Imaging hardware: How to get the best bang for your buck
Why price is not the most important factor when purchasing imaging hardware
When shopping for new imaging hardware, many customers look at their budget and let that dictate their purchase. Now I understand that budget is an important factor, however over the last 9 years working with imaging customers, many have purchased equipment based mainly on price – only to discover that it did not meet their long term growth needs.
So in light of these discussions, here are a few bits of wisdom that can be used as a checklist when considering new purchases:
What scanner features are essential to you?
- Color or Black & White (B & W) scanning?
The majority of scanners automatically come with color option but can also provide B & W scanning for smaller document size files.
- How fast do you need the scanner to scan?
Scanners are classed by Pages per Minute (PPM).
- How much volume are you expecting to scan per day, week or month?
Volume and speed is determined by the manufacturer when they develop the scanner.
- Manufacturers group their scanners into categories based on PPM and the Daily Duty Cycle (DDC).
DDC is how many images the scanner can handle on a daily basis. So if you have a large volume of scanning to be completed on a daily basis, a small desktop workgroup scanner will not be sufficient for the volume – it would break down all the time. Here are the general groupings that manufacturers use:
- Workgroup/ Low Volume
Slower, smaller desktop scanners generally under 90PPM and DDC of approximately 500 to 20,000 documents per day, depending on model purchased.
- Departmental/ Mid Volume
Scanning speeds ranging 90-125PPM and DDC of approximately 30,000 to 125,000 documents per day, depending on model purchased.
- High Volume
Scanning speeds ranging 140-210PPM and DDC of approximately 150,000 to unlimited documents per day, depending on model purchased.
When scanning directly to a network, without the need of additional hardware or software. Scanning speeds tend to be slower for these scanners, generally under 60PPM and DDC of 6,000 per day, depending on model purchased.
What are the characteristics of your document?
- How big are your batches of documents that you want to scan at one time?
Scanners come with different Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) sizes, ranging from 10 pages at a time to scan, up to 750 pages. If you have a large production scanning environment, the more the ADF holds the quicker the scan operator can scan documents. Generally scanners that have higher ADF also have higher PPM and DDC.
- You need to determine the general sizes of your documents.
What is the maximum and minimum sizes, what length are the documents? Larger or longer documents (11 x 17” or 12 x 34”) do require a flatbed scanner or scanner that can handle longer documents.
- Are they delicate documents that cannot be run through a scanner? This would also indicate you may need a flatbed scanner or a flatbed attachment to the scanner.
- Do you require pre-scan or post-scan imprinting?
- Is the scanner easy to clean every day by the user?
Are the consumables (rollers etc.) easy to replace by the end user? This can save money and time on the maintenance of the scanner and ensure optimum image clarity and scanning performance.
What value-add does the vendor/manufacturer offer?
- Does the manufacturer offer evaluation or demo scanners for you to test before the purchase?
This is important when purchasing larger production scanners, it will help determine which scanner is the best fit for your scanning needs.
- What type of scanner hardware maintenance contracts does the manufacturer offer?
Some include 1 year or multiple years in with the scanner purchase price and will save you money.
- Will shipping be included in the initial purchase or is it an additional cost?
Many customers work with ImageSource to help them select the best fit, or to evaluate scanners side by side to determine what is the best bang for their buck. As you can see from the information above, sometimes price is not the only factor to consider with your new purchase.Let us help you!
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