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Photocopier Peripherals

Peripherals that can be added to your photocopier

Peripherals are commonly regarded as additional devices that can be added to a basic machine. Common devices usually include things like document feeders, finishers, extra paper decks or cassettes, duplex units and cabinets. Over the years these pieces of equipment have also changed with their functions now packed into smaller units, mainly thanks to the digital copiers ability to scan a document once and print many copies. Additional functions that are now quite common are booklet makers and hole punch units. These features give the user the ability to produce complete documents without the need for a second (usually manual) finishing process.

Copier peripherals can be quite expensive, but are highly effective at reducing the time required to produce quantities of large documents. Offices, schools, colleges and copy shops that usually have a high output can benefit immensely, as this frees their staff to perform other duties while the copier completes the job. Smaller users can also benefit, as it can give them the opportunity to produce a complete document in house at a reduced cost. However the costs and benefits would need to be weighed up carefully to justify the extra costs. A big plus for some peripherals like finishers and extra paper sources is that these functions are available via the print option. So in effect you can use all the functions of the photocopier from your computer including staple, sort and booklet making.

Below is a list of common terms for peripherals with their functions:

  • An automatic document feeder is also known as an ADF, RDF, SRDF, DF, DP, document processor, doc feed and multi sheet feeder to name just a few. Its main purpose is to allow many pages to be scanned automatically at once.
  • A finisher is also known as a sorter, collator, DF or document finisher to name a few. Their main purpose is to complete large numbers of documents in the correct order and that may also include staples, punched holes or in booklet format depending on the functions available.
  • Extra paper sources are also referred to as, cassettes, paper drawer or paper deck. As you would expect they hold extra paper for higher volume output or for different paper sizes, colours or types e.g. letter headed paper, forms and invoices to name but a few.
  • Duplex also commonly known as double siding. Used to automatically allow printing on both sides. This unit is usually standard on larger machines but is also standard on some particular smaller ones.
  • Cabinet is also known as cab pedestal or ped. This is basically a wheeled base for a floor standing machine that incorporates a cupboard for storage.

Points to consider when choosing peripherals.

1. Finishers tend to be complex so make sure it will be able to cope with the volume you intend to put through it. Some finishers on smaller machines may not be able to cope with large volumes.

2. Check that the paper type you intend to put through the device is within its limits. Paper that is too thick or too thin will cause problems; also pre printed media may pose some problems.

3. Many new digital A3/ A4 photocopiers offer a standard electronic system that will allow a basic collate or sort function for A4 size pages. For A4 pages (this may be referred to as rotate sort) this basically involves having two separate A4 paper sources available, with one set in the standard orientation (portrait) and the other set at 90 degrees (landscape). The machine simply takes from the first paper source for the first document and then from the second source for the next, and continues swapping until the desired amount of copies is achieved. This has the effect of crossing each set of documents, allowing for easy separation when the job is complete.
On A4 only desktop machines, electronic collate means arranging the output in its correct sequence, but without rotating each complete document to allow for easy separation. This is because of the physical size restraints of the machine.

4. Finishers, duplex units and extra paper sources are similar for large printers as well.


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