in colour calibration technology and Simple Image Quality Adjustment.
Speed 75 A4ppm
Contact Xerox India
Pankaj Kalra
+91 124 39400400/