Ricoh says this robust production system was a game-changer in terms of reliability and productivity. <i>Simon Creasey</i> takes a look under the hood
The Pro 1356EX, together with the 906EX and 1105EX machines, was launched in 2008 and was the end of a product evolution that commenced back in 2000 with the introduction of the Aficio 850 and 1050. In 2001 these machines were replaced by the 1085 and 1105 and two years later the next generation, in the form of the 2090 and the 2105, were introduced.
These machines featured more powerful processors, larger memory capacities, better image quality and scanning than their predecessors, according to Mandeep Rana, product manager of Ricoh UK.
Tens of thousands of these machines were sold globally says Rana, who claims that the company "raised the bar" again with the introduction of the 135 page-per-minute (ppm) Aficio MP 1350 in 2007 and ultimately the 135ppm 1356EX a year later.
"It was faster and more productive than its predecessors – and its competitors – and it helped Ricoh establish a reputation as the supplier of choice to the production market," claims Rana.
A strong finish
The 1356EX boasts what Ricoh says is an industry first – a fully automated ring binding system – as well as an inline perfect bind option.
"The new professional finishing options, together with the exceptional speed, reliability and versatility of the print engine puts the 1356EX in a class of its own," says Rana. He adds that the machine was launched to meet the market’s ‘downsizing’ trend offering "lower initial cost compared to ‘big iron’ in the light-production range".
Target customers included central reprographic departments, print-for-pay operators and data centres. "Its simple operation also made it suitable for walk-up use in departments with high-volume print needs, training departments, marketing departments, etc," says Rana.
Although the machine has a top speed of 135ppm, two machines can be linked – via a copy connect kit – for simultaneous double-speed production of 270ppm. In addition to an impressive top speed, the 1356EX has been built to last. Ricoh claims that it is a highly durable model that boasts an engine life of 60m impressions with capacity to handle peak volumes well in excess of a million pages per month. The number of extras Ricoh offers is too long to list but it includes all manner of different finishing options.
A new 1356EX costs in the region of £54,995 depending on specification. Rana says that it’s difficult to give a specific secondhand price (or even a rough price bracket for a used machine) because different parts may need replacing and different machines have different configurations. Spare parts are readily available and Ricoh has around 830 engineers across the UK.
The company will consider part-exchange for a new model, but this is dependant on the size of the deal. Any used machine that Rioch does take back is completely refurbished before the company sells it back into the market. In line with the company’s environmental philosophy, its aim is to reuse wherever possible and in Europe alone Ricoh collects more than 120,000 used products each year, many of which are refurbished at one of the group’s European refurbishment centres.
"In order to continuously promote recycling it is necessary to create economic value from the process," explains Rana. "As such any machines collected must eventually return to the market but only once then have met our high quality standards."
Max speed 135ppm
Max resolution 1,200dpi
Max paper size 330x458mm
Max paper weight 216gsm
Weight Less than 305kg
Used: dependent on specification
What to look out for
• General wear and tear