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Printer Hardware

New IBM Ultra Fast Printer 277

avxo writes "CNN/Money is reporting on a new IBM printer, that can print Tolstoy's "War and Peace" in less than a minute, by delegating pagination to a separate unit." Fully loaded it runs a million bucks. Plus the 330 pages it can print in a single minute is probably triple the pages I printed so far in 2005. I'm probably not the target audience *grin*
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New IBM Ultra Fast Printer

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 11, 2005 @10:40AM (#13531388)
    But can YOU change ink that fast?
  • by Prophetic_Truth ( 822032 ) on Sunday September 11, 2005 @10:41AM (#13531391)
    can print Tolstoy's "War and Peace" in less than a minute........Plus the 330 pages it can print in a single minute is probably triple the pages I printed so far in 2005.

    War and Peace was only 330 pages?
    • 330 A4 pages with small print maybe. Letter-sized for you American types.
    • With small font, and on 7.5x11 paper, quite possibly. I can't say that I'm sure. It also depends on whether that 330 ppm speed means duplex pages or not.
    • Since nobody reads literature anymore, would anyone really notice those 1000 missing pages?
    • Re:head spinning (Score:5, Informative)

      by cms108 ( 96258 ) on Sunday September 11, 2005 @10:58AM (#13531521)
      yep... 330 pages per minute would be a bit crap if you'd paid a million quid for a printer.

      but from the article... "Print at up to 330 linear feet (100.6 m) per minute (1,440 2-up duplex letter impressions or 1,354 2-up A4 duplex impressions)"

      so it actually prints at 330 feet per minute... which works out at about 1440 pages per minute. which is a bit better.

    • War and Peace was only 330 pages?

      More like, "isn't it cheaper to just buy the book?".

      Of course, that said, there are niches that this printer fills that some other posters elaborate on. I don't think IBM would develop this printer without having some idea what the market for it is, personally, I recently spent $80 for a used duplexing laser printer and couldn't be happier, even if it is HP.

      Now, if this IBM unit could trim & arrange pages, bind paperback books, then I think this would be extraordinarily
  • by MrP- ( 45616 ) <> on Sunday September 11, 2005 @10:41AM (#13531393)
    1 million for a printer, is the ink 1 billion?
    • ...the 330 pages it can print in a single minute...

      Called the Termite 2000, it can conveniently be backed-up against any nearby forest...

    • If you had RTFA, you'd have noticed that it's a laser printer - so if anything, it eats toner, not ink (and probably also other stuff, like imaging drums, transfer belts and so on).
    • by Hollinger ( 16202 ) <> on Sunday September 11, 2005 @12:53PM (#13532191) Homepage Journal
      Hey, remember this is IBM, not HP or Lexmark. :-)

      As I posted earlier, its a 1440 ppm printer:
      Print at up to 330 linear feet (100.6 m) per minute (1,440 2-up duplex letter impressions or 1,354 2-up A4 duplex impressions). - IBM []

      That works out to be about 4.364 pages per foot. With that in mind, the cheapest box of toner costs $437.48, according to the supplies page []. That carton contains 4 cassettes, each of which is capable of 100,000 feet.
      4 x 100,000 x 4.364 = 1,745,600 pages @ $437.48 in toner, or $0.00025 per page. :-)

      Of course, that fails to include other consumables, all of which I imagine are important, but I'm replying to a joke poster so I'm sure you all get my point and simply don't care. ;-)

      ~ Mike
  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Sunday September 11, 2005 @10:43AM (#13531408) Homepage Journal
    Weren't we all promised that at the dawn of computing?
  • So much for paperless office.

    And great news for rainforests, too.
    • Re:Paperless office (Score:5, Informative)

      by LennyDotCom ( 26658 ) <> on Sunday September 11, 2005 @10:48AM (#13531452) Homepage Journal
      And great news for rainforests, too.

      They don't use rainforrests for making paper. The biggest problem the rainforrests face is burning to make farms and grazing land.
      • Re:Paperless office (Score:5, Informative)

        by Moloch666 ( 574889 ) < minus threevowels> on Sunday September 11, 2005 @11:18AM (#13531611) Journal
        To add to that. They actually grow tree farms for the purpose of making paper. Because of paper we have more trees.
        • In fact, if you don't burn the paper it takes carbon out of the atmosphere.

