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Bathtub Concept & Printers

Printing documents is an essential part of the modern business world and effective printer management is paramount to the success and smooth running of an organisation with multiple devices.

The Bathtub Concept

An example of Datatrade’s innovative approach to the issues surrounding efficient printer management is in our ‘Bath Tub’ concept - based on the ’life wear cycle’ of any piece of mechanical equipment.

With many years of expertise and practical hands-on knowledge, Datatrade has developed the skills to be able to adapt this principle with specific effect to computer printing technology.

Regardless of where printers are situated (warehouse, production, office) and the projects for which they are employed (pick notes, delivery documents), understanding the lifecycle of those devices will enable companies to get the most from them and avoid unnecessary replacement, evade printer breakdown and production downtime and ultimately increase production savings.

How it works

The initial life of a printer is known as the ’Burn In’ or ’Early Failure’ period. During this phase, printers suffer from higher ‘mean time between failure’ rates. The bulk of a printer’s operational life will, if used within agreed parameters, be subject to below average ‘mean time between failure’ rates. As the operational life of the printer draws to an end ’Burn Out’, significantly more frequent breakdowns, can occur and therefore more ’down time’ for your operation.

If you were to ’plot’ this on a graph you would see the effective life of the printer represented in the following manner:

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The secret of weighting

By ’weighting’ different considerations based on our knowledge and experience we can define the appearance of the Bath Tub curve. The example above demonstrates a theoretical model – in practice most curves will not ’look’ so symmetrical.

There are many contributing factors that will affect the dimensions of the Bath Tub curve. This can sometimes be confusing in that the same external influence may have a different level of impact to the operational effectiveness of the printer – depending in which phase of its life it is in.

The second part of the ’Bath Tub’ concept is to decide at which point on the curve your particular printer(s) are. This is important, as it will define the usefulness of the printer to your business. i.e. you will start to be able to weigh the balance between extracting more use from a machine against increasing unreliability for example. This in turn will allow you to weigh up the cost of maintenance against other options. These may include replacing the machine or rotating the machine into a less mission critical area of your business.

The ‘Bath Tub’ concept can also be used to monitor annually the operational effectiveness of the machines so that once the operational effectiveness drops to level where it starts to affect the business, the machines can be swapped out as part of a rolling maintenance plan.

How can this knowledge be effectively used?

In essence we have developed a visual aid that shows how your printers are performing in your organisation. With this information we can then work with you to ensure that you get the most from your printers, with the most efficient cost effective service, for the optimum period of time.

Using this principle we can help you in many areas, these may include:

  • Providing ’swap out’ facilities. This balances the cost of additional machines against the ability to swap out (smaller) printers on a return to base (RTB) basis, which can be more cost effective.
  • By analysing the progress of your equipment along the Bath Tub curve, we can help you manage the changeover from the older to newer technology. This can buy the valuable time your business needs to plan, and budget for such change.
  • We can use the Bath Tub principle to analyse whether keeping the older machines (and more likely expensive maintenance) is as cost effective as swapping out for newer technology and cheaper maintenance plans.

Above all, we can work with you to provide the most cost effective printer maintenance and expert support based on your organisation’s current requirements and future plans.


Printer Education

Datatrade is keen to educate users on best practice for every day operation of the printers they use. Through user education, for example, correct use and replacement of consumables, simple error recognition, device cleaning and day-to-day care, our customers will enjoy less printer ‘downtime’ and operational longevity.

Knowing what might happen, before it happens

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The Screenshot shows how the Bathtub concept helps to show how your printers are performing in your organisation. This detailed information helps to ensure that you get the most from your printers, with the most efficient cost effective service, for the optimum period of time.

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