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Digital Duplicators ' Benefits Compared to High Volume Copier Printers - Articles Surfing

A digital duplicator is a copier / printer which uses mimeographic technology combined with modern electronics to produce copies or prints onto paper, envelopes and light card. Mimegraphic technology basically means using a stencil to produce copies or prints.

What is a Digital Duplicator NOT?

A digital duplicator is NOT the machine your primary school teacher used to run off purple copies of the school song for use in assembly, copies that had a strange, all-pervasive chemical aroma that meant you would rather the teacher had chosen somewhere else to stand and not next to you, because teacher, having used the old-fashioned mechanical duplicator of your youth, smelt and would continue to smell all day long, of chemical just like the purple copies. Today, you will NOT have to stand by such a duplicator endlessly turning a handle. Digital duplicators are electrically powered.

How does a digital duplicator work?

The copy / print stock to be printed upon is placed in the feed tray of the digital duplicator. A stencil is wrapped around a cylinder inside the digital duplicator (not a photoreceptive drum, digital duplicators do not use them) and is easily secured at both ends. An integral scanner then reads the original image. The digital duplicator then creates perforations in the thin, resin-coated master or stencil, which is otherwise impervious to liquids. As the cylinder rotates a pressure roller presses paper against this cylinder. Ink is then forced through the newly cut openings of the master onto the paper, envelope or light card as a copy or print.

Digital duplicators do not use a photoreceptive drum or a heated fuser unit. This means lower power consumption, greater service intervals and cost savings. Why use a Digital Duplicator?

Savings begin when you make more than 25 copies or prints of a single document. A digital duplicator uses a stencil. The cost of the stencil or master used in a digital duplicator is divided amongst all of the copies or prints of that particular document. After 25 copies the additional copy cost is very low.

Technological improvements have enabled digital duplicators to print at speeds of up to 135 pages per minute, with 600dpi resolution for a fraction of the cost-per-copy of a conventional photocopier. This makes digital duplicators invaluable for print-on-demand applications quite apart from the typical users of digital duplicators who have up to now been schools, colleges and churches. Digital duplicators are ideally suited for print shops or corporate graphics departments where digital duplicators can be used alongside conventional print-room photocopiers. Another point to consider is that if you use a digital duplicator for your long runs your comparatively expensive office copier will last that much longer.


Digital duplicators are not exactly new. Since the late 80's digital duplicators have become virtually standard equipment for those, typically churches and schools, who require low cost copies or prints, with high volumes and a machine that is easy to use. Digital duplicators are just as easy to use as an office photocopier. Digital duplicators provide far greater flexibility to print onto a variety of stocks such as envelopes, and light card. Digital duplicators are cost-effective being less expensive to run than a conventional photocopier given the right circumstances. Digital duplicators offer additional savings because of their greater productivity and versatility. A normal, conventional office copier may have a copy speed of anything from 20 to 60 A4 copies per minute. Digital duplicators however, are capable of printing at speeds of up to 135 A4 pages per minute and an impressive 120 A3 pages per minute. This is because digital duplicators use an ink process that reprints each sheet of paper on contact. Additional cost savings are to be made by taking less than half the time to produce a print or copy job because of the increased speed of digital duplicators compared to office copiers of a similar price. The ink used in digital duplicators is quick-drying and will be touch-dry virtually on contact depending on the print resolution of between 300 dpi to 600 dpi. Gone are the days when duplicators produced smudged copies because the previous copy had not dried. The copy quality of digital duplicators compares favourably with conventional copying / printing.

Some digital duplicators provide a "job separator" mechanism that offsets the top sheet of each job. Most digital duplicators send output into a single receive tray and do NOT collate.

Further savings are made by using Digital Duplicators in that they can print on a wider variety of stocks including carbonless forms (NCR), envelopes of virtually any size and file folders because they have a straight paper path and do not use a fusing unit. Digital duplicators are able to print in practically any colour you like. A digital duplicator looks just like a multifunctional copier printer. Do NOT be put off by the fact that digital duplicators use ink rather than toner. After all, toner becomes ink when passing through the fuser unit of a conventional copier but the heat and pressure applied makes it readily absorbed into the throughput material. Adding ink and stencils to a digital duplicator is no more difficult than adding a new toner cartridge to a photocopier. The ink which is in boxes is located inside the digital duplicator. There is no danger of spillage. Replacing the ink in a digital duplicator is easier than installing inks into an inkjet printer. All the inks for digital duplicators come in boxes. Simply remove the cap, put on a holder and then slide them in. Colour cylinders are available for each individual ink, and will last for the life of the digital duplicator. Inks are competitively priced with one bottle lasting from between 5,000 to 30,000 copies depending on coverage. Apart from basic colours, digital duplicators can be supplied with Pantone colour inks. Ink changes are clean and easy, taking about 15 seconds to change a colour. A microprocessor-controlled, vacuum-drawn ink system ensures that digital duplicators use every last drop of ink paid for.

Digital duplicators are no noisier than conventional office photocopiers, with noise levels of between 65 - 75 decibels. Because of the greater copying and printing speeds of a digital duplicator the noise will be for shorter periods too.

The first copy from a digital duplicator will be slower than from a photocopier but at speeds of up to 135 A4 pages per minute, and, remember, given that you will be printing at least 30 copies or prints at a time, the digital duplicator should in most cases be a lot quicker.

Digital Duplicators are environmentally friendly compared to photocopiers. They do NOT emit Ozone, unlike photocopiers. Since they do not use toner and do not use cooling fans (no fuser unit remember, so not necessary), they will NOT circulate toner dust when a filter becomes clogged. They do NOT use a fuser unit so are totally dormant when not in use with no fuser unit to keep hot. On top of this all digital duplicators have an inbuilt "energy save" function which reduces by as much as 85% the already negligible power used when in standby mode. Digital duplicators are so environmentally friendly when it comes to power saving, they "fly below the radar" of Energy Star classification. The power consumption of a digital duplicator over its expected lifetime is reckoned to be up to 700% lower than a conventional photocopier producing equivalent number of copies. The inks and master stencils for digital duplicators are usually biodegradable.

Digital duplicators can be linked up to a PC, Mac or network and used as a high-speed printer. controllers enable users to send print jobs straight from a PC or Mac WITHOUT proprietary software. A driver that is provided with the controller is loaded onto the PC, Mac or Network.

Points to note.

Digital duplicators do not provide automatic Duplexing. However, copies can easily be run through the digital duplicator a second time for double-sided requirements and with the high speeds of digital duplicators, this need not necessarily be a problem.

Digital duplicators do not staple or punch.

Submitted by:

Vincent Woodall

Vincent Woodall is the sales and marketing manager of AB Technology (London) Ltd (ABT) an office equipment supplier and has been employed in the office equipment industry since 1985. ABT's website can be found at http://www.abtltd.co.uk



Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).


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