Oct (10-03) - Shuttle Matrix

October 10, 2003 Editorial

If you run an S/390 shop, check out the white paper: Moving From Coax (3270) or Twinax (5250) SNA to TCP/IP Ethernet for Host Connectivity: A Strategic Guide to Implementation

For all those users of character or dot-band printers (IBM: 5262, 6252, 6262,4234, 4245, 4248), here is some interesting and sobering news: The firm that manufactures the print bands for almost everyone in the world is getting out of the business. If you have a band printer and want to to keep it for a while, I suggest that you order them soon. I think you'll see some things happen in the market over the next few months as a result:

1) A rush to replace the printers with the newer shuttle matrix printers (Printronix based IBM 6400 family, Genicom 5100, family, Tally T6xxx family). For an overview see: https://www.argecy.com/Printers_by_function.html

But be careful what you wish for:

  • They will cost up to each at retail.
  • They will be cheaper to maintain.
  • They are less durable than what they replaced
  • They do not offer a channel attachment option
  • They have a significantly shorter life
  • They are not as fast.
2) A devil-may-care attitude until the market realizes the dearth of print bands.
  • Prices will rise as used printbands become popular.
3) Moves toward laser printers, both cut-sheet and continuous forms devices.
  • Long reports will become very cumbersome to deal with
  • Printing costs will skyrocket as compared to impact
IBM recently announced some faster versions of their Printronix-based shuttle matrix printer. (https://www.argecy.com/IBM_announce_9-3-03.html) They boast a top speed of 2400LPM under the right conditions and have some limitations on feature support. I haven't seen a lot of demand as yet, but the printband issue seems well-timed.

The merger between former rivals Tally and Genicom has yet to bear fruit. My contacts say that they expect to continue to market both product lines, but to eventually merge them into best-of-breed products. As the field of competitors has narrowed with this merger, their combined products are worth a serious look. Instead of both companies struggling to keep up with the Printronix-based engines, their combined strengths gain new credibility and potential success.

It may sound self-serving and myopic, but availability of used gear may be outpaced by demand as the economy start to warm up. No one want to hear about shortages or shipping delays or rising prices, but don't be too surprised if we all feel the pinch. After all, the glut of equipment available over the past several years has been partly responsible for the falling prices and rising productivity that economists love to mention. I don't hope for this, because until the all "cheap" gear gets absorbed out of the market, prices cannot rise. Therefore, as costs rise, the dealer gets squeezed. I like falling prices better... more predictable even as inventory values deteriorate.

From last month:
We just got in a nice load of the Lexmark Multifunction laser printers. They are really quite impressive but unworthy of the staggering list prices attached to them by both Lexmark and IBM. The HP versions are even more overpriced. Ours, of course, are very inexpensive. Long-live the secondary market!!

Sweet spots:
IBM 3151, 3472, 3482, 3486, 3487, 3488 terminals - and please check out the CLI et1500, et2000, et3000, and et5000 lines or the I/O TC4000.
IBM 3900-0W1 Venerable printer can be upgraded to the 4000 series.
IBM 4224-101, 201 - you can add internal ethernet to these and they last forever.
IBM 4230-201,1s2, 202 - (check out the internal ethernet for the 4230 family)
IBM 4317-001 yes, we have Ethernets
IBM 4320-001's. -- some left from that big package (yes, we have Ethernets)
IBM 6262- all models

IBM 4516 (1116) -- 16ppm sweet!
Lexmark Optra T610n, T612, T614, T616, T620 - We have some GREAT machines
Lexmark Optra 1855s over 90 pieces sitting (most with ethernet)
Lexmark Optra 1255s 25 pieces sitting (most with ethernet)
Lexmark Optra E -- 6ppm desktop lasers are a steal at !
Lexmark Optra 310 -- 8ppm desktop lasers. Cute!
Lexmark internal and external ethernet print servers-- at least 150 of each.
Printek 4503 Great metal printer with multi-tractors for multiple forms
Tally T6050 500LPM with internal ethernet... A home run.

Some still in stock:
2) Genicom 3470 New in box = less than the IBM gets for theirs. Only 3 left!!
5) 4247-001 NEW in box with coax and parallel.
2) IBM 4332-004 InfoPrint 40
10BaseT Ethernets for IBM NP series

IBM 3153-BGx terminals
IBM 4230 twinax
IBM 4224-1e3 twinax

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