          If only the commonly used paper making process was as environmentally friendly...
        • Re:Paperless office (Score:4, Interesting)

          by TheWickedKingJeremy ( 578077 ) on Sunday September 11, 2005 @03:15PM (#13532966) Homepage
          Despite the fact that some (not all) of trees used for paper-making comes from tree farms, there are still problems with the paper industry as a whole. Here are a few paragraphs from an, IMO, interesting article:

          Paper Made from Timber

          Think bundling your newspapers is "messy"? Not when compared with the process of making paper from virgin timber. While modern paper recycling mills can be designed to operate without producing any hazardous air or water pollution and virtually no hazardous wastes,[16] the virgin pulp and paper industry is one of the world's largest generators of toxic air pollutants, surface water pollution, sludge, and solid wastes. A recent assessment of the virgin timber-based papermaking industry concluded that reducing hazardous discharges at paper mills worldwide to safe levels would cost $27 billion.[17] Indeed, the timber industry has in all likelihood wiped out more habitat and more species per unit of production than has any other industry. Most Americans associate virgin paper mills with both the destruction of resident-species habitat and the contamination of streams and rivers with chlorinated dioxins and other pollutants. But the fact is these mills are also major sources of a wide variety of hazardous air and water pollutants, odors, solid waste, contaminated sludge, and water discoloring agents. Besides their well known, often unbearable emissions of sulfur compounds (causing an odor resembling rotten eggs), pulp and paper mills are classified under U.S. federal law as generators of "significant quantities of Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) chlorinated and non-chlorinated. Some of these pollutants are considered to be carcinogenic, and all can cause toxic health effects following exposure. Most of the organic HAPs emitted from this industry also are classified as volatile organic compounds which participate in photochemical reactions in the atmosphere to produce ozone, a contributor to photochemical smog."[18]

          Moreover, the virgin "pulp and paper industry is the largest industrial process water user in the United States. Approximately 1,551 billion gallons of wastewater are generated annually by pulp, paper, and paperboard manufacturers."[19] Water pollutants contained in these billions of gallons discharged into streams, rivers, and lakes by virgin paper manufacturers include a wide range of hazardous and conventional pollutants as well as volatile organic compounds, including chlorinated dioxins and furans, chloroform, absorbable organic halides [AOX], methylene chloride, trichlorophenols, and pentachlorophenols.[20]

          Processing rigid stands of timber into flexible, printable, smooth, glossy (or absorbent) paper requires an intensive chemical and mechanical effort after a tree is harvested. Once roads have been cut into the forest to get to the timber, it is transported to the mill, stockpiled, debarked, chipped, "cooked" in vats of chemicals, and turned into pulp and bleached mechanically and chemically. Then the pulp must be turned into paper or dried and shipped off to another mill. While paper can be recycled even at very large mills using fewer than a dozen nonhazardous chemicals and bleaching solutions that contain, for example, 99.5 percent water and 0.5 percent hydrogen peroxide (a concentration more diluted than the peroxide in your medicine cabinet),[21] most virgin pulp and paper is made using literally hundreds of highly corrosive and hazardous chemicals, including chlorine. As the EPA has documented, this presents enormous problems in reducing pollution from virgin paper mills because "elimination of dioxin, furan, chlorinated phenolics, and other chlorinated organics [can]...not be achieved unless all forms of chlorine-based bleaching are eliminated."[22] This is not expected to happen in the United States for quite some time. In addition, not all of the toxic pollutants discharged in the wastewater produced by virgin pulp and paper mills are currently regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, including certain congeners of dioxin and furans and a range of chlorinated phenols.

          Here is the source article [].
  • oh goody (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rootofevil ( 188401 ) on Sunday September 11, 2005 @10:45AM (#13531422) Homepage Journal
    From TFA:

      Cooper said IBM sees growth opportunities in large-capacity printing as marketers increasingly use direct mail to target customers. "Mail remains a very good way to market your business," he said, because consumers are overwhelmed by unsolicited e-mails, or spam, and don't like getting called by telemarketers.

