Modern offices have a wide range of technologies in them these days, from network-ready projectors to video conferencing equipment. Although photocopiers have been around since the 1960s, they are still very much in use in Australia. Nowadays, leading copier manufacturers produce multi-function units which can do a variety of jobs. Let's compare the number of contemporary copying devices still in common use today.
A digitising form of technology, scanners convert paperwork into documents which can be viewed on a screen. Commonly, they are used to digitise field paperwork, drawings and customer records so that they can be uploaded to a server for later retrieval. This means that there is no need to copy the device from its initial image directly onto paper. Instead, multiple operatives can all look at the same digitised file at the same time, if wanted, from their computer terminals. However, a paper copy can be produced later by simply printing out the image. Scanners are either document fed, which means they pull the paper through, or flatbed, which means a scan is made without the paper needing to move.
An older type of technology, analogue photocopiers use mirrors and lenses to capture an image of what is to be copied and then place it on something called a platen roller. This is light sensitive and when combined with copier toner creates a copied image. These can only really handle sharp black and white images with little grey tonality. This type of technology needs the most frequent photocopier servicing due to the amount of moving parts involved.
Developed for sending documents over standard telephone lines, facsimile machines are still used today but have largely given way to e-mail as a form of written communication. Most facsimile machines have an integrated scanner which digitises an A4 image prior to sending it to another machine via a modem. Used in a standalone fashion, most fax machines can operate like a copier thanks to their integrated scanner and printer. However, they tend to be good for one copy only and are slow.
Modern copiers are rapid and can produce multiple pages of copies in seconds. Often able to handle several different paper types, some copiers are also capable of stapling documents together and can even scan both sides of a sheet of paper. An up-to-date colour photocopier is able to produce very high-quality images, too, such as copies of photographs and colour-coded charts – something that analogue copiers are not very good at.