What is a Photocopier? A photocopier is a machine that is able to make paper copies of documents and other visual images very quickly. Most current photocopiers use dry process technology using heat known as xerography. Although less common, some copiers may use other output technologies such as ink jet, however for heavy duty, business and office copying, xerography is the standard. Xerographic office photocopying was introduced by Xerox in the 1960s, and over the following 20 years it gradually replaced older copying techniques and brands.
Over The Years Over the past years, Photocopiers have become a lot more efficient. They have come a long way since the early xerographic experimentations and are now available in many different shapes and sizes, featuring endless amounts of capabilities thanks to the digital revolution. Forget having a different machine for your every need, Photocopiers now have multifunctionís where you can print, send faxes, edit images and copy documents, information and pictures.
Benefits and Features of Photocopiers Most photocopiers today are not designed simply and exclusively to only copy documents, but also include a wide array of additional features. Such features should be taken into consideration when deciding which photocopier to choose for your business. There are some features which are considered necessary, some others features are more "good to have" than compulsory. Many photocopiers are built with the capability and option to have additional features added to the machine at a later date. This can be very important for your business if it is growing or you arenít completely sure what your business will need in the future.
Digital Multifunction Device Features Advances in technology have meant that most, if not all printers and photocopiers today are multifunctional; meaning that they have added functionality and in turn the convenience of several office machines in one: copier, printer, fax machine, scanner, PDF writer... and the list can go on. Such machines are be a terrific asset to your workplace and can ensure the successful completion of a 5 year life-span. Remember that even if you are not sure that you want or need some of the extensive features, the right copier you can upgrade many of these features later. Some machines can be upgraded with a "plug and play" sort of upgrade, much like a USB print dongle, whilst others require more extensive hardware fixes.
Colour Considerations Due to the widespread advances in copier technology, colour printing and copying is no longer out of monetary reach for average office, and with the enhanced presentation of documents that it provides, this is certainly a worthwhile consideration. Although colour is more expensive on consumables and in terms of ink pricing, many advanced copiers do offer mono and colour simultaneously. It is possible to disable colour if you do not need colour now but want it in the future.
Why colour is becoming more popular Colour copiers come under what is becoming known as the colour revolution, a recent significant development), and are now quickly becoming more affordable. Until recently, buying a colour copier or printer would have cost around 20% to 30% more than an equivalent same-speed machine in black-and-white. However, the margin in price difference is decreasing quickly. A colour toner will always add to running costs, however with a hybrid or colour-capable machine this is only so when colour is used. Organisations of all sectors and sizes are now increasingly buying or leasing a new copier with colour capability, and reaping the inherent benefits the simple impact of colour over simple black and white, enhanced professionalism in campaigns and corporate image, saving of money and time and of course the convenience of in-house colour printing.
The cost of colour Because not all businesses need to use colour all the time and could not justify the purchase and running costs of a one-pass dedicated graphic colour system, Canon and Toshiba both manufacture what are described as hybrid colour-capable or colour-enabled machines: colour is only used as required. Basically, only use black toner for black and white printing. Many businesses have indeed found this to be the ideal solution for their workplace. Their printing is mainly black and white, yet the option of colour has proven especially useful for colour graphs, datasheets, coversheets, headings, proposals, presentations and logos. When colour is only used occasionally, a colour machine's black and white printing will cost no more than with a mono-only copier. If indeed you are a business with a very small but definite need for colour copying, and alternative option from colour-capable digital printer is a black and white digital printer complemented by a smaller multifunctional all-in-one colour printer. To decide this you should consider the human effort involved where both machines are necessary for a single print job.
How colour photocopiers work All colour copiers are digital and work similarly to a computer scanner connected to a laser printer, except of course it is one machine. The copier scans the original copy then transfers this information through laser technology to a charged image drum. Colour toner adheres to the charged areas of the drum before being transferred to paper. The final step, as with a laser printer, is to heat the toner on the page and hence fuse a permanent image onto the copy. High-end models apply all four colours in a single application. Low-end machines take four passes of the same image, rolling the paper around the drum four times to apply each colour. While low-end technology is less expensive, it also makes for slower copying speeds.
