The convergence of digital technologies continues apace with the latest incarnation of this phenomenon arriving via print technology distributor Star Micronics. New from Avision is a product called ScanCopier, which hangs directly off a network laser printer without needing a PC, thus giving the printer most of the functionality of a photocopier.
Using a plug-and-play philosophy, the ScanCopier uses a pass through parallel port to get connected between a PC and printer with no software or drivers needed. When a PC and colour printer is included in the loop, the device also utilises full colour copy capability.
Leon Howe, managing director of Star Micronics, is very excited about the potential of the product and claims to be receiving significant interest from small and large resellers wherever it is demonstrated.
"All sorts of enterprises immediately recognise the benefits introduced by this product once they see it," said Howe. "Where a lot of them would not consider buying a photocopier because of the excessive costs, this becomes a cost-effective alternative.
"This product is effectively both a digital scanner and copier. Low-end digital copiers start at around $5000," he said.
The product uses a flatbed scanner with 30-bit colour and 10-bit grey modes at 300 x 600dpi optical resolution. It can copy sizes from A4 up to a maximum of 8.5 x 14in (legal documents) with manual zoom from 25 through to 400 per cent. It uses 15 watts of power, weighs just 3.7kg, fills a 356 x 457 x 91 mm footprint and will support any PCL capable laser printer.
The speed of the copying operation is only restricted by the speed of the laser printer to which it is attached, and there are many good options on the market at below $1000.
Software bundled with the ScanCopier includes Quick Selector for scanning, PaperCom for document management applications, Xerox TextBridge for optical character recognition (OCR) and MGI PhotoSuite for image editing.
"We'll have some sceptics," Howe said. "But once they see the product in action they will be convinced. A few weeks ago, Everything Computers in North Sydney sold six of them while we were in the shop demonstrating the product."
The RRP for ScanCopier is $799 although Howe said stock may be limited over the first few months because the manufacturer is having trouble keeping up with demand in the US.
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