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Copy for copy.

In business, paper is synonymous with copying, and copy machines have not lost their prominence or vigor. While copier sales have been slowed down by a recessionary economy, copier use among office workers is growing--if paper sales are a gauge. According to a report prepared by New York-based market research company Frost & Sullivan Inc., the market for copier and printer paper is expected to grow from $3.5 billion in 1990 to $5.6 billion in 1995. Even though copier equipment sales are expected to grow by only 1% each year until 1944, according to market research company BIS Strategic Decisions in Norwell, Mass., the increasing use of paper bodes well for copier equipment manufacturers and their customers alike.

Manufactures, such as Canon USA Inc., Lake Success, N.Y.; Ricoh Corp., West Caldwell, N.J.; Eastman Kodak Co., Rochester, N.Y., and Sharp Electronic Corp., Mahwah, N.J., are riding out the slow economic times by offering users more options through upgrades and add-ons in addition to new product introductions.

The copier market climate, whether the company leases or uses the machine on a cost-per-copy basis, is making its appeal to a more astute customer, according to Carl Lindquist, a senior consultant with BIS Strategic Decisions. "A lot of people are holding onto their machines and are choosing to upgrade." The market is still advantageous for those who want new machines, adds Lindquist, particularly those with digital, full-color or multifunction capability that opens up new possibilities.

Small to medium-size businesses, many of which have been pinched by the economy, might consider as a viable alternative upgrading and enhancing their current machines for an additional year or two, increasing copy-per-minute capacities. The major distinctions between vendors' copiers are based primarily on expected monthly volumes and copy-per-minute performance levels.

Personal copiers, which are best suited for the home office, generally handle volumes up to 400 copies per month and operate at or below 10 copies per minute. Most small to medium-size copiers manage volumes ranging from 1,400 to 9,150 copies per month and produce 45 copies per minute. The larger copiers--often referred to as central xerographic duplicating machines--are capable of managing 195,000-plus copies per month and producing more than 90 copies per minute.

Canon offers the NP1500, which produces 15 copies per minute. It features a 250-sheet front-loading cassette that handles letter-, legal- or ledger-size paper, an automatic document feeder that holds 30 letter-size originals, and a 10-bin sorter that holds 30 sheets of paper. The NP1500 lists for $2,795. Canon's NP1010 has a 500-sheet loading capacity and runs at 20 copies per-minute. Optional accessories include a 30-sheet automatic document feeder, a 1,000-sheet paper deck, a control card system that identifies up to 200 users and an interchangeable color toner. The list price for the NP2020 is $3,695.

Sharp offers a range of low- and high-end copiers. Its SF-9400 produces 50 copies per minute and has automatic duplexing capabilities. The unit retails for $13,500. The SD-2075 produces 75 copies per minute. A built-in software program enables the operator to develop customized programs. Another standard feature is a computer-forms feeder that handles up to 1,000 sheets of computer paper. The SD-2075 retails for $33,000.

The latest line of desktop copiers from Minolta Corp., Ramsey, N.J., include the EP 2151 and EP 3170. The 2151 produces 15 copies per minute and handles monthly volumes up to 3,500. The other compact model, the 3170, produces 17 copies per minute and manages up to 10,000 copies monthly. The two retail for $2,795 and $3,095, respectively.

For businesses that need multifunctional or full-color capability, Ricoh offers the NC100 and DS320FX. The NC100, which lists for $13,495 and also provides black and white functionality, is geared toward companies that need to produce business graphics and desktop-publishing documents.

Color copying remains an expensive commodity, but the NC100 produces copies at 8 1/2 cents to 10 cents each. The SD320FX combines a plain-paper laser facsimile with a full-featured digital copier. It retails for $9,995. The average selling price for color copiers was approximately $22,000 in 1991, but the cost is expected to fall to $14,000 by 1995.

The most significant trend this year will be an increase in digital copying, analysts say. While graphic and design firms still have more use for digital copiers, general business users are beginning to see their benefits as well. Digital copiers can provide flexible editing capabilities, including expanding, outlining and reversing type.

Typically, multifunctional copiers accommodate such functions as faxing, printing and scanning. About 350,000 units will be sold by 1994 at a value of $1.5 billion, according to BIS Strategic Decisions. Multifunction copiers take up less space and use digital technology. Lindquist warns, however, that multifunctional copier users should make sure that the cost is less than the sum of all the parts.
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Title Annotation:copiers
Author:Greene, Marvin
Publication:Black Enterprise
Date:Apr 1, 1992
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