Ricoh Aficio 3224C
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Ricoh Aficio 3224C
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|Gregco||8:03am on Saturday, September 11th, 2010|
|Promising technology I was researching printers on the web and was intrigued by the Gelsprinter system from Ricoh.|
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Color at Work
100% Independent Analysis Ricoh Aficio 3224C
10 ppm Color, 24 ppm Monochrome Copier - Printer - Scanner- Fax
Key Buyer Benefits
Aggressively-priced compact workgroup MFP with a diverse range of document processing and handling capabilities Extensive distribution capabilities including sophisticated fax functionality and a diverse range of scanning delivery options Excellent range of security measures spanning all the major functions and document storage options Excellent image quality across a wide range of business document Versatile document management capabilities both from a walk up and desktop point of view Flexible desktop and network utilities via Web-based Web Image Monitor and PC-based SmartDeviceMonitor plus DeskTopBinder utilities delivering device monitoring, cluster and recovery printing capabilities, and much more Color dropout technology providing advanced forms processing capabilities unmatched by rivals at time of writing
BERTL 4-Star Award Winner
tel. (1) 732-761-2311 fax. (1) 732-761-2312 info@BERTL.com
Copyright 2006 MCA Internet, LLC. dba BERTL
All Rights Reserved. The license under which this document is made available and applicable law prohibit any reproduction or further transmission of any portion of this document. This document may only be viewed electronically through the www.BERTL.com Web site and may not be stored in electronic or hard copy format. Any reproduction of trademarks is strictly prohibited. BERTL accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies or omissions contained in this document.
Ricoh Aficio 3224C
(Click on an entry below to go to the page listed.)
Product Dynamics.... 4 Improved Cycling/Recalibration Processes... 4 PxP Toner.... 4 Embedded Software Architecture (ESA).. 5 Market Positioning... 5 Imaging Unit Design... 6 Four-Pass Drum Laser Technology... 6 Toner Refilling... 6 Drum Replenishment... 6 Paper Handling.... 7 Paper Capacity.... 7 Automatic Paper Selection... 7 Automatic Document Feeder... 8 Finishing and Output... 8 1,000-Sheet Finisher.. 8 500-Sheet Finisher... 8 Security.... 9 Print Security.... 9 Fax Security.... 9 Document Server Security.. 9 Access Permission... 10 Read-only.... 10 Edit.... 10 Edit/Delete... 10 Full Control... 10 Hard Drive Data Security.. 10 Restrict Access To The Device Itself.. 10 Security/Accessibility.... 11 Accessibility.... 11
Copyright 2006 MCA Internet, LLC dba BERTL.
Device Management... 12 Web Image Monitor... 12 Email Alert System... 13 SmartDeviceMonitor... 15 Copy.... 16 Job Build.... 16 Copy Concurrency.... 17 User Productivity... 17 Image Quality.... 18 Print on Demand... 19 Print.... 20 RPCS Driver Design... 20 Direct PDF Print... 22 Desktop Utilities... 23 DeskTopBinder Lite... 23 Scan.... 25 LDAP Integration... 25 Network Authentication... 25 Scan to Email.... 26 Scan to Folder... 27 Scan to FTP.... 27 Color Dropout Scanning Functionality.. 27 What Is Color Dropout?... 27 Who Uses Color Dropout?... 27 Does Color Dropout Affect Productivity?.. 28 How is Color Dropout Used?... 29 Fax..... 30 Automatic Fax Forwarding to Email... 30 Attach Stored Fax Files... 30 Delayed Transmission... 31 LAN Fax... 31 Internet Fax.... 31 Summing Up....32
The Aficio 3224C is the latest in a series of occasional workgroup color MFPs from Ricoh delivering 24 ppm monochrome, 10 ppm color and a wide range of multifunctional capabilities spanning copy, print, fax, and scan. Replacing the Aficio 1224C, the new Aficio 3224C brings a wealth of new functionality, higher speed, better image quality, improved calibration processes, greater processing power, and an equally aggressive price point for those looking to buy maximum flexibility within the smallest footprint and at the lowest price point. The most obvious physical advantages that the Aficio 3224C offers over its predecessor include: Max Color Speed Processor Power Printing Capability Scan Capability Std Copier Memory 10 ppm 466 MHz Standard Standard 768 MB vs vs vs vs vs 8 ppm 256 MHz Optional Optional 128 MB However, go beneath the surface and there are many more new advancements in technology that distinguish the Aficio 3224C. Improved Cycling/Recalibration Processes A major complaint aimed at the Ricoh Aficio 1224C/1232C predecessors was the seemingly endless stop and start cycling process that the device carried out to maintain consistent color quality. The device would literally stop every 50 to 200 pages, even in the middle of jobs to carry out a maintenance cycle that could take between 30 seconds and 2 minutes. This process, needless to say, had the effect of irritating a lot of users. The new Ricoh Aficio 3224C, while still carrying out routine recalibration processes on occasion, does not have the same cycling issues as found on the previous models waiting instead for jobs to finish before a cycling process can commence.