    Tis a shame that IBM is going to be marketing this printer for evil. I get enough junk mail, and the forests of our planet dont need anothe reason to be cut down.
    • I get enough junk mail, and the forests of our planet dont need another reason to be cut down.
      This is why I'm always careful to recycle the solicitations I get from the Sierra Club and the National Resource Defense Council. The Sierra Club is especially persistent.
    • Re:oh goody (Score:5, Funny)

      by Psiren ( 6145 ) on Sunday September 11, 2005 @11:07AM (#13531561)
      I get enough junk mail, and the forests of our planet dont need anothe reason to be cut down.

      You're right of course. Maybe if they could find some other way to send out this marketing material. Some means of sending it electronically perhaps...
      • fantastic idea! I'm sure it would catch on if we could come up with some cutesy way of designating it as being of an electronic nature as opposed to a hardcopy counterpart...
    • Re:oh goody (Score:5, Informative)

      by AnomaliesAndrew ( 908394 ) on Sunday September 11, 2005 @11:08AM (#13531568) Homepage
      I work at a junkmail factory (as an in-house enterprise solution developer). We produce, personalize, and mail between 6 and 9 million pieces of mail every day of the year. We're already using "outdated" multi-color inkjet technology that prints over 1000ft per minute at over 3ft wide and it works great. We have like 6 of these machines and they cost only like $100,000 each.

      I didn't RTFA, but this seems almost as silly as Goodyear anncouncing they've developed a new "fossil fuel internal combustion powerwed 4-wheeled personnel carrier" for $90,000 when there's already been cars on the market for years at ~$15,000.

      Nothing to see here. I'm serious.
      • Re:oh goody (Score:4, Funny)

        by bombadier_beetle ( 871107 ) on Sunday September 11, 2005 @12:23PM (#13532001)
        I work at a junkmail factory

        Die. I didn't RTFA, but

        Die, die, DIE!
        • :-D

          Hey, I actually get about 4 of our "product" every week myself. I throw them all away immediately, unless there's damage to it (like the flap didn't stay closed) -- then I take them into our QC dept. I hate junk mail just as much as the next guy. I can't even get my name off the lists. I'd say at the very least, 10% of your mainstream magazine subscription solicitations, credit card applications, and additional financial services (like unemployment protection or credit rating protection w/e) come fro
        • I know you're joking, but I don't mind paper junkmail as long as the company sending it isn't also telemarketing or spamming.

          At least junkmailers have a real cost per junkmail sent to me that they have to pay upfront.

    • If you're going to worry about the loss of trees. Make sure you buy paper from companies that renew their forest stock. []

      Sorry for the less than official link, but I was in a hurry: _recycling.html []

    • I get enough junk mail, and the forests of our planet dont need anothe reason to be cut down.

      I have a recycling bag next to my front door. All junk mail goes straight into it. It takes 2-4 weeks to completely fill. None of this material is ever read, and yet someone is persistently using resources to create and distribute it.

    • Re:oh goody (Score:4, Funny)

      by Bastian ( 66383 ) on Sunday September 11, 2005 @11:24AM (#13531646)
      Well, you can always use your unsolicited mail from some companies to harass other companies by stuffing it into the pre-paid envelopes they like to send you.
  • FYI (Score:4, Interesting)

    by IamGarageGuy 2 ( 687655 ) on Sunday September 11, 2005 @10:46AM (#13531433) Journal
    This is IBM's foray into the market that is dominated by the Xerox Docutech's. The Printing industry is moving toward Print on Demand. The concept is instead of a run of ten thousand books, it will print a single book as opposed to setting up a traditional printing press with minimum run lengths.
    • Re:FYI (Score:5, Informative)

      by perky ( 106880 ) on Sunday September 11, 2005 @10:50AM (#13531460)

      IBM last year was the market leader with a 49.6 percent share, followed by Oce (Research), based in the Netherlands., with 43.8 percent, according to InfoTrends.
    • This is IBM's foray into the market that is dominated by the Xerox Docutech's. The Printing industry is moving toward Print on Demand.

      A previous model, the IBM Infoprint 4000 [] has been used by a POD company, Lightning Source [] to print their books for a few years now. Still costs more than offset for a big run, and the quality is 600 dpi, fine for text but less so for halftones, but for short runs of plain text books it's great.

