Rack mount rugged printer

  • Thread starter Industrial Electrician
  • Start date

I

Industrial Electrician

I need to mount a printer in a 19 inch equipment rack to print single
page test reports (about ten of them per day). Cost is no issue, but
reliability is; the test line runs 24/7 and if a printer fails at 3AM
I have to go to the plant and fix it. The environment is clean and
air conditioned. The operators are unskilled -- they set any failed
units aside for the day shift technicians -- but they can load paper,
change cartridges, and clear most jams. I can put a printer on a shelf
if I can't get one that rack-mounts.

Any suggestions as to what printer to buy for this?
 
M

me

Industrial Electrician said:
I need to mount a printer in a 19 inch equipment rack to print single
page test reports (about ten of them per day). Cost is no issue, but
reliability is; the test line runs 24/7 and if a printer fails at 3AM
I have to go to the plant and fix it. The environment is clean and
air conditioned. The operators are unskilled -- they set any failed
units aside for the day shift technicians -- but they can load paper,
change cartridges, and clear most jams. I can put a printer on a shelf
if I can't get one that rack-mounts.

Any suggestions as to what printer to buy for this?
I would say probably a laser or a dot matrix. I haven't used a dot
matrix for years, but they do commercial ones that will run for an age
without any intervention. Or on the laser side you can get machines
that will take a couple of reams of paper at a go and toner cartridges
that will last four or five thousand pages. How many pages a day do you
expect the machine to get through?
 
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W

Warren Block

Industrial Electrician said:
I need to mount a printer in a 19 inch equipment rack to print single
page test reports (about ten of them per day). Cost is no issue, but
reliability is; the test line runs 24/7 and if a printer fails at 3AM
I have to go to the plant and fix it. The environment is clean and
air conditioned. The operators are unskilled -- they set any failed
units aside for the day shift technicians -- but they can load paper,
change cartridges, and clear most jams. I can put a printer on a shelf
if I can't get one that rack-mounts.
If there's a printer that won't suffer paper jams or misfeeds, I'm not
aware of it.

The height of the rack space might limit your choices.

Consider installing a UPS-backed computer that captures the reports.
You can have it print them immediately and save a copy, or just save
them all and batch print at a later time. When the printer fails, you
can just reprint the missed reports. And it's no problem to find both
computer and UPS in rack mount form factor.
 
I

Industrial Electrician

I would say probably a laser or a dot matrix. I haven't used a dot
matrix for years, but they do commercial ones that will run for an age
without any intervention. Or on the laser side you can get machines
that will take a couple of reams of paper at a go and toner cartridges
that will last four or five thousand pages. How many pages a day do you
expect the machine to get through?
Ten to twelve pages per day. One every two hours as the units get
tested and the test result page is printed out. The problem is that
I want it to still be putting out those ten pages a day five or even
ten years from now.
 
I

Industrial Electrician

Warren said:
If there's a printer that won't suffer paper jams or misfeeds, I'm not
aware of it.
As I said, the operators can load paper, change cartridges, and clear
most jams. Certainly any dot-matrix jam that I ever seen, and all but
the toughest laser printer jams.
The height of the rack space might limit your choices.
I have a two foot tall space, and can increase it to three by replacing
one of the other items in the rack with a smaller model.
Consider installing a UPS-backed computer that captures the reports.
You can have it print them immediately and save a copy, or just save
them all and batch print at a later time. When the printer fails, you
can just reprint the missed reports. And it's no problem to find both
computer and UPS in rack mount form factor.
The computer that generates the printouts already captures the report
(locally and a copy on a network server). The problem is the military;
they don't like it when you don't create the test report as the test
finishes.
 
W

Warren Block

Industrial Electrician said:
I have a two foot tall space, and can increase it to three by replacing
one of the other items in the rack with a smaller model.
Okay. I'd skip impact printers for this, because they're too hard to
find other than mail order. Ribbons dry out, too. The Oki 320 is the
typical printer that's still being used where impact printing is needed.

A small "home" laser should fit well, but paper handling and
reliability might be a concern. Avoid top feed lasers, and also
host-based ones.

