It seems that with the mass proliferation of MFPs – devices that conveniently combine everything you need in one package, often with a very attractive price/performance ratio – scanners should have been reduced, if not disappeared as a species, then to a couple of copies in the product line.
But the number of current scanning devices in Canon’s or Epson’s lineup indicates that not only have they not lost their relevance, but they also provide the consumer with the opportunity to choose based on their needs.
Let’s try to understand why and who needs document scanners these days.
How does it work?
Technology does not stand still, including the development of scanning devices. Over the past few decades, scanner models have become cheaper, more compact, more productive, faster, and most importantly, the quality of the resulting image has improved several times over.
Nevertheless, the basic principles of image capture and device classification have remained practically unchanged. In a nutshell, scanning devices can be categorized based on their purpose, type, and technology of the photosensitive element in the scanner.
There are many kinds of scanners, but the most common models are home, office, and industrial scanners, whose main differences are performance and ability to withstand different kinds of stress.
Leaving aside specialized models like film or handheld scanners, the type of device can be classified into flatbed models, document scanners, and network scanners.
Flatbed scanners are probably the most familiar and common type of device in everyday use, in which a document is placed on a transparent flatbed. They are practically not used in organizations since the design eliminates the possibility of working with large volumes of documents. Nevertheless, flatbed scanners are used as a supplement (as a separate device or as a special accessory) to a document scanner because they allow the scanning of various stapled documents. To choose the right flatbed scanner, we recommend checking our list of the best flatbed scanners.
But the real heroes of offices are document scanners because they allow for the automation of the process of transferring large volumes of various information from paper to digital space. The design of such devices somewhat resembles a traditional printer: an automatic sheet feeder, consisting of a system of rollers and guides, pulls the scanned original in front of a stationary image capture sensor.
One type of document scanner is a network scanner. These devices connect directly to your existing network infrastructure and can operate independently without a connection to a computer or mobile device.
As for the technology of the light-sensitive element, in most cases, scanning devices can be categorized into one of two types according to this criterion: CCD (Charge Coupled Device) and CIS scanners (Contact Image Sensor).
As for the technology of the light-sensitive element, in most cases scanning devices can be of one of two types: CCD (Charge Coupled Device) and CIS scanners (Contact Image Sensor).
Without going into too much detail, the CCD scanner is based on a white light source, a relatively complex system of mirrors and lenses, and a light-sensitive element.
CIS technology consists of RGB LEDs and a web with the same photosensors, equal in width to the scanning working field. The sensors directly perceive the light flux from the original, and the optical system is completely absent.
In current models of scanners company Canon, which at one time was the initiator of the introduction of this technology, now uses high-quality CIS CMOS image sensors. This not only allows for the most compact size of the device and the use of various form factors but also ensures the high quality of the scanned image.
The key advantages of scanning devices over MFPs today are their significantly smaller size, specialization and performance in particular, and overall cost-to-performance ratio. Given that the need to print for a workgroup can most often be easily offset by a single print device or MFP, buying multiple additional scanners will make more sense in terms of allocating company resources.
In addition, most one-size-fits-all solutions simply can’t handle the high volumes that professional scanners can. MFP designers try to balance the cost of the device and the lifetime of all components, while the technical component of scanners must meet the highest requirements for the scanning process.
Simply put, if the nature of your department or organization involves transferring large amounts of data from physical media to digital form and/or if you are faced with specific tasks in terms of document processing, then scanning devices can be the solution to your problem, due to their higher efficiency.
For example, if you often work out of the office or travel on business and want to reduce your copy center costs, the ultra-compact handheld scanners are the answer. They are small in size (the imageFORMULA P-208II, for example, is no larger than a stationery line) and offer users all the features of a modern scanning device, including automatic sheet feeder and high-speed duplex scanning: 8 or 15 pages per minute, depending on the model.
For environments where you might not expect to have a lot of space or a full PC workstation, such as reception desks and point-of-sale areas, the network scanners are the ideal solution.