Star product: Kyocera TASKalfa Pro 15000c

Simon Eccles
Friday, October 22, 2021

Kyocera’s first production press offers lots of bang for your buck.

What does it do?
This is the Japanese manufacturer’s first production press. It’s an SRA3-format sheetfed four-colour inkjet with a top speed of 150 A4 ppm. It’s priced to compete with mid-range dry toner presses and mainly aimed at transactional and direct mail ‘white paper’ and litho overprinting markets. 

Although Kyocera has long made a well-regarded series of inkjet printheads, they have mostly been sold to other printer manufacturers. Kyocera does offer smaller toner-based MFPs (multi-function printers) and related office printers under its TASKalfa brand. 

To help gain a foothold in the new market, last year Kyocera took on Chris Matthews as UK production print manager. Although as this issue of Printweek was going to press, it emerged that Matthews was heading to pastures new; he’s leaving the business with a strong pipeline of orders. 

When was it launched at what are the target markets?
The TASKalfa Pro 15000c was launched in November 2019. It is being marketed mainly for direct mail and transactional variable data work. Although it handles full colour, it is also suited to overprinting variable data black or spots onto pre-printed offset shells. 

The first TASKalfa 15000c to be installed in the UK was at Document Despatch in Basingstoke, in summer 2020. Further installations have been made since, and Matthews says he expects sales to really take off now that Covid restrictions have been lifted enough to invite prospects to see the press at the UK showroom. “We’re doing demos every week now,” he says. 

How does it work?
There are 12 piezo printheads in four banks of three per colour. The resolution can be 600x600dpi or 600x1,200dpi for more detail at slower speeds. The speed is the same regardless of media thickness. The first sheet emerges in 5.0 seconds when copying or 5.5 seconds when printing. 

An autofeeding scanner is standard and an inline bookletmaker is optional.

The print colour is rather flat; good enough for direct mail or transactional work on uncoated papers, though you wouldn’t use it for top quality brochures or photobooks. It can only run uncoated or silk papers, not gloss. 

The printer and the various other modules run from single-phase 13A plugs, taking just two minutes to warm up. Kyocera uses a set of ink heaters operating at very low heat to assist with evaporation, plus low temperature hot air afterwards. It says “the ink is basically dry once it comes into contact with the media”.

Reliability is helped by minimising moving parts. Routine checks and work can be carried out after 600,000 prints by a skilled operator in just 35 minutes, Kyocera says. 

An EFI Fiery FS300 Pro front-end is described as “optional” in the brochure. According to Trevor Maloney, TASKalfa product marketing manager, “the device can operate without a RIP but functionality is limited. We are also planning on launching a Kyocera software solution soon that can be used instead of the Fiery.”

Kyocera Europe has also partnered with Solimar Systems to offer its iConvert platform for IPDS workflows and Chemistry Customer Communications Management workflow tools to run with the 15000c. 

What’s the USP? 
Kyocera lists its own inkjet printhead tech, few moving parts to go wrong, low energy consumption (claiming “67% less” than equivalent toner presses) and overall good environmental credentials. 

How easy is it to use? 
The Kyocera user interface is well proven and designed to be intuitive. Operators get basic training on installation but there’s an optional three-day advanced programme tailored to customer requirements.

How will it be supplied?
Kyocera UK is appointing partners with existing knowledge of production print. So far about 10 have been appointed.

What does it cost? 
The price is £130,000-£200,000 depending on options. This is about a third of what established B3/SRA3 inkjet press competitors from Canon and Xerox cost, though they can double the 15000c speed and are compatible with coated litho stocks. But for about the price of a mid-volume 120ppm dry toner press, you could have a 150ppm inkjet with claimed lower running costs and higher uptimes. 

Kyocera TASKalfa Pro 15000c Specifications
Process
Piezo inkjet
Inks Aqueous pigment (CMYK)
Speed 150 A4ppm, 88 A3ppm
Duty cycle 1m pages per month
Sheet sizes A6 to 330x487mm incl envelopes
M
ax media weights 75-360gsm
Standard feeders Dual 500-sheet trays; dual 1,500-sheet trays; 150-sheet multi-purpose tray, totalling 4,150 sheets
Optional feeders Dual 2,440-sheet (PF-9100) trays; one or two 500-sheet multi-media feeders (PF-9110); 2,440-sheet dual large capacity tray (PF-9100). Total: 14,310 sheets

Finishing options Descending stackers, bookletmaker

Price From £130,000

Contact Kyocera Document Solutions (UK) 0333 0151855 www.kyoceradocumentsolutions.co.uk


ALTERNATIVES

Canon VarioPrint i200/ix300
Canon’s pair of B3 inkjets offer higher speeds and a much higher monthly duty cycle but also correspondingly higher prices. 
Printheads Kyocera piezo
Colours CMYK
Resolution 600x600dpi
Max speed 200/304ipm duplex A4
Duty cycle 7m-10m pages per month
Max sheet size 350x500mm
Price From £550,000 depending on configuration
Contact Canon UK 0844 892 0810 www.canon.co.uk


Ricoh Pro C9210/Heidelberg Versafire EP
Ricoh’s fastest dry toner flagship was introduced in 2018. Heidelberg sells a rebadged version. It can take long sheets and has a good range of inline finishing options. 
Colours CMYK
Resolution 2,400x4,800dpi
Max speed 135 A4ppm, for all media types
Duty cycle Peak volume 1.75m A4 impressions/month; normal volume 1m A4 impressions/month
Footprint 2.52x1m
Price About £130,000 DOC
Contact Ricoh UK 020 7655 0129 www.ricoh.co.uk


Xerox Iridesse
The dry toner Iridesse offers respectable 120ppm performance, as well as six colours (including metallics). Print quality is good on all stocks.
Colours CMYK with two optional extras
Speed 120 A4 ppm for all paper weights
Duty cycle up to 2.25m A4 pages per month
Max media sizes 330x488mm standard, option for 1,200mm long sheets
Media weights 52-400gsm
Resolution 1,200x1,200x10-bit ripping and 2,400x2,400x1-bit imaging
Price about £180,000 with typical options
Contact Xerox UK 0870 873 4519 www.xerox.com 

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