Document scanners differ from your everyday image scanner because they are configured to scan documents in the fastest way at optimal cost. Document scanners are equipped with a high-speed document feeder that can scan from 20 – 150 documents per minute and are intended for commercial or industrial establishments that deal with a large volume of documents in document management systems.
Most document scanners scan in grayscale although some have the capability to scan documents in color. The resolution of most document scanners is within the range of 150 – 300 dpi but some machines have capabilities that are high enough to enable Optical Character Recognition (OCR) without having to eat up file storage space.
Many document scanners employ laser cleaning technology to clean up the document being scanned by removing dust and scratches that may obscure the laser scan. They also have the capability of erasing accidental marks, sharpening the text and compressing the scanned file so it uses less storage space.
Most major manufacturers engaged in photocopying provide document scanners. The most prominent among these are Kodak, Fujitsu, Panasonic, Canon and HP. Other name companies such as Ricoh, Brother and Xerox also have their own models in the market.
Document scanners are available in a wide range of prices, depending upon the features offered by each brand and model. The prices can start from a little over $100 for a simple, portable model to more than $30,000 for an ultra-sophisticated model loaded with add-ons and offering top-of-the-line resolution in color or grayscale.
Other options offered by document scanner manufacturers relate to the machine’s scanner interface, maximum color depth, platform compatibility, the light source type and the physical dimensions of the machine.
More than any of these characteristics, however, the archiving and indexing capability of the document scanner is of primary importance. This is provided by the software that is integrated into the machine’s scanning system and should be the basis in determining the machine’s compatibility with the document management requirements of a company. Most manufacturers of document scanners provide detailed information about their products online, making it easy to compare one brand with another. Many companies also provide customized solutions for specific situations, especially for high-volume customers.
In summary, then, the primary considerations in choosing from among different document scanners are feeder speed, paper handling, scan resolution and indexing capabilities. An individual company’s requirements in terms of volume, speed, flexibility and cost will ultimately determine which of the many available document scanners provides optimum results.