  • Reminds me of the laser we had on our system years ago. It would print as fast as the operator could feed it boxes of paper.

    Impressive device.. huge.. loud...tempermental..
  • War and Peace (Score:2, Informative)

    by roman_mir ( 125474 )
    War and Peace [] is 365 chapters and 1500 pages long.

    On this 330 p/m printer will take about 5 minutes to print.

    • How many trees per minute is that? ;) At the rate this beast can print IBM might should get into the paper business too! This thing could eat a forest in a few days. Seriously who needs something this fast? Junk mailers? Visa/Amex/Mastercard to print gazillions of paper statements? As much as everyone "intends" to go paperless is this the pinnacle of printing and everything else is downhill as printed material keeps decreasing?
    • Re:War and Peace (Score:2, Informative)

      by ZakuSage ( 874456 )
      You're not taking the page size into account. Surely they used 8" x 11" rather then small novel sized pages.
    • Re:War and Peace (Score:5, Informative)

      by stevesliva ( 648202 ) on Sunday September 11, 2005 @11:14AM (#13531591) Journal
      According to IBM that's feet, not pages, and it prints duplex: "Print at up to 330 linear feet (100.6 m) per minute (1,440 2-up duplex letter impressions or 1,354 2-up A4 duplex impressions)."
      • (1,440 2-up duplex letter impressions or 1,354 2-up A4 duplex impressions)

        Ah, these numbers are indeed far more reasonable. IBM sold printers in the 270 pages/minute range back in 1995 or so.
      • Even at 1440, that's not too good. I got a 14 ppm laser for ~200 bucks. So there's probably a reasonably simple way to make a machine that has 100 paralell laser printing components, each at ~$100, giving us 1440ppm printer at 1/10th the cost.
    • War and Peace is 365 chapters and 1500 pages long. On this 330 p/m printer will take about 5 minutes to print.

      1) number of pages depends on both the size of the pages and the font. You can print about 4 times as many words on the same page in 6 point type than 12, for instance.

      2) regardless, the summary was misleading as usual. According to the specs of the 4100 [] it can print "at up to 330 linear feet (100.6 m) per minute (440 2-up duplex letter impressions)... Deliver true 3-up pages with an extra

  • by DarkVader ( 121278 ) on Sunday September 11, 2005 @10:56AM (#13531509)
    wouldn't it be more cost-effective to use a bank of 10 33ppm printers?

    You get your output just as fast, initial cost is lower, maintenance cost is likely to be lower, and if you get a failure on one unit, you're only down 10% of your printing capacity, instead of 100% of your printing capacity.
  • by CyricZ ( 887944 ) on Sunday September 11, 2005 @10:58AM (#13531517)
    Printers these fast are often quite dangerous. A mistake can often be very costly and disruptive.

    For instance, we had a new coder working on one of our projects. We had an array of fast laserjet printers, but even then they were nowhere near this fast. In any case, our new coder somehow managed to dump our entire codebase out to the printers. So out go 15 million lines of COBOL and C to our array of printers.

    The coder doesn't realize what is happening at first. We estimated that about 200000 sheets of paper were printed before he got a call from the printing room asking him if there was a problem. After realizing that there was, and being unable to cancel the print job, he was at a loss. They couldn't just pull the plug on the printer array, as it'd take a day just to get the system back online. Eventually somebody was able to stop it, but it wasn't until after nearly 600000 sheets of paper had been wasted.

    Indeed, printers these fast can be extremely useful, but when massive amounts of data are accidentally printed on them, the paper (and thus financial) losses can be extreme.

  • by jmichaelg ( 148257 ) on Sunday September 11, 2005 @11:01AM (#13531535) Journal
    Back in the mid 60's my brother-in-law was in Naval Intelligence and got a plum posting at Pearl Harbor. They had an IBM line printer that churned out paper by printing entire lines at a time. The printer had a row of 132 wheels and each wheel had each character the printer could strike. To print an "A" in column 5, the 5th wheel would spin until an "A" was opposite the paper. When all 132 wheels were ready, the whole row of wheels would strike the paper. As you might imagine, it made quite a racket.