Professional Full Colour Option If your business does or plans to regularly out-source larger amounts of colour copying, perhaps for sales brochures, fliers, business cards, promotional prose, or other business projects, then there is the chance that you may actually save money by purchasing a dedicated colour copier that is capable of printing in full calibrated colour. Such machines are more typically used in graphics design environments for print proofing and where printing or copying needs are for high quality, versatility with media and consistent colour reproduction
Editing Features Standard features integrated into digital colour copiers include border erasing, image centring, colour adjustment, and colour balancing. Other printers (such as the Canon image Press C1) are able to print consistent high quality colour on 64-256g/m2, coated, uncoated and textured media. These machines use an advanced fusing process where the texture is not ironed out, and hence images are also able to appear shiny on glossy paper, and matt on plain paper.
What does your workplace need? Now you know about all the amazing features Photocopiers have to offer, it is now important to establish what exactly your business requires from a photocopier. Once you have the knowledge of what your business needs, you can then research the market for your perfect equipment. Your company may not need to use all the gadgets and features of a particular photocopier; therefore you should take into consideration the average monthly print requirements, machine size restraints, paper size and budget constraints.
Paper supply and capacity There are many different paper supply options available in different copiers depending on your business needs. Within a photocopier, each paper tray, cassette, pedestal, or paper feed unit is considered a separate paper source. The number of sources a copier has is important if you want to be able to copy onto different paper types (such as plain or cardboard A4, coloured paper letterheads, A3, or transparencies) without having to reload the machine. It is also important to consider how many consecutive prints your workplace would expect to require. Usually, paper sources hold a minimum of 50 to 100 sheets, but if you expect to be printing more copies than this at a time, the largest-capacity units and faster machines available tend to have at least one large capacity A4 bin, that takes upwards of 1000 to 5000 sheets Typically, office copiers include at least one fixed-size and a few adjustable-size paper trays. Most make double-sided copies as standard and almost all have a bypass tray, which is a special tray that provides a straight paper path for heavy paper and labels. These are important features to look for
Office Space When choosing a photocopier, you should take into consideration how much space you have available in your workplace. Desktop photocopiers are of course at the smallest end of the photocopier scale, but beware that these copiers are usually only able to complete a smaller number of jobs and usually have a reasonably low copy and print speed. These machines are of course for offices which intend to use a copier on a smaller scale. Larger scale copiers also come in a large range of not only sizes but shapes. Bypass and additional trays need to be taken into consideration when thinking of how much space a copier will take up overall. Ensure that there will be room for all trays and sections of the copier to be opened in the case of repair, toner changing and paper replenishment (for example). Some industrial sized printers are very large and will require a lot of space, however there is certainly a medium-sized range for offices with limited space that still require a decent print and copy speed.
Copier Speed When choosing a photocopier, you should take into When trying to decide which copier will be best for your workplace it is important to have a rough idea of the estimated monthly volume of copies you intend to make. If there are times in the office where printing and copying may peak, you could benefit from a faster machine to meet your demands during the unpredictable and busy times. If you are upgrading to a new copier, your current copier should have evidence of the overall usage it has acquired.
Total cost of ownership (TCO) If you are planning to buy a new photocopier it is worthwhile doing a few simple calculations on the machine over the planned life cycle and to translate this to an effective net cost per copy. This is not always an exact science as in some circumstances the cost per copy can be more but the improved efficiency in the office may mean cost saving overall. To calculate the total cost of ownership: The total cost of ownership of a copier is simply; capital cost plus the total copy charge minus other savings factors. Capital cost = either the purchase price of the copier or the lease charges over the period. The option to lease or to buy outright depends on the company situation. Copy charge = A service charge is sometimes also known as "pay per click". Most times this covers maintenance of the machine and also repairs if something were to go wrong. The "pay per click" charge will vary depending upon the machine and volume. Toner refills The cost of toner recharging also factors into the total cost of ownership and needs to be taken into consideration. Most modern machines have come a long way in this field and it is now something that needs to be done less often and is easier to do, however some machines require more expensive toner than others, and you should enquire about this with your supplier.