HP keynote splash goes on Web from Forum
HP's direct attention can evade Unix buyers

Archived 3000 site donates $18K printer

L5520-1 Mike Cheng wants to give away a printer that was once as busy as General Chemical's HP 3000. Both components are in semi-retirement today, but the Printronix L5520 has been waiting for a new home for four years. At its height of duty, this $25,000 device output reports for a range of in-house applications that managed the manufacturing at General Chemical. This can be a tough item to find; one online resource listed it available at $18,000; it's no longer made by Printronix.

Cheng, who can be contacted at 973-599-5536, will donate the printer for the cost of shipping a unit that weighs 300 pounds by his estimate. "Or if they're in New Jersey, they could just come by and pick it up" at his East Hanover IT shop, he added.

General Chemical's unit, where Cheng manages IT, manufactures soda ash and nothing else, a substance that's key to creating glass and detergents, among many other things. The HP 3000 at his shop is in archival mode now, generating reports for ERP operations up through 2005. The system will be in service for several more years at the instruction of the General Chemical legal department. This is another HP 3000 that will continue to run longer than HP's support for the 3000. It just doesn't need a printer, or the boxes of 12 x 8.5-inch, left-right feed 3-hole paper needed for the Printronix unit. The paper's part of the donation.

Cheng called us at the behest of VEsoft's Vladimir Volokh, who visited the General Chemical site this week. The indefatigable founder of the software company that sells MPEX continues to travel the country to visit customers, offering a day's support consulting -- and staying in touch with the community that includes such archive outposts.

3000 expertise isn't needed any longer at General Chemical's New Jersey operations. The only 3000-savvy IT manager works at the company's Wyoming plant, where Phillip Kinkead calls on 30 years of 3000 experience, according to Cheng. The New Jersey operations split 11 years ago into two units, and Chang's group purchased a 3000 to stay in step with the ERP software already in use.

Now SAP runs the original 3000 site's day-to-day operations, and Oracle's Enterprise One ERP manages the ops at Chang's shop. The cutover for production computing took place in 2006, he said. But Beechglen is still supporting the 3000 at his shop, which remains "a really solid machine."

This is an HP 3000 that won't show up easily on searches for customers using the system. It's operating in a shop without a 3000 manager, implemented as an archival system, and doesn't have much connection to HP 3000 vendor's shops. Except for Vladimir's, of course, a company that knows about many HP 3000s that could be overlooked in a 3000 customer census.