    Some naval geeks realized you could get it to play tunes by adjusting what it print to hit various notes and slewing various amounts of paper for tempo. Intelligence people tend to be musically inclined and these geeks were no exception. Lord knows how many hours they invested in tuning their instrument but word came down that an admiral was going to tour the computer room. When he walked in, they started up their synth and the printer started belting out Anchors Away. The admiral was suitably impressed. My brother-in-law was relieved the admiral didn't inspect the back of the printer where the output stack was because the paper didn't fold properly and as a result, paper was strewn all over.

    • by stevelinton ( 4044 ) <> on Sunday September 11, 2005 @12:26PM (#13532017) Homepage
      I suspect you're describing a standard line printer. We had one of these at my secondary school. It's not quite as you put it. There is a solid drum, with 132 copies of every character. On the other side of the paper is an array of 132 flat hammers. Somewhere there is a ribbon as wide as the paper with ink on it. Now to print an A in column 5 you wait until the A's (132 of them) are next to the paper and the fire the hammer in column five (and any other column that needs an A). A moment later you fire all the hammers for Bs and so on. Once every drum rotation you move the paper on. It was very noisy and also very prone to catch fire.
      • Sounds like your school had a different line printer. The highest speed line printers laid an entire line per strike, others laid a subset of the line at a time. Burroughs, may they rest in peace, had a line printer that had the character set strung together on a chain. The chain would run in a horizontal loop that was a printer page wide and as the desired letter moved in front of the specified column, a solenoid would fire. WHen the entire line was imaged, the printer would step forward for the next line
  • I remember in the early 90's Virginia Tech used to have some sort of IBM printer (pre lexmark) that could print staggering amounts paper. I remember them talking about skids of paper/min or hour. it looked more like a newspaper press with a big ole stream of paper and a bunch of scary knives at the end to do the paginagation. I remember the damn thing ate paper so fast that it had its own loading dock where the skids of paper were pushed off the back of the truck waiting to be consumed by the beast.
  • by Sundroid ( 777083 ) on Sunday September 11, 2005 @11:08AM (#13531569) Homepage
    This CNN article also says that the new IBM printer will lighten your wallet by $1 million dollars, although you can buy a "cheap starter" model for $500,000.

    There is a report at Silicon Beat ( jets_pretty_big_how_big_is_yours.html []) that says the Google founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, are buying a Boeing 767 jet for their personal transportation. Perhaps they can install this printer on board to print their own Google Library books.
  • by cms108 ( 96258 )
    From the IBM website.

    "Print at up to 330 linear feet (100.6 m) per minute (1,440 2-up duplex letter impressions or 1,354 2-up A4 duplex impressions)"

    So doesn't that work out at 2,880 pages per minute?

  • With the help of computer technology we can now produce more paper documents faster! Talk of prophecies missing the mark. :-)
  • to print one million dollars?

    the summary doesn't say...
  • You can get 22 ppm for about $600, at least that's what I saw on the first link from Froogle []. So, if you want to print 1400 ppm you need roughly 64 of those. For $38,400 + the cost of some network hardware and software to manage it, and a little time you can get comparable page rates at laser quality. Let's say the added parts and labor of setting it up brings the total to $100,000. That's still a lot less than a million.

    Really though, if I needed to print that much, I'd send stuff off to someone with

    • Really though, if I needed to print that much, I'd send stuff off to someone with an offset press and have them run the job.

      So. What's the market for this thing?

      Someone who's getting rid of their offset press because the setup cost and labour for a print run is too much?
    • For $38,400 + the cost of some network hardware and software to manage it, and a little time you can get comparable page rates at laser quality.

      The problem with the 64 laser printers is not managing them. It is managing the paper. You'll need a full time person just to load blanks and unload printed pages.

      Really though, if I needed to print that much, I'd send stuff off to someone with an offset press and have them run the job.

      If you needed that many identical copies, yes. I think this is for when you have
      • If the thing can actually output completed bills, then I see how it could be worth it. I didn't notice if there was an option to have a postage meter attached. That would really be slick. Or better yet, it could just dispatch thugs with sticks to beat people senseless who still insist on receiving paper bills.

    • The market for the thing is the people who used to do custom jobs on an offset press, of course.

