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For what it's worth, this was the skinny from one of the printer dealers I talked with...
He stated that with the newer MAX inks and the fact that the 540 prints slowly that it was not required (possible exception was on thicker banner materials 18oz etc.) but on faster printers it is worth getting. This statement caught me off guard because he could have tried to up-sell me but instead made the case against it -- go figure? Like I said take it for what it's worth.
I'd like to hear from folks who bought one as well to see if the above holds true.
You didn't mention if you are going to be printing roll to roll, which to me would be the primary reason for the dryer. Careful profiling of the machine, setting your ink limits correctly will help drying time and should be done before considering the purchase.
just to make a case in favor of the online heater. If your not hurting for the cash, its a worth while investment. what mark said was true about profiling and settings but there is also a heaping time investment associated with that too.
the online heater takes the guess work out. your prints are dry for certain. with out it your prints may be dry to the touch but you still need to wait for them to "gas out" before use (installation, lamination, etc). The online heater makes certain my prints are dry. Some days i come in to the shop, load a 80' roll of banner material and let it print from edge to edge with out a second thought about making sure the media is dry as the take up reel rolls it up.
think if it as a new car. sales guys tells you, " ...for a few hundred more, I'll throw in leather and premium sound, and a turbo package."
the online heater makes your printer the "total package"
I work in the motion picture business. Most prints are not 54", lets say average size is 24"x 48". Time is of the essence! No i do not print roll to roll. Usually print high speed but sometimes need high quality for close shots. Most of the time I'm weeding & transferring and applying the second it's done printing / cutting . Sometimes on high quality , prints are still a tad wet on the last 1/3 of the print. So there i stand waiting to dry while they ask how much longer before it's ready? What i need to know is what % of dry time increase am i going to get ,10%,50%,80% or with heaters cranked no matter what quality, when the print comes off , It's dry and ready handle & apply. (longevity not an issue) I know dry to the touch does not mean print has out-gassed. And yes i am aware of proper profiles.