Copier and Printer Glossary

BMPBMP stands for “Bitmap.” A bitmap image is a cumbersome format, and just about the largest in terms of file-size. Bitmaps are not “compressed” like other image formats are; every little square “pel” is identified and stored in memory. The “resolution” in terms of “dots per inch” (dpi) is usually 200x200, 300x300, 600x600 and sometimes higher. At 200x200 a letter-size page is made up of 3,740,000 “pels,” or “picture elements.” And that is when it’s only black and white! In a full-color image there can be four pieces of data for each pel, not just 2. At 300 dpi there are 8,415,000 pels. That’s 8 Megabytes of data! Other scanned image formats, like TIFF, might have 35,000 Kilobytes, or 35 megabytes in storage for black and white. 4-color data is much larger in all cases. Occasionally, the only way to capture a good image is to use the BMP format.
BOX“User Box” or “Job Box” or similar names are virtual document storage “mailboxes” created on a hard drive or “Compact” memory card for a couple of purposes. Documents may be scanned into a document box (User Box) for private use and printing later. Print Jobs may be sent into a “Job Box” with an ad-hoc password applied, for later release with that password. Boxes may hold hundreds or thousands of documents, documents may be retained or deleted after printing, and documents may be “accumulated” until complete and then printed like a single document. Boxes may also be designated as receptacles for FAX messages, usually associated with a single sending number for secure reception.
BUNDLEA “bundle” or a “bundled lease” involves the mixing of a financing contract together with operating expenses like toner and service coverage – things that would normally have separate entries in a Chart of Accounts. Bundles also tend to obscure financial payoff or buyout obligations or their status, making it difficult to assess the relative costs of service, supplies and equipment acquisition.
DADF“Duplex Automatic Document Feeder.” This means that a second digital scan “head” is in the feeder mechanism such that both sides of a 2-sided original may be “captured” with a single pass through the rollers. It requires more powerful image processing inside the MFP, and dramatically speeds up the feeding of 2-sided pages while limiting the risks of feeding problems for originals. DADF’s (also called DSDF, Dual-scan document feeder; or, SPDF, Single-pass document feeder) often have greater original capacity, as many as 200 documents, 250 or even more, partly thanks to less space taken up by the reversing mechanism of RADF’s.
DEVELOPERThere is some form of developer employed for each color in an MFP, whether just for black or for 4 separate colors. Developer “carries” the toner powder up to the surface of a drum where, by the magic of controlled charges on the drum, on the developer roller and of the developer, itself, toner can leave the developer or “jump” to the drum surface and stick almost magnetically to the tiny spots on the drum where print or images are supposed to be, leaving the white, or blank areas free of toner. It all happens in fractions of seconds for up to 4 colors. Developer eventually loses its ability to carry and reclaim toner particles with the precision expected, and it must be replaced.
DOCUMENT FEEDERSDocument feeders, or Document (or Original) handlers are virtually standard on modern MFP’s and rarely is one installed without a “feeder” of one type or another. There are various ways to describe a feeder by type: RADF, DADF, SPDF, DSDF, Reversing ADF and others. All of them provide automatic feeding and stacking of ORIGINALS so that each one doesn’t have to be manually placed on a glass window.
DPI:Dots-per-Inch is the measure for how finely or smoothly print data can be converted to a printed (or scanned) “image” that may be stored electronically or printed on paper.  The first experience most had with “resolution” was for FAX transmissions, although not exactly in true “DPI.”  If resolution is too low, curves look jagged or stepped.  The first laser printer printed at 300 DPI, which means 300 “dots” per inch both horizontally and vertically (300 x 300), and users found it to be crisp and legible on even very small “fonts.”  Today, copy and print pages are usually rendered at 600 by 600 dpi resolution.
DRUMA “drum” is a perfect cylinder coated with “photo-conductive” chemicals, the surface of which can hold a static-electric charge in the dark and give up the charge when light hits it, today usually a laser beam or LED light.  Because of this essential capability drums are sometimes called “photo-conductors.”  By themselves they are remarkable products of metalworking and chemistry, the coatings of which are mirror-like in their smoothness and uniformity.  Without the drum, dry-toner printing would have never come to be.
FINISHINGFinishing is how many MFP’s “complete” or “finish” the copying or printing job.  Finishing usually includes stapling of completed “sets” of 2 or more pages.  Some stapling can do only 20 or 25 sheets; many can do 50, 65 or even up to 100 sheets in a set.  A “finisher” may also be called a “collator” or a “sorter,” but the actual term on a finisher is “stacking.” 
