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Digital Copiers

Digital copiers can be described as a scanner and a printer contained in the same device. The scanner records the image as digital information, which is then output through the printer portion of the device. Digital copiers scan the original document only once. The digital record is stored in the scanner's memory, which allows the image to be edited in any way necessary. From the digital file, the document can be output as many times as needed. The content of the print output cannot change until the digital file is edited or a different item is placed in the scanning portion of the device. A digital copier has fewer moving parts and will last much longer than a typical analog copier.

Traditional analog copiers make copies by scanning the original document once for each copy that is required, which means that producing many copies can be a slow process. Usually the only way to manipulate the original image is through magnification or reduction. Continuous tone images, (photographs), do not copy well.

Digital copiers use the electrophotographic process and dry toner technology for output. There are both black and white and color models available and most distributors offer copiers for sale or lease. The type of copier that is best for your organization depends upon a number of factors. Most digital copiers are known as multifunctional units, which means they are scanners, copiers, and printers rolled into one. Many models even include fax capabilities or offer it as an option. It would be wise to do some research in order to purchase the equipment that is most appropriate for your company.


Some digital copiers are capable of producing 50 pages or more per minute, but a speed this high is usually found in higher end digital copiers. If your organization produces a large volume of copies per month (over 100,000), then the greater expense of a fast copier would be the best choice. If your monthly volume is low (1,000 or less), then a low volume digital copier would be more cost efficient.


Most digital copiers output with a resolution ranging between 300 dpi and 600 dpi and some go as high as 9600 x 600 dpi. It is best to purchase equipment with the highest resolution that you can afford, because there will be fewer output problems. Lower resolution can cause unclear images with color banding and text may appear slightly ragged.


The maximum paper size for most digital copiers is 11 x 17 inches, although there are a few that can accommodate a 12 x 18 inch sheet. Some digital copiers can handle paper weights up to 110 lb. index and most offer options for finishing such as binding, stapling, or punching.


The amount of memory that is included with the digital copier is also very important because the types of applications that can be produced may be limited by the memory capability. Memory upgrades are offered with most digital copiers and hard drives are standard equipment with some models allowing jobs to be stored for future use.


While many digital copiers have the ability to be networked, there are others that require costly upgrades for this to be possible. You need to know the number of people who will be using the digital copier and if the unit can still be used as a stand alone copier once it has been networked. You may even find that a laser printer that can be networked would fulfill your requirements, rather than purchasing a digital copier.

Note: A digital copier with many features and options may not be the best choice for every type of application. The extra expense for additional options may not be justified. It is best to purchase or lease a digital copier that fulfills the requirements of its intended use rather than having options that are seldom used.

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