      It's called "vanity publishing", because it is typified by "vanity" books -- some old grandma writes up her family history and puts in photos of old ancestors and grandkids, and pays for 100 copies to be given out at the family reunion. At least that's the typical job. In reality, there is probably more work from printing out corporate reports, manuals to short runs of software, sci-fi authors who are too nut

    • Really though, if I needed to print that much, I'd send stuff off to someone with an offset press and have them run the job. So. What's the market for this thing?

      Not for printing multiple copies of the same document; it can print a stream of differetn documents at this rate. A print-on-demand compnay uses these to print books, one or two of each title at a time. Otherwise, business documents, like invoices, tax statements, etc, etc. Currently they can easily replace short run document printing.

  • by mykepredko ( 40154 ) on Sunday September 11, 2005 @11:40AM (#13531763) Homepage
    It sounds like there aren't a lot of /.ers that have worked in big iron shops. The replies to this article seems to have more inaccuracies than most.

    The 4100 seems to be part of the evolution for "big iron" laser printers starting with the 3800 []. These printers started out being centralized printers to reduce cost per page for large organizations AND for billing organizations.

    After the 1980s, I don't think a lot were sold to IT ("IS" at the time) organizations because having a single printer and distributing its output to different locations throughout a building is slow, expensive and time consuming - all the things using them was supposed to eliminate.

    Where the printers really made their niche was generating bills for various organizations. The advantage of a laser printer over traditional printers was that traditional printers used pre-printed forms which were more expensive and had to be precisely lined up for the billing information to show up in the appropriate locations. The advantage of a laser printer in this application is that it can print all the background information, logos, terms and conditions, etc. just as quickly as a traditional printer just put in the differing information but at a much lower cost.

    The 3800 and subsequent printers were/are the industry standard for these applications - very little of their output actually comes into the office except in the form of invoices from other companies.

    When IBM spun off its printer division (known as "LexMark"), they did not sell of the big iron printers. They make a ton of money for IBM and also drive other purchases for IBM hardware.

    It's probably more difficult now to see these monsters in action, but if you get the chance you should take a look - they are amazing. The old 3800s could print an entire 10" high box of 8.5 by 11 fanfold paper in just a few minutes and while cutting the paper appropriately. The "high end" models mentioned probably have letter stuffing hardware so the final output is a nice neat stack of bills all ready for shipment to the post office.

    • The Univ. of Washington used several printers like this as well. One was in the Academic Computing Center. Why? Well, many researchers like having hardcopy of their datasets. So, you schedule your job, supply a budget number to charge it, and run it. In the time it would take you to walk down there from the Physics or Oceanography buildings, your 2-ream print job is probably sitting in the cubbyhole for you to get.

      The main one used there was a Xerox printer, and it was also the preferred printer for printin
  • It would be pretty cool to be able to go into your local bookstore - which would keep just one copy of every book - and therefore be much smaller - and have your book printed on the spot.

    When you find the book you want, they'd print and bind it on the spot - with a handful of these machines at every store, they could have you outta there in a couple of you time to visit the in-store coffee shop.

    Books that are rarely purchased would still be available - they'd never 'go out of print' - altho
    • Yeah. There's been talk about this for years, but somehow it hasn't happened.

      Nowadays with all that tech, preprinting books seems kind of stupid and wasteful. You should be able to get any book - almost everything is in stock - I'm sure you can fit a pretty sizeable colletion of books (covers photos etc ) within a few modern hard drives.
  • IBM has a history of providing high performance printing systems. For instance, the IBM 3800 printer [], introduced in 1975, could already print 20,000 lines per minute.
  • by neildiamond ( 610251 ) on Sunday September 11, 2005 @12:15PM (#13531956)
    Oooh they lure you in with a cheap printer and THEN nail you with the ink/toner costs.

    Oh yeah IBM... I'm gonna buy your $500,000 printer and then go to a 3rd party toner provider!
    That'll show you!
  • This will be perfect once you download from Kazaa.
  • lol omg (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Goaway ( 82658 )
    "*grin*"? What is this, an AOL chatroom?
  • by v1 ( 525388 )
    you could use that baby for assasination by paper cut.

I am more bored than you could ever possibly be. Go back to work.