Color laser printer Panasonic Workio KX-CL510
The Panasonic trademark which is used to promote a great number of products made by Matsushita Electric Industrial is certainly well known to the domestic buyer of household electrical appliances and computer equipment. But not all are aware of the fact that apart from producing excellent notebooks and TV-sets, the company has been long producing color laser printers. That these models are very well-known in Russia more likely reflects the company's marketing specifics in our country rather than the real situation in the world since even on the Japanese market Panasonic printers are of customary mass phenomenon. Formerly, such models were promoted in Russia as well, but in my view the promotion was not so vigorous.
Anyway, it is now time the Russian mass buyer got a closer idea of color laser printers made by Matsushita Electric. Today, we are familiarizing with the most accessible model of this family - Panasonic Workio KX-CL510. Running ahead, I note that introduction to this printer is interesting to not only potential buyers but to specialists working at sales options for the laser printing technology in practice.
So, meet today's model: the color single-pass laser printer Panasonic Workio KX-CL510 is aimed primarily for work at the offices of small companies or enterprises where image-making and other considerations require transition to color appearance of documents. As regards the model's technical specifications, let's look into the data-sheet announced at the manufacturer's web site:
|Color laser printer Panasonic Workio KX-CL510|
|Printing method||Laser beam sweep and dry electrophotographic single-pass copying|
|Resolution||600x600, 1200x600, 1200x1200|
|Color spectrum generation||CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black)|
|Time before printing start||Monochrome printing — 13.5 sColor printing — 15.5 s|
|Printing speed||Monochrome: 20 ppm (A4, 600x600 dpi)Color: 16 ppm (A4, 600x600 dpi)|
|Languages||PCL 5c emulation (default) / Adobe PostScript 3 (default)|
|Built-in fonts||136 Adobe PS-fonts, and 45 PCL-fonts (default)|
|Processor||64-bit RISC-processor XPC745 of 360 MHz clock speed|
|Memory, RAM||Default — 128 MB, expandable to 512 MB (two slots for two modules altogether)|
|Supported OS||Windows 95, 98, Me, NT 4.0, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Mac OS 8.1, 8.5, 8.6, 9.0, 9.1, 9.2, X 10.1, X10.2|
|Interfaces||Ethernet (100 Base-TX / 10 Base-T) / USB 1.1 / parallel IEEE 1284 (ECP)|
|Supported network OS||NetWare 3.x, 4.x, 5.x, 6, UNIX Solaris 2.3x - 2.5x, 2.6, HP-UX 9.x, 10.x, BSD UNIX, AIX 4.x.x|
|Supported network protocols||TCP/IP, ICMP, ARP, RARP, BOOTP, DHCP, LPD, FTP, TELNET, HTTP, POP3, SMTP, DNS, IPP, WINS, IPX/SPX, NetBEUI, SNMP/MIB, AppleTalk, ELAP, AARP, DDP, AEP, RTMP, ATP, ZIP, NBP, and PAP|
|Supported protocols for the networked printing||FTP, LPR, IPP, printing to the standard TCP/IP port, printing to ports HP JetDirect (TCP/IP, IPX/SPX), SMB (NetBEUI), NetWare (PSERVER/RPRINTER in the NDS/Bindery and NDPS modes), AppleTalk, printing email messages|
|Embedded Web server||Printer status view and printer control via browser|
|Network features||Network setup utility, Web administration utility, status display, email notification, remote maintenance utility|
|Paper feed||Automatic, manual|
|Paper tray capacity||Universal tray — up to 530 sheets Multipurpose input tray — 100 Additional tray — 2 х 530 sheets|
|Paper sizes, tray||Regular paper, letterheads, recycled paper (75-105 g/m2), thin paper (60-75 g/m2) – Letter, A4, Legal, B5 (JIS)|
|Paper sizes, manual feed||Labels, envelopes, coated paper, thick paper/visiting cards (105-165 g/m2), transparent thermostable film of arbitrary format (min. 91 mm x 150 mm / max. 216 mm x 356 mm)|
|Paper density||75 – 90 g/m2 (duplex), 60 – 105 g/m2 (tray), 60 – 165 g/m2 (manual feed)|
|Maximum sheet size||216 mm x 356 mm|
|Noise level||Printing — 55 dBStandby mode — 41 dB|
|Dimensions||419 x 536 x 395 mm|
|Power supply||220/240 V ± 10%, 50/60 Hz ± 1 Hz|
|Power consumption||Maximum - 1200 WIn the power-saving mode - 40 WDuring printing (average) - 460 W|
|Transfer belt capacity||83 thousand sheet|
|Toner fixing unit||100 thousand sheet|
|Transfer roll||100 thousand sheet|
|Color drum block||13 thousand sheet|
|Black photo-drum||13 thousand sheet|
|Toner cartridge capacity||C, M, Y, K cartridges: 5,000 pages at 5% fill (A4) Cartridge for waste toner: 24,000 b/w pages; 6,000 color pages|
|Ancillary equipment||Additional paper tray KX-CLPF1, automatic duplex unit KX-CLAD1, internal hard disk of 10 GB capacity for task spooling, post-print check features, memory printing, private printing (KX-CLHD1); additional memory: 128 MB (KX-CLEM1), 256 MB (KX-CLEM2)|
|Oven: 100 thousand sheet|
Brief comment on the specifications: all the fine points have been well thought out to make KX-CL510 not to waste time for waiting in the job queue. The printer is indeed properly aimed at networked printing and even in the base supply option - KX-CL500 - offers Ethernet interface.
