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You are being redirected to ABC Office. Why? has joined their sister company ABC Office to provide our customers with a greater product selection, while offering the same great prices and service you have come to love and expect!If you have questions or concerns during this transition please give us a call at 1-800-658-8788, or email us at sales@abcoffice.com.


Digital Duplicators vs Copy Machines

Standrad SD360 Digital Duplicator / Duplicating CopierThere are copy machines and then there are digital duplicators. While the goal may be the same, both technologies use totally different approaches. I am going to go into a few details on the benefits of each technology. I’ll let you decide which technology is best for you.

To begin with, the supply used to actually print an image is completely different. A copy machine uses toner to create images and text where a digital duplicator uses ink to create an image.

Copy Machines (Xerographic) – A copy machine uses an electrostatically charged cylindrical drum to create images. A bright lamp illuminates the document being copied. White areas of the paper are then illuminated onto the drum. Areas of the drum that are not exposed to light become negatively charged. The toner is positively charged, sticking to the drum. The drum then transfers this image to paper, which is then melted and bonded to the paper.

Digital Duplicators – A digital duplicator also uses a drum as well as a sheet of wax paper-like material called a master. As the document is scanned, tiny holes are burned into the master, creating the image in tiny dots. This master is then wrapped around the drum. Ink is placed inside the drum. As the drum spins, ink seeps out of pores on the drum, which then leak out of the tiny holes burned into the master. This master then rolls over the paper, creating the image.

While these are two fairly simplistic descriptions, you can see that the technologies are very different. The reasons for using one technology over the other varies, depending on what you will be doing.

With digital duplicators, the initial cost of creating a new master costs more than a copy machine, but the costs drops quickly as more copies are made. Since ink costs so much less than toner, you pretty much break even at about 25 copies. Everything after 25 copies then costs far less than a toner-based copy machine.

Digital Duplicator vs Copy Machine Price Comparison

Copies on a toner-based copy machine (xerox-style) cost about 1.6 to 2 cents a copy. This cost never goes down. Copies on a digital duplicator initially cost slightly more, but with quantity (150 plus copies) the price goes down to as much as 0.004 cents a copy.  Also take into consideration that copy machines make about 35 to 50 copies a minute, where digital duplicators can create about 130 copies a minute.

Ultimately if you plan on creating a few copies here and there, which is a lot of us, a copy machine will cost less to operate. If you plan on creating dozens to hundreds of copies of the same thing, a digital duplicator will cost far less to operate.

You can find our entire selection of Standard digital duplicators here. Do you still have questions about copy machine and digital duplicators? You can read our digital duplicator guide (found here) or speak with one of our duplicating specialists at 1-800-658-8788.

Keith Barlow

Keith is a third generation office equipment expert. ABC Office was started by his grandfather back in 1980 and he is proud to be caring on the values that made ABC Office what it is today… unsurpassed selection, detailed information, low prices, and courteous support.

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