BERTL analysts reviewing the Ricoh Aficio 3224C.
Embedded Software Architecture (ESA) With digital MFPs being positioned by their makers as more than just output devices, the industry is opening up the doors to third party developers by moving away from the age-old, difficult-to-work-with, proprietary firmware and instead is moving to industry recognized platforms with Software Developer Kit (SDK) support. Ricohs ESA is an open, scalable platform, built on an object-oriented Java backbone that allows for far greater and easier integration that the previous proprietary firmware. As this technology gets embraced by software resellers, VARs, and other solution providers, expect to see Market Positioning The Ricoh Aficio 3224C, like its predecessors the Aficio 1224C/1232C, is designed to be an occasional color device, primarily serving as a monochrome MFP unit, while offering color as a secondary concern when required. When looked at from this perspective, the cost equation looks favorable, with full color copy/print and scan being added for a modest premium above the price paid for the monochrome workgroup MFP. If color is a primary concern, the device speed does not look as attractive, especially if ledger/ A3 is taken off the must-have list of requirements. BERTL has conducted various polls looking into current color usage in the office. While color is indeed receiving all the media attention, at the end of the day the vast majority of copy and print output in the general office is still in monochrome, with running cost being the biggest inhibitor to more color adoption in the day-to-day business of most companies. The Ricoh Aficio 3224C facilitates this monochrome dominance, while still providing the capability for the occasional color copy/print or scan job when necessary without the need for additional hardware. The one area to keep in mind when you look to purchase a device like the Ricoh Aficio 3224C is the effect on office productivity as color usage gets higher. At the moment, on Day 1, you are buying a device that offers good value for the money as a 24 ppm monochrome MFP with color albeit only at 10 ppm when required. With a 90 percent monochrome to 10 percent color mix, the workload is effectively 22.6 ppm combined, with the color aspect only having a 6 percent effect on productivity.
Architecture schematic for Ricoh ESA open platform
more customized solutions and a whole new way in which the walk-up experience of the office copier from old will be judged. Ricoh already offers a selection of thirdparty software products that integrate with its Java-based system including NSis AutoStore and OmTools AccuRoute middleware scanner workflow applications. More information on these third-party applications will be available soon within BERTLs services.
Now consider an equal mix between color and monochrome, the workload is now effectively 17 ppm, with the engine now running 30 percent slower than on Day 1. This basic equation is very simplistic and does not take into effect the additional factors that further impact device productivity when more color is introduced, such as slower spooling, ripping, and processing. That being said, the difference between the monochrome and color engine speeds on the Ricoh Aficio 3224C is considerably less than that found on many competing occasional color units, where the color can be as much as four times slower than the monochrome engine speed. Imaging Unit Design Four-Pass Drum Laser Technology: The Ricoh Aficio 3224C uses a single drum, which makes four revolutions to create a full-color page. This differs from many color units (including most of Ricohs business color devices), which use a single-pass design with the paper passing over a series of four imaging units, which in turn lay down a toner layer onto the paper. Ricohs single drum rotates at 40 revolutions per minute, with a laser imaging unit allowing full color speeds of up to 10 ppm. Black-only output involves only a single revolution of the drum. However, the maximum mono speed is only 24 ppm, not the 40 ppm we would have expected. The decision to limit monochrome engine speed to 24 ppm is even more confusing when you take into consideration that the same engine design has achieved 32 ppm monochrome and 10 ppm color in the 1232C predecessor. Like its predecessor, the Ricoh Aficio 3224C is able to switch between mono and color speed settings during an individual job. This could be seen on both copy- and print-based documents, with mono pages exiting much faster than color pages. Toner Refilling Toner is reloaded on the left side of the unit. The refill process is easy and should not be a concern for most front office users.
