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Photocopiers Today - An Imaging System at the Heart of Your Workgroup
These days, businesses who view the photocopier as a workhorse in a corner of the office are losing out on major advances in office automation and workflow. Here Jimi St Pierre outlines key areas of major design development which carry great significance for all office equipment buyers.
These days, businesses who view the photocopier as a workhorse in a corner of the office are losing out on major advances in office automation and workflow. The latest copier systems have innovative feature areas. Full-colour touchscreen displays, reduced-temperature energy-saving operation, easy and intuitive print scan and network functions - and even futuristic finger-vein-recognition security systems, all these are features which have added major new dimensions to the role of the office digital copier. One telling example can be found in the brand-new Konica Minolta bizhub C550 state-of-the-art multifunctional device. The bizhub C550 represents a major design upgrade in keeping with the philosophy of office technology convergence. More than just a photocopier, it has a radical new design to enable it to be free-standing in the centre of an office. When placed over a power/network hub outlet, such systems show no trailing cables. The design and concept is all about the progressive idea of the networked document imaging system at the heart of the business enterprise. Here are some additional pointers to consider when upgrading your old workplace copier: Practical Operational Information A good quality touch screen display that can be both rotated and tilted to suit a desired position to avoid glare is a great enhancement. This is also important for accessibility for wheelchair users. Additionally, an "enlarge screen" mode for easy reading and keystroke entry will help partially-sighted staff, as well as making the system easy and intuitive to operate for all users in a busy office environment. Energy-Saving Operation Does your potential purchase offer environment-friendly manufactured toner, whilst still maintaining high-quality print and copy? Razor-sharp text and lines and highly durable print finish are hugely important – but so are the currently escalating environmental concerns, which can only grow in the long expected lifetime of any new purchase. Latest available technology uses induction heat transfer, a safe and instant source of heat that enables image fusing at lower temperatures than conventional fusing. This has the added benefit of much shorter warm-up times. This ensures energy savings and maximum quality of print and copy results. Easy Networking and Security Open platform (OP) architecture such as offered by Konica Minolta for example, features an image controller, a unified driver for the print and scan functions, as well as straightforward network integration. Such powerful functions ensure maximum office workflow. With its own hard drive, the copier system can act as a common workstation, with password-protected subfolders and with each staff member able to communicate via documents to all colleagues on the network as well as to his/her own PC desktop. Additional security to look for is a PDF encryption system to prevent unauthorised tampering with PDF files. A password which can be set to open, print or edit a file is ideal. And with secure printing, confidential documents should only be released to print via a password. Password-based security is of course nothing new. However, latest developments include finger-vein-imaging technology (even more accurate than fingerprints) which can do away with the need for staff to remember passwords. Tailored Finishing via Modules Several systems are available in modular form for maximum flexibility and a tailored solution. Such systems come with a range of high productivity finishing options including sorting, stapling and saddle stitching, as well as two- and four-hole punching capabilities. In addition to copy, print and scan functions, a fax module can also be considered for external document transfers. Printing choices can be in monochrome and full colour. Duplex (2-sided) printing is an important cost-saving function. Look out also for paper trays capacity and ability to handle paper weights up to 256 gsm . Also look out for the capability of the bypass tray for exceptional or one-off copying tasks - can it handle paper and card weights up to 300 gsm? Finishing options to look for include letterfold and centrefold for easy preparation of documents (eg invoice runs) for envelope-stuffing, as well as booklet (eg folding A3 paper to A4 and stapling), general stapling and group sorting for runs of multi-page documents. Summary With continuous innovation in design and functions, the humble photocopier of yesterday is making way to revolutionary new systems which are setting the standard for new generation multifunctional office equipment.