Moving to a new fleet of Ricoh machines

When a vendor approaches you, guest what? It will only disclose the best part of the deal. All quirks are 4 u.

In my corporate environment, they recently change the complete fleet of multi-function peripheral (MFP), the previous one in use where:

  • Ricoh MP C4000 —use toner 5000
  • Ricoh MP 3350 — use toner 2120D
  • Ricoh MP C2051 —use toner C2551

The C, in MPC means color, so a MP 3350 is only black and white. The new equipment is:

  • Ricoh MP 501 — use toner 601
  • Ricoh MPC 306Z — use toner C406
  • Ricoh MPC 3004 — use toner C406

When the pirates of the ink don’t want to pay for toner, they cut the toner bottle in the back (make a hole) and refill the bottle through that hole. Each toner bottle came from fabric with a “security chip”, that will try to put a lock on you. “You buy the toner from us or from nobody”. Anyhow you will need a support contract, the parts of the machines are not always easy to buy and if you see a message like this

Ricoh Machine Service Call

you may not know what to do.

Let me tell you, a technician for a printing company is a highly skill worker, the printing technology is not always the same, and is changing “not super fast” but it does change. For example usually the color machines have 4 different colors, but now there's is one on the market with a 5 color “transparent”.

Model MP C4000, showing the 4 different colors.

In Puerto Rico, the Ricoh is a big company and they have more market share than Xerox, I believe that in the contiguous states it is the opposite the true, the other contenders are Toshiba, Dell and Lexmark.

The services contracts with Ricoh includes the toner, but they put you a cap in the amount of B/W(black and white) and color copies that each machine can throw each month/quarterly/trimestral, without getting the extra fee. In the contract they join the complete fleet and the cap is for the whole fleet.

For example let say that you have 18 MFP, the contract may say that you can throw 200,000 B/W pages and 10,000 color pages each trimester but B/W pages will be billed at $0.01640 and color pages will be billed at $0.1093 in excess of allowance. They enforce the cap through the use of the machine counters, you don’t pay they stop the toner supply or any other related service call.

The law in Puerto Rico require all government agency to register their contracts with office of the comptroller through this web system, so you can search for any contract, but in practice you can’t see it so easily. There’s no FOIA act in Puerto Rico, as far as I know (a shame).

Lets go to this link , and say that you select for Nombre de la Entidad Departmento de Hacienda and then Entidad: Negociado de la Lotería de Puerto Rico Desde: 1/1/2014 Hasta: 5/31/2017, the number one search result will be 2013–000066 SCIENTIFIC GAMES, PUERTO RICO, LLC, a company which makes in net income more than 1 million dollars each month only from PR(more on this later on another post). As a citizen you know the contract exist but you can’t view it.

The web system of the comptroller require the contracts to be optical character recognition (OCR) ready. And guess what? From default the OCR software “app” doesn’t came with the MP501, it is an add-on with an installation procedure.

So I do the dirty work for you of moving my complete City Hall to a new fleet of MFP, and I guess if you’re reading this post U will need my tips:

Ricoh Model 501
  • The OCR is and add-on which is inserted on a SD Card Slot for the installation procedure. Then through the web interface go to Extended Feature Settings and click install to to device HDD from SD Card Slot. The touch interface should display a new scanner setting to let u know that OCR scanning is available.
  • The 8 1/2 x 14" (Legal paper) will be store outside(1/4) of the machine. This will make the paper prone to jams, as the paper more easily can take moisture from the environment. This only apply to the 501 model.
The green part, stop the paper outside of the machine.
  • The default toner box will give you around 7,000 copies, and every new toner box, came with a waste bottle.
  • The scanner is a little bit slower than previous machine models, more slower even if the OCR is activate( Which is understandable).
  • The print is faster than the previous machine models.
  • To enter in service mode, the code was changed to 806182.
  • The machine will not auto-select the paper from the tray, for example if the user print the document in 8 1/2 x11” on default tray, and the paper there was 8 1/2 x 14”, the paper will jam in the machine.
Central Management
  • The central management system is good, but came with client limit (10 clients is the max), a little bit weird.
  • As today, you can’t mix a color MFP central management system with the one of a none color MFP, or with different models for example you can’t mix 306Z with 3004 or 501.
  • The new model 501, don’t support large envelops, only small ones.
  • The equipment had been going to Planet Fitness, in contrast with the previous one, the 501 machine is slim model that you can move easily. My guess is that the drum will take less millage.
  • The firmware on this new machines have the remote counter gate incorporate. The company tech will try to setup the remote gate(which right now I don’t have it enable) and these supposedly will send the counters to some server locate in Japan and will update the machine firmware automatically.
  • The user interface software is new, but they let you use the classic one (optional if you want) this is a super plus. Your users will take less training to understand the new machines.
  • The touch screen (Which is not an IPAD Pro) works great, users can browse the internet from it (setting can be changed to not allow it), and there is a USB port behind the screen, so the user walk to the machine and can print from a memory stick if they want.
  • As before the different driver options, will confuse everybody, PCL 6 Driver? PCL 5e Driver? PostScript3 Driver? TWAIN? Driver for XPS? The reason behind this is that not all the drivers do the same stuff.
  • The MP501 will let you print and scan up to 8 1/2 x 14, but it won’t let you do it for other bigger paper sizes like 8 1/2 x 17.
  • These models are a little bit slower to boot up and shutdown down, than the previous models. It can take 8 minutes to properly shutdown the machines.
  • As always all the equipment's host names start with RNP which means Ricoh Network Product.

Need the equipment on the second floor? Don’t worry a hand truck with a little motor will do the heavy lifting for you ;).

This is my first post about Computer Science/ Information Technology I will try to keep each post around 1200 words so you don’t get bore, my native language is Spanish and I have a personal challenge to become a English native speaker, I believe these posts somehow will help me reach that goal, feedback is always welcome.