Toner supplies are loaded to the left side of the unit.
Drum Replenishment Unlike faster business color four-in-line imaging units, which have userreplaceable drum units in addition to toner supplies, the Ricohs single drum is an engineer-only, replacement item. This may be an inhibiting factor in some environments where 24/7 operation is mission critical.
Paper Capacity The Ricoh Aficio 3224C has a standard paper capacity of 600 sheets, putting it slightly below par with the capacity of most rival units out of the box. The standard 600-sheet configuration breaks down to dual 250-sheet trays and one 100-sheet bypass tray. The bypass tray handles paper sizes up to 12 x 18/A3+ and 90 lb. Index/163gsm. The dual 250-sheet trays also handle 90 lb. Index/163gsm but only ledger/A3 in size. While the Ricoh Aficio 3224C may offer less standard capacity when compared to rival units, it does, however, fair well in relation to its support of heavier paper stocks. The 100-sheet bypass tray and standard 250-sheet drawers both support up to 90 lb. Index. when using heavier stock for the purposes of producing business cards, product brochures, covers for reports, manuals, programs etc., as opposed to only 100 sheets through the bypass. Overall paper capacity can be extended to a maximum of 2,600 (letter/A4) sheets through the addition of an optional tandem 2,000-sheet paper deck, which is installed beneath the main engine unit, thereby not increasing the overall footprint of the device. The 2,600-sheet maximum capacity is significantly lower than that offered on some rival units. However, the added capacity on rival units comes at the expense of footprint with the added supplies being a side-mounted, largecapacity unit. The high capacity unit on the Ricoh Aficio 3224C is restricted to handling letter/A4 supplies. For those who wish to have greater paper-size flexibility Ricoh also offers additional universal paper trays, each holding a maximum of 500 sheets up to ledger/A3. This is an important consideration for environments such as legal firms, real estate agents, design agencies, city planning departments, etc., where a diverse range of documents larger than letter/A4 are created on a regular basis. Automatic Paper Selection The Ricoh Aficio 3224C automatically detects paper for the user. This is a timesaving benefit compared to some competing units which force users to manually change dials or change paper settings at the touch screen when paper stocks are switched over. This tray system on the Ricoh Aficio 3224C automatically detects the size of paper and passes the information to the device, saving valuable time, raising user productivity, and reducing the potential for mistakes which can lead to paper jams, which in turn create bottlenecks.
BERTL analyst reloading one of the Ricoh Aficio 3224Cs universal paper drawers.