In developing the printer drivers and software, all the suggestions from administrators of any modern LAN were taken into account. The package bundle offers whatever administration utilities providing monitoring and configuration, as well as embedded web interface, a mail client for remote printing without a computer. Electronic mail is also used for event notification in case of paper jams or running out of consumables. The message will be sent to a specified email address depending on the event.
It is nice to note that the printing characteristics were compiled without the marketing participation which normally adds to much to the output image quality - as the test results showed, the declared characteristics fully match the factual.
By the way, the base model differs from the "elder" KX-CL510 in merely the lack of support for PostScript and the twice as less memory capacity - 64 MB. All the remaining bundle items are fully identical.
Introduction. Unpacking, plugging, fitting cartridges, and software installation
Inside the spacious enough box having the inscription Panasonic Workio KX-CL510 whose style is very well known to buyers of the company's produce, we found the printer itself, toner cartridges, driver CDs, a waste toner collector, photo-drums, a power cord, a printer setup guide.
On the face of it, the printer design reminded the strict rectangular shapes common about 20 years ago. Perhaps, some will not like the lack of excesses and curving, but this functional and non-distracting look is just what is needed for the office.
In terms of the design, the printer is made as a single-pass model of dry electrographic toner transfer. To generate a color print, the toner from each of the four CMYK channels is applied in one pass using four photo-drums.
By sizes, toner cartridges resemble a regular video cassette with the difference in that they are made of transparent plastic. From the psychological viewpoint, the cartridge looks quite impressive, especially against the black housings of toner storages by other manufacturers. In fact, no one will likely to open the lid and catch cartridges to visually inspect the remaining toner capacity. For that, there is a special monitoring utility, plus the toner capacity can be assessed via the web-interface.
The cartridges look alike as if they are twins, except that the yellow one is a bit larger because during the CMYK spectrum generation this one runs out faster than others. The cartridges are inserted into the jacks easily, without much effort, the location slots are designed in a way to provide a "fool-proof" protection, that is a cartridge can be installed to the slot of matching color only.
I think it would be appropriate to say here that nowadays the average prices for Panasonic KX-CL510 cartridges sell at below $70 per each one. Those who intend to buy such a color printer mainly for office printing with color elements can rely upon relative printer maintenance cost-saving.
After installation of all the required printer components, including the waste toner collector, you can close all the lids, apply voltage and plug in a matching interface cable. All the interfaces (parallel, USB, LAN) are positioned on a unified plug-in control board which can be promptly removed from the printer, e.g. to install additional memory.
The printer is equipped with two slots for SO-DIMM memory modules, which allows expanding the memory up to 512 MB, however, the default 128 MB is quite enough to perform most printing jobs.
Driver installation is very prompt and, like all automated procedures does not need lengthy comments. There is one important thing to mention that the unified interface of the installation disk allows installing all what is required for work and without wasting time for selections and search - PCL and PostScript drivers, network and control utilities, operation manuals all from a unified menu. Therefore, in the "Printers and faxes" menu of Windows operating system there appears one of such records (PCL5e or PS, depending on the driver selected during installation):
To verify the printing quality, we used formerly proven test packs adapted to check laser color printers. For details of the methods, read "Methods for testing color and monochrome printers".
General impressions of the printer
Like any professional model of a color laser printer (unlike the very cheap version for home and family use), Panasonic KX-CL510 offers wide functionality of color rendition control. When working with PCL drivers, the color rendition can be tuned automatically, as well as selected with a driver among the options "RGB", "natural mode" (graphics), ICM, "gray-scale". Color rendition control while working with the PostScript driver also implies either automatic tuning or the modes "RGB" (Photo), "natural" (graphics), ICM, and "gray-scales", however, they have been complemented with the professional polygraphic schemes ColorSync, SWOP, Euroscale, and support for PANTONE colors.
Most settings and issues during operation are resolved with the help of the printer's on-screen menus, or using a 2-line graphic display on the printer's front panel. If you ran out of paper, the toner is running out, or if there is insufficient memory for printing a certain print job – the printer immediately notifies you of that, and will suggest options to resolve the issues.
