Posts Tagged ‘Standard Duplicating’

How Does a Digital Duplicator Work?

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Standard Brand Digital DuplicatorIf you need to create mass copies, in the hundreds or even thousands, you may want to consider using a machine called a digital duplicator (found here). While you may never have seen a digital duplicator in person, they look very similar to a toner-based Xerox copy machine. So what is a digital duplicator and how do they work?

Are you familiar with ditto machines or mimeograph machines? I can still remember (perhaps this is showing my age) in school people asking for a ditto of something on the ditto machine. Both Ditto Machines (aka Spirit Duplicators) and Mimeograph machines utilize direct contact with paper to print text. Digital duplicators, in a way, borrow ideas from these technologies to create a modern-day ink-printing machine.

Using a digital duplicator is very similar to using a toner-based copy machine, like a Xerox copier, but the actual printing process is very different. Here is a step-by-step breakdown on how the process works.

  1. First you place your document, text facing down, on the glass scanning surface of the machine.
  2. The digital duplicator scans the image off the paper.
  3. The image is then burned onto a wax-based master via tiny dots. Different duplicators have different resolutions referred to as DPI (dots per inch).
  4. The master is then wrapped around an ink drum.
  5. The drum, filled with ink, squeezes ink out through the tiny holes on the master.
    As the drum rotates, it rolls over paper, leaving the image on the paper.
  6. The paper exits the machine and the process either continues with more paper or ends.

The ink dries very fast. If you are concerned about the ink not being dry enough, I recommend using an air paper jogger. They are designed to quickly dry ink for use with digital duplicators or even with offset printers.

One of the first digital duplicators created, around 1986, was made by the Riso Kaguka Corporation. Their machines were often referred to as Riso or Risograph machines. While Riso machines are still used today, digital duplicators made by Ricoh and Standard Duplicating are more commonly used.

So why would you want to use a digital duplicator? Ink is far less expensive than toner. If you plan on printing a lot of text, perhaps for a manual, menu, flier or other documentation, a duplicator makes a lot of sense.

So why are copy machines more popular? Copy machines are often used to create one, two or perhaps a few dozen copies at a time. In small quantities, toner-based copy machines cost less to operate. The most expensive part of using a digital duplicator is the master. The price, however, drops dramatically once you start making 25 or more copies.

Digital Duplicator SuppliesCopies made on a traditional copy machine typically run around $0.02 a copy. Duplicators, once you hit around 200 copies, costs about $0.004 a copy. Simply put, a duplicator (at 25 or more copies) costs less to operate. The text printing quality of a digital duplicator is just as good as a toner-based copy machine.

You can read more about duplicator operation costs by reading our Digital Duplicator School Guide found here.

You can find our entire selection of Standard digital duplicators here and our entire selection of Ricoh, Riso and Standard masters and inks here. Please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions about digital duplicators.

Digital Duplicator Ink & Drums FAQ

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Standard Duplicating & Ricoh Digital DuplicatorsI have had a lot of people ask me questions recently about what types of ink can and which drums can be used with their Digital Duplicators. While digital duplicators are pretty easy to use, once you have a little basic training, there are a few catches that you need to be aware of now to prevent headaches later down the road. These are just a few of them.

Digital Duplicator Ink & Drums FAQ

Does duplicator ink instantly dry once it leaves the machine?
While the ink does dry quickly, it may still be slightly wet once it leaves the duplicator. It isn’t wet enough to cause ink transfer to surrounding copies, but may smear or get on your hands if immediately touched. You should be fine to touch the copy after 30-60 seconds. Many people use paper joggers to quicken the drying process.

Are Standard and Ricoh duplicator supplies interchangeable?
Standard and Ricoh digital duplicators are made in the same factory, which allows ink and masters to be interchangeable. The only tough part is determining which Standard model matches up with the Ricoh equivalent.

Can I use multiple colors in my duplicator’s drum? The quick answer to this question is no. You truly need a dedicated drum for the color you are using. I have seen people put blue ink in a drum that was previously used with red. Let’s just say the end results looked pretty bad and the drum was pretty much ruined. Once a drum has been contaminated with different color ink, it cannot be cleaned out.

Can digital duplicators print full color? The answer to this is yes and no, depending on the machine you are using. Some duplicators have the ability to use multiple drums at the same time, allowing them to print full color prints. Most duplicators, however, are monochrome, which require multiple passes (using interchanged drums) to produce multiple colors.

What kind of dpi (dots per inch) can I expect with my duplicator? You can expect anywhere from 300 x 400 dpi up to 600 x 600 dpi, depending on the duplicator.

Can duplicator ink bleed through paper? I’m not aware of this being an issue. Most digital duplicators allow you to speed them up or slow them down. If the ink is being laid on too thick (potentially bleeding through), I recommend speeding up the duplicator and thinning out the ink.

Are digital duplicators cheaper to operate than a copy machine?
It really all depends on how many copies you are making. If you are only making one or two copies at a time, a copy machine is going to be cheaper. If you are making hundreds to thousands of copies, a digital duplicator will be the cheaper way to go. You can read more about the pricing breakdown differences between duplicators and copy machines here.

I hope these common questions and answers help you in your quest to find a copying machine and I certainly hope that these questions help prevent some headaches later down the road. Having used many digital duplicators myself, I have to say that I’m pretty impressed with the modern take that has been put on an older technology.

You can find our entire selection of digital duplicators here, duplicator ink here and duplicator master rolls here.

Digital Duplicators vs Copy Machines

Friday, August 20th, 2010

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.

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