While the Ricoh Aficio 3224C does falls short to some rivals in handling heavier paper weights, it does fair well with the majority of the competition. Despite the 100-sheet bypass being the only source for 12 x 18/A3+ papers, both the dual 250-sheet trays and 100-sheet bypass support 90 lb. Index/163gsm. Not all players allow this; users will enjoy having a capacity larger than a ream at 600 sheets
Automatic Document Feeder The Ricoh Aficio 3224C comes with a 50sheet, duplexing, automatic document feeder as standard. This is often an optional purchase for both monochrome and color devices in its sector. The capacity of the document feeder is moderate when compared to the competition. We would like to see Ricoh add a single-pass, duplex-scanning document feeder, a feature that it has already been implemented on its departmental monochrome MFPs. This feature can help raise duplex productivity, reduce wear and tear on originals, and reduce paper jam incidences due to the less rigorous paper path. Scanning on the 3224C is carried out at 600dpi in 8-bit color. can choose one staple in two position or two staples in three positions. This finisher staples sheets up to 12 x 18/A3+. The 500-sheet finisher stacks up to 500 sheets in the main tray and staples up to 30 sheets at a time (ledger/A3 max). Users
1,000-sheet floorstanding finisher for the Ricoh Aficio 3224C
can only select one staple in the upper left hand corner. Saddle-stitch and hole-punch finishing are not available with the Aficio 3224C despite being available on some competing devices. This might put the device at a disadvantage in the eyes of some buyers looking for a small footprint device that can handle all document production needs. For those who do not need finishing, or lack the space to accommodate the finisher, the Ricoh Aficio 3224C can also be equipped with two internal options. First, the Internal Shift Sort Tray can offset stack sheets up to 12 x 18/A3+ in size and stack 250 sheets of letter/A4 or smaller and 125 sheets legal/8.5 x 14 or larger. The offset stacking capability means easier job separation on multi-set jobs, or when multiple users are sharing the device. Second, the Internal One-Bin Tray handles 125 sheets up to ledger/A3 in size. In addition to these two options, the standard internal output tray can hold up to 500 letter or 250 legal or larger pages.
Ricohs standard 50-sheet reversing automatic document feeder
Finishing and Output The Ricoh Aficio 3224C comes with two finishing options, the 1,000-Sheet finisher and the 500-Sheet finisher. The 1,000-sheet finisher obviously stacks up to 1,000 sheets in the main tray and also staples up to 50 (letter/A4) sheets and 30 (legal/8.5 x 14 or larger) sheets. Users
MFP devices are now an established part of the enterprise LAN infrastructure. And like other network devices, they are subject to the demands of IT managers for improved security. Manufacturers have been introducing sophisticated features that go beyond the security of the device itself (i.e., protecting the hard drive and console), addressing the key issues of network privacy and authentication. Print Security Many users have expressed concern with document confidentiality while printing. They worry about printing private documents to the copier/printer, and what happens in the time it takes them to walk from the desktop to the exit tray of the copier. Users fear these documents can be mixed in with other user jobs, looked at by other users, taken by mistake, or even forgotten about, leaving those documents for all to see. This is an important consideration for any company subject to the HIPAA, Gramm-Leach-Bliley, FSMA ,or other data privacy acts. The new Ricoh Aficio 3224C prevents others from reading or removing private documents. This is done by suspending output until the user enters an authorization PIN at the systems control panel. The Locked Print Job function enables users to print with confidence, knowing they will be the only ones viewing and retrieving their personal papers. Using the Locked Print Job function is simple. To do so, users open the print driver dialog box and set the job type to locked print. After clicking details, users enter a user ID and password this ID and password will later be used at the control panel to release the print job. A confirmation message will appear asking users to confirm the password by reentering it. Once this is done, users click ok as if it were a normal print job, sending the job to wait in the machine. With the Locked Print Job now stored in memory, retrieving it from the machine is equally as straightforward as sending it. After the user has logged in, the Printer key is pressed on the touch screen. This is followed by Locked & Sample Print Job List, also on the touch screen. The logged-in users print jobs will now appear. After selecting the desired jobs, users simply input the password from earlier, and press yes. Only then will that file print securely into the original users hands. Fax Security The same lockdown capability can be used for fax, with the Ricoh supporting fax-touser box through the use of sub-address fax numbering. To do this, each user requiring a secure fax delivery mechanism sets up a fax number complete with a subaddress (like an extension). When faxes come in with the sub-address number, they get routed directly into the fax box rather than get printed for all to see. This fax box can be password protected to guarantee security. Users can also set up the fax box to automatically reroute the faxes to an email address or Windows folder, or they can simply view and delete the faxes directly from the desktop using the included DeskTopBinder utility. Document Server Security Print on demand documents stored on the Aficio 3224C can also be made secure. Files stored on the device hard drive are specified as to who can view and print them and who cannot. The printing of stored files by unauthorized users is very preventable.
