What Is The Printer Duty Cycle & What Does It Mean To You?

The maximum capacity of your plotter is dictated by the printer duty cycle which shows you how much you can exert the machine and still use it under “normal” circumstances. Read on to find out more.

As with any piece of hardware, there’s a limit to the endurance of a large format printer; one can only push it so far before it runs into maintenance trouble. This is dictated primarily by the printer duty cycle. Come again? – What is a printer duty cycle, to begin with? When the laser printer (or any other kind of printer) is manufactured, the creators subject it to its limits to see how much it can endure within the normal range in a month, i.e., tolerance to high/low temperatures, number of pages printed, printing speed, continuous printing limits, and so on. The printer duty cycle is a measure of the plotter’s capacity under normal circumstances and its ability to offer adequate results throughout.

A colored plotter engaged in a printer duty cycle

How Is the Printer Duty Cycle Calculated?

If you were wondering how printer duty cycle vs monthly volume compares by definition in terms of print limit, there isn't much difference here. Both figures point to the recommended volume of pages that a machine can deal with within a given month without malfunctioning, i.e., under normal circumstances. So, in essence, the answer to “what is the duty cycle in a printer," is pretty much the same as the monthly volume limit. But it is a bit more complicated than that because other factors are also brought into account here such as the stress of continuous printing, image quality, printing speed, and room temperature.

So, while in theory the printer can produce as many prints as stated by the company, remember that this is the limit of its endurance under normal circumstances. You’d want to keep your performance demands slightly less than that.

How Can You Calculate What Monthly Print Volume You Need?

Now, onto the more practical part: say a plotter comes with a printer monthly duty cycle of 30,000 prints. How do you know that this number is okay for you? How to calculate duty cycle expectations to see the max/average demand from your end for an all-in-one printer over a month? The best approach would be to average the number of prints per month you've had over the past year or several months, at least. You don't have to count the number of pages used (if you don't have the data already), just see how many reams/rolls you consumed per month.

This will give you a general idea of what limit you need to set for your printer specs when looking for a new model. How to find duty cycle on a new printer? Well, luckily, you don’t have to – manufacturers mention the cycle/volume by default.

Why Is a Printer Duty Cycle Figure Provided by Manufacturers?

So, why do manufacturers provide a recommended monthly print volume for laserjet and multifunction printers (and others too)? The printer duty cycle definition corresponds to the printing limit or maximum/best endurance of the device. Why do manufacturers mention this? While it may not matter to most people who might be looking for a printer, it is important for others who have to use the device under specific conditions and thus need to know whether or not it is capable of performing optimally, i.e., as per the printer duty cycle.

If you have use a printer at home, then you may not need your printer that frequently. Some of you may use it once a week or twice a month. Then your old buddy might be working just fine as it does not have to endure as much workload as its fellows serving in organizations, and so it may be as good as new. However, in an office setting, the printer will be pushed to its limits with multiple people relying on a single device for regular work. Here, the printer duty cycle becomes relevant.

Cartridges loaded after a printer monthly duty cycle

Seek Specialist Advice - Get in Touch Today

How can you know if the device you’re getting can take on the burden of your workspace? In most cases, people have no idea about the printer duty cycle and may end up buying an inadequate product for their needs. Metro Repro professionals offer sincere and helpful advice to help clients make the best decision.

We will help you pick a product that delivers exceptional results both in terms of cost-effectiveness and quantity/quality of output. On top of this, rest assured that you’ll get only the most premium grade products for your office or personal space; we make it a point to work with only high-quality and high-endurance printers.

Get in touch today, and let’s see what we can do for you.

Author: Metro Repro