A few notes on the noise characteristics of Panasonic KX-CL510. Frankly, because of the printing mode, especially the noise during revolution of the drum, this printer can't be regarded as a silent device. While in the stand-by mode the printer is almost silent, then operating the printer in the "active" mode especially in your home apartment in the night hours would be a torture for your neighbors. Noise level like in the office is not a rare occasion (it is no louder than other copying machines or even some employees).
The printer underwent tests with varied media, and in all the cases no paper jams were detected, and not a single time two sheets were captured once at a time, nor there were anything to complain about the mechanical part. Of course, when printing on a thick paper some drop in the printing speed was observed: the printer offers an automatic thickness detector and depending on the received data it tunes the oven mode for distinct fixing of the prints regardless of the media type.
The impressions left by the printer in operation are highly positive: the well thought out design combined with perfectly written drivers allows getting down to your business and not the "implementation traits" of a feature. With the automatic duplex unit installed, the printer can be turned to a full-featured device for prompt output of large-format double-sided documents. Systems administrator and service engineers of companies will be certainly delighted about the possibility of keeping corporate statistics with utilities or remotely via the web-interface: the driver allows calculating the number of prints for monochrome and color print jobs as well as outputting the total figure.
A few words on the driver menu - the main element for printing control and monitoring. There are not many window tabs when working with the PS3 driver, and only when switched to the "extended" mode the user gets access to numerous settings. In fact, this driver is meant mainly at professionals who can make out what wealth is hidden by the seemingly scanty interface.
On the other hand, PCL5 is simply a magic for those who prefer fine-tuning for better results. The main driver tabs are also moderate and allow mostly setting the job layout on paper and basic quality parameters.
But the other tabs, especially Quality and Font are abundant with whatever settings for handling color and fonts. Among the numerous extended printer properties, of note is the presence of predefined color profiles. Interestingly, in the monochrome mode the KX-CL510 allows the user changing the output settings within a wide range - both text elements and the raster.
We must mention the toner-saving mode. As practice showed, engineers at Panasonic have done a very thorough job at handling the matter: with considerable toner saving, prints anyway preserve good readability and presentable look.
Printing out fonts at the maximum resolution showed quite a high quality of filling, smooth edges of characters and good display of fine details, at the level of monochrome laser printers of similar declared resolution.
The results of fonts printout in the toner-saving mode have brought some geometrical distortion in the character layout, although with some loss of expression the readability of font material stayed at a high enough label.
The printing of vector jobs can be regarded as unstained: the lines are shaped at high quality, and the color application is done distinctly enough.
The job which Panasonic Workio KX-CL510 coped without any complaints and remarks is the printing of color fills. While on the gray-scale you can see some minimum nonuniformity (upon a very close look), then the three other colors are output at superb quality.
The same can be said about the printing of C-M-Y-K / R-G-B test fragments. The rectangular fill is excellent, with the nonuniformity almost invisible. Interestingly, at some settings - e.g. in the Vivid color mode, it is very easy to produce a specific lemon tint of pure Yellow color. Maybe that doesn't fall within the classical canons, but looks very nice.
Coming back to matter of color rendition, we should note that default settings give saturated enough colors. Besides that, we must also note the high quality of the gloss of the produced prints - all the modes except those with the toner-saving enabled. The known effect of "convexity" above the paper surface in some filled fragments, especially those 100% filled with toner in the case of using Panasonic Workio KX-CL510 is almost missing - its rastering is too similar to the offset. That is especially seen when printing photos.
Nowadays when almost all the companies manufacturing printers offer laser devices in their assortment, it is extremely difficult to make a final choice of the most suitable model. The assortment is rather wide, especially the many companies these days have flooded the market with their inexpensive printers of cut-down functionality and high enough final TCO (due to the high price for consumables, of which the user becomes aware after purchase). All this taken into account, the price of Panasonic Workio KX-CL510 color laser printer may seem to be not the most advantageous. But don't be hasty at making conclusions and calculate how much would extra purchase of optional components for this printer cost if it were shipped in the "light" version.
Besides, when choosing the candidate for a color laser printer in your office, before you buy, try looking at the prices for consumables and compare Panasonic KX-CL510 with models by other manufacturers from this viewpoint already. I am sure, after calculating the annual average maintenance cost, the price of the printer itself will shift to the background. With this method of calculating the costs for maintaining color and monochrome printing, purchasing a KX-CL510 may be regarded as quite an attractive option.
Among the advantages are high-speed color and black-and-white printing in one pass, optional support for extra trays and duplex unit, printing on thick paper, support for PostScript3. For some corporate networks, remote and private printing may prove the key characteristics of KX-CL510. For offices on a small budget of the maintenance personnel, a printer of such design will be especially advantageous since the replacement of cartridges will not be an issue even for a secretary.
As regards the specifications of Panasonic Workio KX-CL510 declared by the manufacturer, they indeed meet the reality. The feature-set of this printer can be regarded optimum for middle workgroups serviced by the internal Ethernet network powered by almost any operating system.