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Photocopier types

A photocopier (also known as a copier or copy machine) is a machine that makes paper copies of documents and other visual images quickly and cheaply. Most current photocopiers use a technology called xerography - a dry process using heat fusion. Copiers can also use other output technologies, such as ink jet, but this is used primarily in smaller low-end devices, more suitable for home office use. Xerography is the standard for office copying.

They type of photocopier you will need depends on the volume and type of copying you do each day. You may only require a small number of documents to be copied, such as accounts or bills, or you may need to copy higher volumes. Photocopiers come in a variety of sizes and copy speeds vary between models.

The basic types of copiers available now on the market are:

Mono copiers
Mono, or monochrome, means that a copier or multifunction device uses only one colour of toner - black.
For office use, these machines come in a range of sizes, from low-end low volume copiers to high-speed, high volume machines that can copy or print 100+ pages per minute.  

Colour copiers
A colour copier is able to copy in colour as well as black and white. Business colour copiers and multifunction devices usually have 4 drums and 4 toner reservoirs or cartridges, sometimes more, which contain the 4 primary colours, Cyan (C), Yellow (Y), Magenta (M) and Black (K). By mixing these four colours, all other colours are created.

Multifunctional copiers
A copier is called multifunctional when it can do more than just copying. These days almost all office copiers sold are actually digital multifunction devices, or MFD’s, also known as MFP’s - Multifunction Products, Multifunction Printers or All in One Printers or devices.

The typical functionalities of these devices are copying, printing, scanning and faxing. The newest models also have internet access, can be connected to an office network to send documents to various locations with Scan to e-mail, Scan to Folder (SMB), Scan to FTP, Scan to USB and WSD Scanning (Windows® Vista) functionality. They can print from portable devices such as laptops via a wireless or USB connection and can be loaded with customised software for document management functions such as OCR (Optical Character Recognition). They also come with document finishing options, such as stapling and booklet folding with saddle stitch.

With additional software options available directly from the vendor or via third party vendors, modern multifunction devices can become a complete document print management and archiving solution for the office

Analog copiers
There are not many analog copiers being sold nowadays. An analog copier uses lights, lenses and mirrors to reflect an image of a document placed on the platen of the copier onto a photo receptor for printing. These older type of copiers are much more prone to mechanical failure, as more moving parts are involved in the copying process. Most manufacturers are phasing them out entirely and support and parts will become more difficult to find in the coming years.

Digital copiers
A digital copier is the modern, digital version of the old analog copier. Digital office copiers are often in fact digital multifunction copiers. 

Desktop copiers
Some smaller copiers, or even multi-function devices, are designed to be placed on a desk or some sort of bench top and are named appropriately a ‘desktop model’. Desktop copiers are usually designed for A4 paper (or smaller) only, as the larger A3 paper size would make the actual machine too big and heavy to be placed on a desk.

A3 office copiers and multifunctionals always come with an optional stand or cabinet, which can be used for paper or toner storage, or they can be configured with additional paper tray modules, which raise the machine to the required height for normal usage.

Network copiers
As the name says, these machines can be connected to the office network for remote printing, PC faxing and ‘scan-to’ functionality. Pretty much all digital copiers and multifunctions have either a standard network card built-in or it is available as an option.
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