The TASKalfa Pro 15000c provides Kyocera dealers with a true production print device.
KYOCERA Document Solutions America elected to use their annual channel partners meeting to preview their first high-speed, cut-sheet inkjet production printer, the TASKalfa Pro 15000c.
The meeting’s Tech Fair was configured like a baseball diamond, and situated at second base within an enclosed exhibit, ready to be driven in by a single, was the new TASKalfa Pro 15000c. There was no question the dealers were very much interested in seeing what this new product had to offer and lined up outside the exhibit area waiting for their opportunity to see the demo. Frankly, we have not seen this much enthusiasm for a new product at a dealer meeting in quite some time. It is easy to understand why Kyocera’s dealers were so interested in seeing what the company has to offer, especially since their primary MFP supplier has been focused on A4 while slowly developing their A3 lineup. As a result, Kyocera dealers interested in moving into the production space have had to take on other lines to address the production print segment of the market.
On the second day of the meeting, we invited five dealers to join us for a private lunch to learn more about their most pressing concerns in the current business environment. This is part of our preparation for our trip to Japan on May 19-29. The dealers who joined us represented Konica Minolta, Sharp, Xerox, and Ricoh as well as Kyocera. It was clear those other lines were used to fill in the lack of production product provided by Kyocera. Each of the dealers who joined us believe Kyocera does an excellent job in the A4 and lower segments of the A3 space.
In our 2014 visit with Kyocera Japan we asked if they intended to enter the production space. They responded affirmatively. When asked which technology would be employed, the response was inkjet. This announcement is represents the culmination of their efforts since then.
The TASKalfa Pro 15000c is Kyocera’s inaugural product entry into the high-speed cut sheet inkjet market. With print speeds at 150 pages per minute in A4 (146 pages per minute Letter), regardless of media type, this full-color production inkjet printing system potentially offers a lower cost option for Kyocera dealers to enter the Print Service Providers (PSP) space.
No pricing was provided, and we can only assume that Kyocera fully understands that they are late to the party, and if their first effort is not priced highly competitively it will enjoy limited success. However, we are convinced the pricing, once announced, will indeed be aggressive, particularly in the Japanese domestic market and North America.
According to the press release issued for the product, the TASKalfa Pro 15000c will offer impressive media support and professional paper handling options to handle everything from high-volume variable data printing requirements to shorter runs of custom output. It is scheduled to launch globally in early 2019. Detailed product specifications, and pricing will be made available when the product is released. We should learn more next month when we visit Kyocera during our Japan trip and will update you in a subsequent issue.
Our first impressions of the product are mixed. It is difficult to fully discuss a product without knowing how it will be priced and positioned. That said, it employs the use of relays which are designed to have finishing conform with engine speed. One of the issues we see is that the relay units are about 24 inches and add approximately $2,000 to the cost of the machine. In showing the various configurations (during the press presentation) the device can take as much as 14.5 feet and up to 26 feet. That footprint appears much too large for major markets.
Kyocera dealers who have product lines from Canon, Konica Minolta, and/or Ricoh will tell you that can be an issue. When they are replacing production print devices they want to ensure the footprint is as close as possible to that of the machine they are replacing.
It is not our intention to disparage this offering, particularly with so little marketing information available. However, we believe our dealer readers need to consider this when they explore the opportunities these types of products represent.
If a Kyocera dealer is not currently participating in the production space, we suggest they give this product every consideration. We further urge those dealers to prepare for this product by visiting print service providers in their markets to better determine what they will be competing against.
The next step is to attend Graph Expo in Chicago Sept. 30 through Oct. 3, 2018. We will have four people covering that event because it is that important. Do not hesitate to contact me, Scott or CJ with any questions you may have about Graph Expo.
Lastly, should you decide to take on this new product we highly recommend the EFI Fiery front-end option, particularly if it will be placed in a graphics environment. There is a lower cost option with a Kyocera front end, which could be well suited for the education and legal market segments.
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