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The Evolution of the Photocopier through to the Digital Age

photoThe photocopier is a staple in the workplace, right up there alongside the printers and coffee makers we simply can’t work without. However most coffee makers are not all that high tech and the high tech 3D printers haven’t quite made it into the office environment just yet. Despite developments in printing technology, the photocopier hasn’t seen much change in recent years – is this because there’s no need for innovation, or is it because of something entirely different?

How it started

The photocopier made its office debut in the 1970’s and truth be told many office photocopiers haven’t seen much of a makeover since then. The only changes most photocopiers have seen over the years are mostly superficial ones. The only real advancement in the early years was the development of the combi photocopier and printer – a model which is still popular to this day.

New Technology

The traditional photocopier started as an optical scanner in which a light is shone on the original document from below. This light is then reflected onto a light-sensitive film belt or drum, giving it an electronic charge and producing a negative of the document, similar to the way that old film cameras would. Paper is then passed over the drum where it receives another electronic charge to produce the copied document. Due to the fact that the copies start life as a negative duplicate of the original, the copies are normally of a poorer quality than the modern standard.

The main difference between optical to digital copiers is the process in how the document is processed. With a digital photocopier the document is first scanned and saved as an electronic file which is then used to print a direct replica. All modern photocopiers use digital copying because of the massive difference in print quality that can be seen between the two technologies.

Digital Era

Technology has come a long way since the 1970’s. Despite this, many companies have failed to make the leap to the high tech office, mostly due to the high cost of purchasing new office equipment. The most modern of these photocopiers is basically a multifunctioning printer, combining the functionality of a scanner, printer, photocopier and fax machine with the benefits of Wireless Technology. In recent years it has become more and more common for offices to begin investing in colour photocopiers, though the price of these models is still outside of many business’ price brackets. Given time (and the right deal on the price of a photocopier & toner), these new models could quickly catapult many businesses into the digital age.

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