Users can view and reprint copy, print, fax, and scan files stored on the device hard drive.
resubmit the file to print in one seamless process. This has numerous real-world applications including the personalization of documents/forms/letters on a user by user basis without each user having to store each file on their PC and keep it updated. Instead, the office manager can just ensure that the document archive on the Aficio 3224C is kept up to date. This can also save valuable storage space as the file is only being stored permanently on the single hard drive. Email Alert System For small businesses especially, usually there is limited and, in many cases, no staff dedicated to monitoring imaging devices. Even in small workgroup environments, it makes sense to designate a key op for the printer, rather than relying on a distant corporate support desk. For these situations, the Ricoh Aficio 3224C supports email alerts, which can be configured through the Web Image Monitor interface. Emails can be sent to office managers or other general staff when
Users can choose multiple documents stored on the device hard drive and send them as a single job.
either resource limits or error conditions occur. The list of alerts include: low toner, waste bottle full, paper out, cover open, and paper tray error. The Ricoh Aficio 3224C also supports on demand email replies. This allows dealers or other remote IT staff to query the devices SNMP database by sending an email request, which then triggers an informational reply. This approach gets around corporate firewalls that would otherwise block Web access. To configure the on-demand configuration page, administrators enter authorized email requestors and the type of information that the remote user can view (e.g., printer info, device status info, and supply info.)
On-demand email: remote support staff and dealers can receive device status emails.
Email alerts can be configured for multiple recipients.
SmartDeviceMonitor For those who do not want to be opening Internet browser windows every time they want to check on the status of a device, there is another way to view job and status called the SmartDeviceMonitor. This is a Windows-based application, which can be accessed through the applications icon in the Windows notification. One advantage of the SmartDeviceMonitor over the Web interface is that it lets users monitor multiple Ricoh devices. A click on the notification icon and users can view device configuration, device status, and job history information for any discovered Ricoh device. Another key feature of the SmartDeviceMonitor is the ability to group multiple devices for improved productivity and reliability. With its Extended Features users can distribute a multi-copy job across a printer group for greater throughput. They can also create a recovery groups so that when a Ricoh device experiences a device error, the job will be automatically rerouted to another printer.
Print on Demand
The 40 GB hard drive on the Ricoh Aficio 3224C serves two main purposes: 1. Provides extra page spool memory for copy, print, scan, and fax functions 2. Document storage (called Document Server by Ricoh) which allows copy, print, fax, and scan users to store and retrieve commonly-used documents quickly, without having to re-scan, reprocess, or generate network bandwidth. Each stored job can be categorized by user name, document name and date stored. The images here illustrate a series of jobs that have been stored. Once stored, jobs can be retrieved and reprinted from either the copy control panel or via a choice of two desktop utilities (DeskTopBinder or Web Image Monitor). In addition to providing a reprint-ondemand function, the Document Server also allows users to send emails and faxes using attached documents that are stored on the hard drive, rather than having to scan them in during the transmission. For example, say a user has to send a handwritten order to a customer via email. The customer also wants product brochure information. The product brochures are already stored in memory for daily use. The user can attach the stored file when the email is set up. This saves the user from having to scan the entire brochure. Note: Only files stored within the Store File facility within the scan function can be attached to emails. The same is true with only documents stored within the fax function being attachable to fax transmissions. The reason for this is the format in which the files are saved. Copy jobs stored using the Document Server function on the copy control panel are stored in proprietary format, print files are stored post-RIP, and scan and fax files are stored in industry standard TIFF or PDF format.
Documents also can be protected with a password to prevent unauthorized printing/distribution.
Documents can be saved for print on demand use.
Documents can be saved with user name and document name for easy retrieval.
Multiple documents can be printed as a single finished print job using Document Server.
