Unisys Corp. has introduced a line of passbook and document printers aimed at banks with large branch networks.

Designated the EF 4600 line, these printers are designed for use at teller counters, customer service desks, and other transaction environments that generate complex forms.

The base EF 4600 product is a 12-wire dot matrix flatbed printer. The EF 4605 is also a flatbed printer, but it uses a 24-wire dot matrix printing element. The EF 4605 is capable of handling more complicated fonts and character sets.

The new line, replacing Unisys' EF 4565 and EF 4562 printers, supports a range of operating environments including MS-DOS and Windows. A standard interface connects the printers to both Unisys and non-Unisys workstations.

Can Be Shared

In addition, both models can be physically shared between two workstations, as long as both are using the same environment. Using a device driver, they can be "logically" shared with up to eight workstations.

The printers are designed to minimize the amount of time an employee spends watching documents as they are printing to make certain nothing jams or otherwise malfunctions.

For example, both units will automatically align forms, documents, and passbooks - no matter which way the items are placed on the flatbed. This automatic alignment feature was recently patented by Unisys.

Customers Surveyed

According to Kathleen Norton-Schock, a program manager in retail delivery systems at Blue Bell, Pa.-based Unisys, the new printer models were developed in response to an international customer survey undertaken by Unisys last year, reflecting data collected from more than 1,000 financial institutions.

Ms. Norton-Schock said that Unisys asked these institutions what features they'd like to see in future printer models.

Ms. Norton-Schock said Unisys will begin shipping the new printers during the first quarter of 1994. The units will be priced from $2,700 to $3,050, depending on the configuration.

The first bank to order the EF 4600 line of printers is Credit Bank in Athens.

Ms. Sullivan is a freelance writer based in New York.

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