by Mike McNamee Published 01/02/2012
Experienced galleries will tell you that cards using local scenes are the best sellers in their sector of the market.
The high quality was a little grittier than best quality; only a user can gauge whether they would accept the drop in quality, it would be less noticeable on a matt paper, for example. The media setting change did also produce a slight colour shift when compared to the Best Quality one used for profile building.
The Epson B500 was equally at home with pre-folded 256gsm blanks or with a stack of 315gsm mould made, fine art paper. This is despite the specification limit of 190gsm for double-sided printing
Epson B500 and B510 (and B310)
We did not actually test the B510 but its predecessor, the B500. Both use the Durabrite ink set and so it is a reasonable assumption that the gamut and colour performance will be similar to the WP 4525.
Both of these machines have a very workmanlike appearance with rather a chunky, angular casing. Any lack of looks is made up by their performance; they are blisteringly quick, transport paper and heavy card blanks with ease and handled 20 sheets of 315gsm art paper or a full load of 250gsm card blanks without any transport glitches. They will go up to 44 inches for banner-making. We have seen them as low as £325 (RRP is £567.85). The B510 is a duplex printer (ie double-sided printing).
There is a B310 of similar specification but with half the claimed working capacity (10,000 pages per month versus 20,000 for the B510) and duplex as an option; this costs £306 RRP.
The settings used for the B500 were as follows:
We tested a 228mm x 144mm blank in Best Photo at 22 seconds, a half-A4 (ie half printed to nominally A5 area) took 28 seconds. Inside text, printed on 'Fine' took two seconds. On normal, and draft, single sheets came out too fast to be measured!
Pertinent to this feature is a note from Hahnermuhle to say that they are introducing a new duo paper at Focus, we have few details you need to get along to their stand! It is aimed at book-making primarily but might be OK at cards.
Our deliberations and discussions have confirmed that there is a market for creating cards for sale, that the Epson B510 represents the best work-horse for the job and that, with a bit of market development and critical cost control, it is entirely feasible to produce and sell between 2,500 and 4,000 cards per annum, even breaking into the high-volume department stores, with the right products. The performance of the Durabrite ink set was a very pleasant surprise in the WP 4245 although we have concerns about automatic paper transport. You certainly get lots of bangs per buck if you need an office printer, scanner, copier and fax with laser-like performance and costs.
The use of pre-prepared blanks and your existing inkjet printer would enable you to test out your market and ease your way into the card market at minumum expense. The stocks we tried on the B500 were outside the specification for paper thickness but transported without any issues.
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