Network printing is standard on the Ricoh 3224C. This is a trend that is commonplace in the office, color-MFP market. The controller is powered by a 466 MHz processor, with 768 MB of RAM and a 40 GB hard drive. Standard connectivity includes 10/100BaseT Ethernet and USB 2.0. Optional connectivity includes IEEE 802.11b Wireless LAN Interface Unit Type H, IEEE 1394 Interface Board Type B, IEEE 1284 Interface Board Type A, and Bluetooth Interface Board Type 3245. PCL 5c, PCL 6 and RPCS printer drivers are all included as standard. Genuine Adobe PostScript 3 with Direct PDF printing is an available option. Each supports 600 x 600 dpi. While readers will be accustomed to seeing PCL and PostScript PDLs, Ricohs RPCS may be less familiar to those considering Ricoh for the first time. RPCS (Refined Printer Command Stream) is the companys own proprietary driver software utilizing the power of the desktop CPU while taking much of its printing technology from PCL. This best of both worlds offers, according to Ricoh, a speedier driver. RPCS Driver Design The RPCS driver has a very different look and feel compared to the PCL and PostScript drivers. This in itself has its pros and cons. RPCS fans will say that the icon-based driver offers greater ease of use and a higher level of functionality. The downside is that the driver takes some getting used to, and for those who switch between drivers depending upon the workload, it requires more thought than the more conventional PCL to PostScript switching. BERTL analysts liked the custom setting facility on the RPCS driver. This allows users to save common device settings under a one-touch template. The setting is stored prominently on the opening tab of the driver, with users able to view a description of the template settings by moving their mouse cursor over the icon. While this is not a unique function to the RPCS driver, it feels more like a backbone feature of the driver rather than an aside that must be sought. To add or change a custom setting, users go into a secondary level of the driver. Here, users are presented with four tabs. Within the setup tab, users can choose paper input and output features including cover stock options.
A document stored in a shared DeskTopBinder folder contains tasks for each member of the project team.
DeskTopBinder Lite also supports a function palette icon, which lets users directly print PDF files. Easy print uses the RPCS driver to print other documents. The palette menu floats on the desktop, giving users convenient access to these print functions as well as the ability to add documents to the library through a speedy drag-and-drop. Finally, DeskTopBinder Lite includes AutoLink. This software assumes Ricohs ScanRouter network scanning software has been already installed. AutoLink monitors the in-trays, automatically importing the scanned document into the DeskTopBinder Lites libraries, allowing users to creating a basic workflow solution.
Once the multiple documents have been compiled, final print settings such as page numbering etc can be added before committing to print.
The Ricoh 3224C ships with a wide range of network scanning utilities. These include scan to email (including LDAP), scan to folder using SMB, and scan to FTP. Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) integration is included along with server-less scan to folder and SMTP plus POP standard features. LDAP Integration LDAP allows the Ricoh 3224Cs scan to email utility to integrate with central corporate contact databases. Previous Ricoh devices with scan to email were Network Authentication IT managers are always concerned with the possible threat of viruses. Most damaging viruses are often spread through email. Viruses often search for unprotected email servers, from where they can distribute themselves using the organizations entire contact database in matter of seconds. To protect the company and its clients from this type of attack, many IT managers are now protecting any gateway to the central email server via authentication. The basic level of protection is SMTP
Users choose destinations from the stored address book, via manual entry using the QWERTY keypad or via a search through the LDAP central contact database.
restricted to storing email addresses as a pre-defined template, or manually typing the entire email address using the touch screen QWERTY keypad. With LDAP, users can enter the first few letters of an address, and the search engine will show all matching names on the central contact list. Users can still enter names which are not stored on the central database using the QWERTY touch screen interface.
