Digital Color Copiers

There are desirable features when purchasing digital color copiers. Gone are the days of the printing press and analog, drum-based photocopy machines. In today's technology based work place, digital laser copiers can act as photocopy machines, collation stations, fax machines, printers and stapling devices. With this many capabilities, taking a closer look at photocopy machines will allow for an informed decision and well spent money. To truly see how far these assets to office life have come, the astute shopper needs to understand where they have been. Before xerography, a copying method using dry heat, was invented in the 1960s, businesses relied on Photostat machines, mimeographs and carbon paper to fulfill the company's copying needs. Before that, there were scribes. "The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every province was published unto all people, that they should be ready against that day." (Esther 3:14) Now the copier is such a mainstay in modern offices that the digital age's move toward a paperless society is held at bay by its presence in almost every company, not to mention many homes. It is widely used in government offices, educational entities and a variety of office based industries.

The makers of photocopy machines have perfected the mechanics to an art form. An electrostatic drum is charged. This drum is typically coated with a photo conducting substance. In simple terms, the drum is painted with a covering that remembers shapes and colors when light shines on it. After the drum is negatively charged electrically, a light is shines on the document to be copied. As the white parts of the paper reflect the light back to the drum, the image is temporarily burned on the surface. Digital laser copiers differ a little bit, in that a laser is used to scan the image and then burn a copy onto the face of the drum. Then, toner with a positive charge is applied to the negatively charged drum, and it sticks to the black areas. After this, the drum rolls over the paper and fuses the image to the sheet. When the whole process is done, the drum is cleaned off. Older analog copiers used positive drums and negative toners, but digital color copiers now use the method just described to produce the image.

In the late 1930s, a man named Chester Carlson experimented with writing on microscope slides and exposing them to light and electrically charged zinc covered with sulfur. At the time many people were satisfied with the common technique of duplicating with carbon paper, but Carlson pressed on knowing that one day people would want his invention. He called his process "electrophotography." Toward the end of the 1940s, the Haloid Corporation bought Carlson's patent. After taking a few surveys, Haloid Corporation decided that the word "electrophotography" was too long and would not sell many machines. The word "xerography" was finally decided on. Xerography is a Greek word meaning dry writing. The 1950s saw the birth of color toner. By using color toner, copies could bear the full range of beauty of the original image. These machines were originally quite expensive and did not gain mass appeal until well into the early 1970s.

Color copy machines are of great concern to government officials. High quality laser copiers can produce a realistic counterfeit. Not surprisingly, the widespread use of digital laser copiers brought about more governmental safety measures to protect against currency counterfeiting. These include: holograms that only show up on the original, watermarks that are not light sensitive when being copied and tiny strips of plastic embedded into the fibers of the bill.

As the xerography technology improved, the digital color copiers began to emerge on the scene. Digital copiers are a combination of an image scanner and a printer. There are marked advantages to this technology. Digital color copiers can improve the lighting and angle of the image they are duplicating. Because it is based on memory, the user can build a job. Building a job consists of entering requests for copies, separate from the process of scanning the documents. Along these lines, many high end digital laser copiers can fax the scanned image or put it on the network to share with the other employees. Another time saving benefit of the latest digital color copiers is the ability to collate. If a user wanted to make 10 copies of a 15 page document, an analog copier would scan the first page 10 times, then move on to the second page. At the end of the job, the employee would have 15 stacks (one for each page of the original), with 10 copies in each stack. At this time, the worker would have to collate and staple all the copies by hand. With a digital machine, each page is scanned once and saved to memory, so that the end product is 10 stacks of the 15 page document. The office employee needs only collect the collated stacks and staple them. In many high end copiers, even stapling is already done for the user.

With all the capabilities available for the shopper, a smart consumer is bound to get a wonderful piece of office machinery with a little research. Each capability does add to the cost of the copier, so the cost can escalate pretty quickly. Someone considering copiers for home or office need only ask themselves a few easy questions to arrive a digital laser copier that is the right fit for their needs. How many copies can be made per minute? Does the copier provide duplexing (printing on both sides of the paper)? How many sizes of paper does the copier allow? Does it collate or fax? Answering some of these simple questions can narrow the search, when there is an ocean of color laser copiers to choose from.

