More-efficient printing to save city of Duluth an estimated $96000 a year

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    The city of Duluth projects a new centralized printing system will cut its costs by $8,000 a month, said Karla Culhane, manager of Duluth’s Management Information Systems division.

    She noted those estimated annual savings of $96,000 don’t include reduced energy costs, which could be considerable, as well.

    The city aims to unplug and dispense with more than 150 machines, including printers and copiers, as part of its initiative. The city’s total arsenal of printing devices will be cut by more than half when the conversion is complete by the end of this month.

    The project will enable Duluth to reduce what it spends on leased equipment. It also will be able to get rid of a number of old, less-efficient machines.

    Duluth’s partner in the initiative, Toshiba Business Solutions Inc., has agreed to pick up the recycling costs for old equipment the city owns but no longer needs. Culhane said most of the equipment to be discarded has no aftermarket value, as it is heavily used and old.

    Duluth has entered into a three-year lease agreement with Toshiba, with a monthly cost of about $11,355.

    The system already is in place and successfully operating at the Duluth Police Department’s new headquarters on Rice Lake Road, Culhane said.

    Duluth City Hall is next in line to receive a similar setup.

    “The system allows users to print to an internal cloud we’ve built,” Culhane said. She explained that print jobs will wait in that “cloud” until a user decides to pick up a document. This will require the user to go to any printer, swipe an access badge across a reader and then authorize the printing of requested jobs.

    Users can also cancel jobs at the printer, and Culhane anticipates the new system will reduce redundant print jobs, further holding down costs.

    New printing machines will be equipped to electronically notify Toshiba when they are getting low on toner, so additional supplies can be automatically shipped. Culhane said Duluth benefits from the buying power of Toshiba, which can command significantly lower prices than the city.

    Duluth is now working with Energy Management Solutions, a consulting firm, to quantify the expected power savings from its new centralized printing system. Culhane said the project may well qualify the city to receive rebates and/or rate reductions from Minnesota Power.

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