authentication, which sets up a single password for the email server. The second, and more secure level of security is POP before SMTP authentication, where every device around the network requires its own POP authentication code before it is allowed to communicate with the email server. By having both forms of authentication available, the Ricoh Aficio 3224C will be more acceptable to securityconscious IT managers. Page 25
Form scanned in monochrome text mode
Form scanned using color dropout mode
Rival MFPs can offer 2-bit or 8-bit monochrome scanning which reduces the bandwidth associated with color scanning, but the color data is still present in the document just in monochrome format. This means that, at the least, the file size is going to be greater, increasing transmission time and storage space. It can also mean that documents are more difficult to process, especially if the colored area is actually written over. In the illustrations above, a sample health insurance application form was scanned using color dropout and in monochrome modes. The second block of information, which asks the user to write over a red background, is virtually illegible in the monochrome scan, which means that the ICR process cannot be carried out automatically. The scan using Ricohs color dropout technology is easily read and can be fed directly into an ICR engine for further processing. Does Color Dropout Affect Productivity? In theory, color dropout could have an impact in two areas of scanning: the scanning speed and the overall time to get
the color removed before data transmission can begin. BERTL looked into this. We scanned 50 pages of a completed, standard government tax form, running the same job in both monochrome text mode and color dropout mode. In both instances two times were measured: the time to scan the originals into the hardware (the point at which the operator can return to their desk), and the time before the file is now accessible at the desktop. We carried out the test on a clean 100BaseT network using SMB protocol. We were pleasantly surprised to find that there was no slow down in the scanning speed when color dropout was applied. This means that the process will not be adding to the cost burden of the company in terms of human intervention time. We were even more pleasantly surprised to see that the data transmission time dropped 36 percent when we applied color dropout and resulted in a bandwidth reduction of 40 percent. While these figures will obviously change from form to form, depending upon the level of color dropout out, these figures are a guide to
the potential time and bandwidth savings that a company can realize. How is Color Dropout Used? This feature can be found by selecting Dropout Color as part of the text, text/photo, or photo modes within the scanning settings menu. When users choose Dropout Color, they are provided with an additional function offering a specific color dropout choice.
After selecting Dropout Color (above), another window opens, allowing users to choose which color should be removed from the final output (below).
Having selected the color dropout feature, a user can now choose to remove red, blue, or green from the scanned image. This puts the device on a par with most production scanners that generally only offer color dropout using those three colors. In addition, a user can also specify the width of the gamut that would fall within the color dropout. This allows for greater flexibility when handling forms with, for example, bold red text would translate to black readable text, but light red shades, such as background navigation enhancements, would be removed. As an extension to this, we would like to see Ricoh take full advantage of its touch screen and offer users the ability to view the color dropout files prior to data transmission. This would allow users to see whether the gamut range selected was wide enough to remove all the unnecessary color at a glance. We would also like to see Ricoh add an ISIS driver to their device, which would allow the device to be compared in the same leagues as document production scanners within
enterprise scanning workflow environments. Ricoh has yet again raised the bar in the area of MFP scanning, moving beyond the simplistic world of scan to email and scan to desktop, and now entering the realm of being a genuine scanning workflow solution provider.
The fax function has a dedicated 4 MB of memory for page memory, advertised as holding up to 320 pages. Automatic Fax Forwarding to Email or Folder The Ricoh Aficio 3224C is able to automatically route/forward inbound faxes to an email address or folder. This is a valuable feature and allows mobile or home office users to receive faxes whether they are in or away from the office. It can also be used to maintain higher security by preventing confidential fax documents from being viewed by unauthorized persons. Attach Stored Fax Files As with the scan-to-email function, users can attach stored files with a fax original. This could be a valuable time-saving feature. For example, a sales processing clerk has to send a signed confirmation of an order to head office with a copy of the contract. The contract is already stored on the document server when the contract was initially sent to the customer for approval. Using the fax file attachment feature, the sales order clerk now only has to send the cover sheet and signed order page plus attach the contract file stored on the Document Server. This saves the order processing clerk from having to wait until the entire document has been scanned into memory.
A stored fax file can be attached to a paper-based original.