I've used multiple LaserJet 4050s in hot, dusty warehouses for
relatively high-volume printing for years. No problems, they run and
run. A big printer like this is far more printer than you need, but the
reliability might be the selling point. It'll fit, closely, but the
rack sides should be open for cooling, and depth might be a problem.
 
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M

me

Industrial Electrician said:
Ten to twelve pages per day. One every two hours as the units get
tested and the test result page is printed out. The problem is that
I want it to still be putting out those ten pages a day five or even
ten years from now.
Well I would go for some sort of laser, I'd step up from the cheapest
models available to provide the durability. Kyocera's machines seem to
be the best for tanklike build quality now.
 
Z

zakezuke

Industrial Electrician said:
Warren Block wrote:
I have a two foot tall space, and can increase it to three by replacing
one of the other items in the rack with a smaller model.
Okay. I'd skip impact printers for this, because they're too hard to
find other than mail order. Ribbons dry out, too. The Oki 320 is the
typical printer that's still being used where impact printing is needed.
These suckers are at every office depot you can find, or just about
every other office store. It was funny watching the prices of
dotmatrix fall, then one day the price of the OKI 320 jumped back up to
$350. Good solid printer from hell.

I know jack about rackmount printers, but this at the very least could
sit on a shelf with a slot for the paper. Add on a nice IR sensor to
detect paper low and you have a solution. Ribbons get changed on a
schedual, given the low volume once a month should be overkill.
've used multiple LaserJet 4050s in hot, dusty warehouses for
relatively high-volume printing for years. No problems, they run and
run. A big printer like this is far more printer than you need, but the
reliability might be the selling point. It'll fit, closely, but the
rack sides should be open for cooling, and depth might be a problem.
Well also really overkill would be a Tally line printer, though they
are an easy sell. They don't fit in a rack but they have their own
pedestal.
 
L

Lionel

I need to mount a printer in a 19 inch equipment rack to print single
page test reports (about ten of them per day). Cost is no issue, but
reliability is; the test line runs 24/7 and if a printer fails at 3AM
I have to go to the plant and fix it. The environment is clean and
air conditioned. The operators are unskilled -- they set any failed
units aside for the day shift technicians -- but they can load paper,
change cartridges, and clear most jams. I can put a printer on a shelf
if I can't get one that rack-mounts.

Any suggestions as to what printer to buy for this?
No suggestions for current model printers, but for factories,
warehouses & accountants offices, we used to use Microline 93 series
dot matrix printers, bottom-fed directly from a full carton of
fan-fold paper, with the output stacking in the paper carton lid. They
were built like tanks & were just as hard to kill. Apart from loading
paper & replacing ribbons, the only maintainance required would be a
new printhead about every 5 years or so.
Another popular choice was any laser printer based on the Canon SX
engine, such as the HP series II & similar units (used by Brother,
Canon, HP & many other OEMs). I've worked on SX engines with
2,000,000+ page counts that only needed new feed rollers & paper dust
removal.
The big 4000 series lasers are another incredibly reliable series
that are still obtainable on the used market. I'm still using an HP
Laserjet 4+ myself, which was a few years old when I bought it at a
computer fair more than 4 years ago.
 
L

Lionel

I've used multiple LaserJet 4050s in hot, dusty warehouses for
relatively high-volume printing for years. No problems, they run and
run.
Yep, couldn't agree more.
A big printer like this is far more printer than you need, but the
reliability might be the selling point. It'll fit, closely, but the
rack sides should be open for cooling, and depth might be a problem.
It might be a bit of a squeeze in a 600mm rack, but anything deeper
would be fine.
 
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B

Bob Furtaw

Here's what I'd do...and did.

Get a 19" rack pull out, shelf. Place almost any inexpensive printer on the
rack shelf. Keep a duplicate printer (absolutely identical, so there is no
heart attack from the OS when swapped) in a cabinet someplace. If the
printer fails, simply replace the printer. Operators should be able to
handle it. It's even easier then trying to handle a paper jamb.

regards, Bob
 

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