By Olivia Cahoon
Organizations that demand mass copies look beyond the average copy machine to handle printed material. Digital duplicators offer cost effective and efficient short runs of static output. They are designed for high-volume print jobs of at least 20 copies and handle heavier papers than the average copy machine.
Digital duplicators print up to three million sheets per month and are capable of printing up to 130 pages per minute (ppm). A digital duplicator scans an image and transfers the image onto a master template using thermal imaging. The master template is then wrapped around an ink drum, which is filled with ink, and rotates so the ink is transferred onto the paper.
Kristina Donehew-Tamilio, marketing manager, RISO, says that RISO’s parent company, RISO Kagaku Corporation, invented the digital duplicator in 1986. Since then, digital duplicators have improved speed and quality to meet today’s demands.
Standard digital duplicators print a maximum of 11×17-inch paper and handle nearly 115 lbs. of paper stock. Sheet feed stacking devices can go as high as 3,000 papers, like the Standard Finishing System SD710 digital duplicator.
Digital duplicators produce up to speeds of 45 to 180 ppm and in a variety of different color combinations. For example, the Ricoh DD3334 digital duplicator has 11 color inks and an optional 100-sheet automatic reverse document feeder for two-sided copies.
These devices are also available for a range of price points. Duplo’s digital duplicators range from $1,995 to $19,995 for basic entry level table top duplicators. Their devices have a monthly volume of two to three million sheets per month and handle text, photo, and pencil image mode applications.
“Digital duplicators are easy to use from programming a job on the control panel to replacing ink cartridges and master rolls,” says Kevin Chen, product manager, Duplo. Most digital duplicators include an LCD panel display with options for finishing and printing, and have USB capabilities. The LCD display provides ease of use for operators to read the options and increase productivity.
Digital duplicators are capable of stapling, stacking, sorting, and some include add-on features for folding, stitching, and trimming. Duplo’s higher end digital duplicators feature a paper stacker tray with a fan for neat and consistent sheet stacks and a 15-step paper separation adjustment for improved feeding.
“Digital duplicators’ simple design makes it easy for anyone to operate. By adding the optional USB interface, users can adjust the image quality and send two-color jobs directly to the duplicator from their own computer” says Chen.
Unlike copy machines, which only handle flat sheets, digital duplicators print a variety of papers. They are commonly used for printing heavy card stock, envelopes, tickets, business cards, manuals, menus, and fliers. Because digital duplicators print large volumes of the same print, they are found amongst organizations and committees who have the need for continuous copies.
“A large share of our digital duplicator business is done with churches, schools, and municipalities—organizations that might have need of a machine more productive and cost efficient than a copier,” says Jack Mathews, product specialist, Standard Finishing Systems.
Some duplicators are ecologically friendly, like RISO’s soy-based ink and new ink formulation developed out of rice bran, a waste material that is usually discarded. “This more ecologically responsible material allows more soybeans to be processed as a food source,” says Donehew-Tamilio. After the rice bran oil is extracted for ink, it is used as fertilizer or animal feed. Most digital duplicators include energy saving performance features to use less power and produce less heat. They may also have mercury free LCD displays.
Duplicating or Copying
Digital duplicators serve a specific role in the print space. They are a cost-effective alternative to copy machines and handle short runs of large volume static print to print up to speeds of 180 ppm at 600 dpi. These devices are designed for high-volume jobs of over 20 copies and are popularly used in educational, church, and non-profit settings. As these devices advance, their benefits for customers improve.
Jan2017, DO Magazine