Used Digital Copiers

Investing in used digital copiers could be a smart move for any organization that is keeping an eye on its bottom line. Institutions such as offices, businesses, schools and colleges, and a variety of other establishments use a copier of some kind on a regular basis. Whether the photocopier in question is an analog copier or a digital model, business transactions and day to day operations can be greatly hindered when these vital pieces of machinery are out of commission. Great cost savings can be achieved by purchasing used or remanufactured digital copiers. An analog copier is an older technology that creates reproductions of pictures and documents through the use of positive and negative charges. In this type of copier, the drum and paper are positively charges while the toner is negatively charged. With digital photocopiers, the reverse is true. The paper and drum are negatively charged and the toner is positively charged. But a thorough understanding of the technology behind these machines is not necessary. Suffice it to say, the newer technology produces a higher quality image without the disadvantages presented by the analog copier.

In addition to a higher quality reproduction, the newer machines can save a document into its memory. The resulting fine, sharp details make old analog copies pale in comparison. By taking advantage of the many features that the newer machines offer, an office or place of business can increase efficiency through multitasking. While a hard copy is being produced, the same information can be transmitted as electronic copies through fax or e-mail. Fewer moving parts mean fewer repairs and less costly downtime. In addition to these benefits, the newer technology means a machine that functions at a much quieter level than the old analog models. When looking at a copier purchase, the analog represents outdated technology, but purchasing used digital copiers could translate into acquiring the latest technology at a bargain price. The many functions of the newer machines might require more staff training than the older analog models, but the benefits far outweigh this concern.

There are many factors to consider when calculating the cost of using remanufactured digital copiers. Pricing for these machines is generally based on such features as copier speed, variety of functions and memory capacity. Extra capabilities such as color printing, scanning, duplex printing, hole punching, stapling and collating also add to the price. If a consumer would prefer a machine that is still considered used, but that use has been minimal, purchasing a repossessed machine, a demo model, or a previously leased machine that was returned early could be a viable alternative. On the downside, used digital copiers do not usually come with the same kind of warranty as those that come with new machines, but may carry a short warranty or service contract for an additional price. A wise buyer will make sure that features such as installation and shipping are included into the price and that shipping is accomplished in a timely manner. The Bible talks about the wisdom of doing careful preparation before moving forward with a plan. "For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?" (Luke 14:28)

The cost savings that can be achieved when purchasing remanufactured digital copiers is very obvious when compared to the cost of a new machine. A new machine can sell at a price that is three to four times the cost of used digital copiers. Another cost saving possibility could be found in leasing a photocopy machine. Leases generally last around two to three years and cost a few hundred dollars a month, depending on the type of machine leased. Repair services are usually built into the lease price with a guarantee of timely repair. The number of copies produced each month is monitored, with an extra charge if the user goes over the agreed upon amount of copies. Installation can be tricky since often an entire network of computers is set up to work from one machine, allowing employees the convenience of sending copy requests directly to the machine from their computers. For this reason, it is important that a potential leaser makes sure that installation is included in the price of the lease. Accessories such as toner are also usually available from the leasing company. All copiers are equipped with an odometer that presents an accurate record of how much use the machine has seen, so it is important that the consumer check this number before signing a lease contract or making a purchase.

Some important questions to ask when in the market for used digital copiers might include the speed of the copier and the kind of connectivity required for the machine in question. The level of volume that is required to best meet the consumer's business needs is another important consideration. Another concern could be the level of functioning that a particular business might need. If extra functions are not necessary, there is obviously no need to pay extra for them. Will a dealer allow a consumer to take the machine for a test drive? Can the copier be used for a trial period to ensure that it is a good fit? Does the machine have an automatic shut off feature? Is the machine capable of automatically fitting an item to be printed to the size of paper selected? All of these concerns should be addressed when a consumer is in the market for a remanufactured digital copiers.

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