On Wednesday, Brother International beefed up its business-class lineup with the introduction of new color laser printers and all-in-one multifunction color (MFC) devices. The announcement includes models available only through Brother Authorized Partner Program (BAPP) resellers. All are targeted to the small business/office or workgroup environments.
The laser printers and all-in-one units are all based on the same engine with varying degrees of toner and paper capacity. NFC card readers are standard on all models except the HL-L8260CDW. The new color laser printers come in three models:
- The HL-L8260CDW prints up to 33 ppm with black toner cartridges that are good for 4,500 pages and color cartridges for 4,000 pages. Its duty cycle is rated at 40,000 pages per month. It also has gigabit Ethernet and wireless I/F. It sells for $530.
- The HL-L8360CDW increases black and color toner cartridge capacity to 6,500 pages and the duty cycle to 60,000 pages per month. It also features a 2.7-inch touchscreen and sells for $650. A second version of this model, the HL-L8360CDWT, adds a second tray that can hold 500 pages. It sells for $800.
- The HL-L9310CDW, part of the Brother Workhorse series sold only through its BAPP resellers, ups black and color toner capacity to 9,000 pages (although it ships with 6,500-page cartridges) and has an 80,000-page monthly duty cycle. It sells for $950.
The all-in-one MFCs are:
- The MFC-L8610CDW prints up to 33 ppm in color or black with a toner capacity of 4,500 pages in black and 4,000 pages in color. Its monthly duty cycle is rated at 40,000. Features include a 3.7-inch touchscreen and a 50-page capacity ADF. It sells for $850.
- The MFC-L8900CDW increases both black and color toner capacity to 6,500 pages and the monthly duty cycle to 60,000 pages. It also offers a 58 images per minute (ipm) duplex scan speed, a 5-inch color touchscreen, and a 70-page ADF. It sells for $950.
- The MFC-L9570CDW, part of the Workhorse series, ships with 6,500-page black and color toner cartridges, but replacement cartridges have a 9,000-page capacity. Its monthly duty cycle is 80,000 pages, and it features a 7-inch color touchscreen, an 80-page ADF, and 52 ipm/104 ipm duplex scan speeds. It sells for $1,250.
“This next generation of products further underscores Brother’s commitment and leadership position in providing business-class document technology in a small footprint typically associated with larger, more expensive and service-prone devices,” said Steve Feldstein, Brother International Corporation’s Director of Marketing – Business Laser & Scanner Products. “From the business standpoint these printers and MFPs deliver durability, scalability, security and high-impact color laser printing at an extremely low total cost of ownership. For IT professionals, the devices can integrate into an organization’s existing infrastructure, enhancing network document security.”
Targeting the Channel
While most of the new units will be sold through retail as well as dealer channels, Brother’s intent, in part, is to further make its case to resellers. The company began a push to enlist more dealers in 2015. Since early 2016, the number of Brother dealers has grown by 40 percent, and the business growth for its protected line-up (devices available only to the dealer channel) has been between 30 and 40 percent for both monochrome and color units, according to Dan Waldinger, director of B2B marketing. Brother’s version of MPS, the Volume Print Program (VPP), has grown 75 percent in the channel.
While Brother claims about 1,400 BAPP resellers, only 20 percent of them are BTA-type dealers. The rest are VARs, IT service providers, or supplies dealers, according to Waldinger.
Even though the new lines, and models previously introduced last year, are at the low end of the market, Brother has included features that help them play nice in a networked environment. The NFC readers provide user authentication. The touchscreen units provide a consistent user interface with the ability to configure for workflows specific to a workgroup or individual. The printers and MFCs are also compatible with fleet monitoring tools like Print Fleet.
Brother has positioned its business-class devices as viable options to fill specific low-volume needs within small businesses or workgroups in larger organizations. Its lineup could fill gaps in some dealers’ offerings at the low end.