Delayed Transmission Rather than send long distance or international faxes during peak daytime rates, the Ricoh Aficio 3224C includes a delayed transmission capability. This allows the user to choose the time at which the fax is sent. This can offer cost-saving opportunities. The feature can also be used to set up large fax transmissions to send outside normal business hours preventing the creation of fax bottlenecks. Some of the standard features include; 2,000 quick dials, broadcast capability, MH, MR, MMR, and JBIG compression, and 2-seconds-per-page transmission (with JBIG). Internet Fax The Ricoh Aficio 3224 also includes the Internet fax T.37 and T.38 protocols. These allow the device to utilize the lowcost data transmission medium of the Internet rather than the more costly PSTN phone network. T.37 is the more popular Internet fax transmission technology allowing data to be transferred to Internet fax and email addresses in the same way as a traditional email. T.38 is less frequently found on MFPs and fax products but is a valuable differentiator for those corporations that have standardized on T.38 for internal communications.
Users can choose to send faxes at a time that suits them, be it for cost or time efficiency.
LAN Fax The fax function on the Ricoh Aficio3224C can also be utilized by desktop users via its standard LAN fax function. The LAN fax utilities include an address book and cover sheet editor.
T.38, while utilizing the Internet as a lowcost medium, works more like a fax with a handshake between the two T.38 units being required before transmission can take place. This provides a greater degree of certainty that a fax was sent compared to T.37 where the fax goes into Web hyperspace with no guarantee or confirmation that it ever arrived.
In a world where space is ever more important and expensive, the Ricoh Aficio 3224C offers good workgroup productivity and a flexible range of document production capabilities all within a compact, aggressively-priced package. Designed for the office still dominated by monochrome, but with the occasional need for color, the Ricoh Aficio 3224C makes a compelling proposition. Users pay only a modest upgrade to move up from a fullyfeatured, 24 ppm monochrome MFP to a device capable of operating as a fullyfeatured, color MFP as well, although only at 10 ppm. Ricoh has made great inroads into the occasional color market since its last product offerings, the Aficio 1224C and 1232C which both suffered from some shortfall in both image quality and productivity. Those who were put off by these devices would do well to look again. BERTL analysts were impressed by the image quality of the new Aficio 3224C, and experienced none of the irritating recalibration in the middle of jobs that had hampered the productivity of tits predecessors. We were surprised to see that Ricoh had selected to go with the monochrome engine speed offered on the 1224C (24 ppm) rather than the faster 32 ppm offered on the 1232C previous models. In the past, some competitors focused attacks on the color image quality of Ricoh products. Now, they should steer conversations away from this topic when trying to outgun the Ricoh Aficio 3224C. With the exception of grayscale reproduction in full color mode, the image quality was impressive in both copy and print modes. In line with the rest of the Ricoh Aficio 3224C range, the device comes with an enviable selection of network and desktop utilities that, in the right hands, can be a productivity and efficiency benefit.
We would have liked the ability to convert files into PDF format directly from the included DeskTopBinder version included within the bundle, a feature offered with some competitive products, rather than having to buy the DeskTopBinder Pro upgrade. Offices with heavy fax usage will find that they probably have everything they need with the fax upgrade kit and even some features that are not found on expensive high-end, fax-dedicated production devices. These features include the ability to store commonly-used fax documents on the device ready for attaching to fax communications in a matter of seconds with no need for scanning. We would have liked a more comprehensive LAN fax driver for desktop users. We would also like, going forwards, the capability to direct documents stored on the document server directly to fax destinations using the Web Image Monitor or DeskTopBinder utilities. This would be especially useful when multiple documents need to be sent at once to a fax destination. While the LAN fax allows users to send a single electronic format document via fax, it precludes multiple documents from being sent as a single transmission without first combining the various documents together using an application such as Acrobat. Scan functionality is also at a high level. The ability to attach pre-scanned files with hard copy originals may, in the right workflow environment, offer significant time efficiency advantages versus competitors. The advanced security measure will satisfy those looking to safeguard the network and the information held on it. With its color dropout scanning functionality, Ricoh has yet again laid down the gauntlet to other MFR manufacturers and raised the bar in the area of MFP scanning, moving beyond the simplistic world of scan to email and scan to desktop and now entering the realm of being a genuine scanning workflow solution provider. All in all, the Ricoh Aficio 3224C will be a tough device to beat in the right situation and is well deserving of its Highly Recommended status.
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