FUSERDry toner or dry “ink” copiers and printers depend upon heat and pressure to make single or multi-color images permanent.  Most fusing mechanisms have two rollers, with one or both heated to a high enough temperature to melt the powder toners that form the image; both are monitored for close tolerance on temperature.  Most commonly there is one “soft” roller that’s not heated, pressing against the hard, usually teflon-coated roller that is heated from within by infrared lamps or by induction.  The teflon roller faces the print-side of the paper because of its non-sticky quality.  The soft roller also is made to not be attractive to toner.  Eventually both rollers lose their non-stickiness and start to leave repeat images on printed pages or smears of toner.  Replacement is the only fix, but this could be upwards of 500,000 or more printed pages before its necessary.  Lower cost machines could have “fuser life” of fewer than 50,000 pages.
HOLE-PUNCHINGMany finishers can be equipped with online 2-hole, 3-hole and sometimes higher punching. The mechanisms punch one sheet at a time, so there is no limit, again, on how many sheets a punched set or group can have. Generally, punching is done at full machine speeds.
INK-JET PRINTING“InkJet.”  Also called "BubbleJet" and other names. Generically, "ink jet" uses a liquid, water-based or alcohol-based ink that may be a dye formulation or be colored by pigments (suspended particles). Early inkjets cause the liquid to boil momentarily in a tiny tube. The expanding "steam" would force a droplet of ink across a very narrow gap to the paper or other material to "print" an image. Liquid ink offers many advantages for high-end, photo-grade prints, but has been limited in its business-class use by being susceptible to moisture, literally washing off the paper in some cases. Newer inks and "print heads" don't rely on bubbles of steam to project onto the paper (or other media), using piezo-electric impulses in very tiny amounts, and inks that don't smear or wash off the paper. The newest inkjets print at 100 pages per minute and even faster, thanks to page-wide "heads" that are stationary while just the paper moves.
IPM“Images-per-minute.”  This is the metric for SCANNING speed, which isn’t quite the same as copy or print speed.  With some originals having two sides, and with variable speeds due to higher or lower RESOLUTIONS (DPI), the measure of how many IMAGES may be captured in a minute is a truer measure of SCAN or CAPTURE speed.
IPP printingSpecial addressing for network-connected printers and MFP’s that allows a user to send a print job from any Internet-connected location, including Smartphones and tablets on WiFi or phone networks.  This function is often done in conjunction with “Secure Printing.”
JAMS“Jam” is the unfortunate result of a very large number of conditions that can keep a printed page from exiting your MFP or printer.  Every one is called a “jam” and modern machines might have, literally, 50 or 80 “Jam Codes” that record where a sheet of paper either never got to, never left or took too long to leave.  Sometimes the sheet is actually “jammed”: all bunched up, torn, or folded like an accordion.  More rarely there are 5 or more sheets trying to make the trip together.  In any case, the machine stops and tells you the sad news in code, pictures or flashing lights.  Most jams, however, are due to a failure of the next sheet to ever leave the paper tray or to a failure of the sensing or “telemetry” systems to keep proper track of it on its journey.  If your machine provides graphic images of where to look, sometimes animated, pay close attention to where it says to look for the last offending piece of paper.  Sometimes “clearing” the jam code requires opening and closing the guides or panels in a specific order, even though you have already removed the paper.
JPEGJPEG (“Jay-Peg”) is a standardized format for digital photography, and may be selected for scanned images as well.  OCR software can “read” text that appears in a JPEG in much the same way that it can in a TIFF or even a PDF image.
LCTAn LCT is a “Large Capacity Tray” and will hold 1,000 to 3,000 sheets of 20 lb. paper (Some are 1,500, some 2,000, 2,500 or 2,700 sheets.)  Amounts of 2,000 or more sheets are usually located below the standard 500-sheet drawers, and form the “BASE” of a console, or floor-model machine, whether an 11 x 17” or 8.5 x 14” system (“A3” or “A4” size machines respectively).  LCT paper supplies are valuable where volumes and/or numbers of users are high.  One trained operator can maintain the LCT tray(s) at capacity, avoiding having users plop paper into a drawer when in a hurry, a common source of mis-feeds.
LEASEA lease is a form of financing often used to render a capital purchase or “acquisition” into a monthly expense, leaving the capital or cash that would have been spent in a big lump to buy the new copier or piece of manufacturing equipment, available for other, shorter-term uses.  Leasing involves specific definitions of what constitutes a “true lease” and not a “time payment” contract that requires depreciation rather than “expensing.”  True leases can be treated like “renting” of equipment, but they are essentially non-cancellable contracts for a number of payments.  Leases with stipulated “Buyout” like “One-dollar Out” leases or “10% Buyout” leases are, technically, not leases and should be accounted for like time-payment notes.
MFPMulti-Functional Printer:  Full array of copier features, able to receive PRINT jobs from one PC or over the network and even over the Internet in many cases (IPP) printing; often with built-in wireless and Near-Field Communication capabilities.  MFP’s also function as “Scanners” standardly, and usually with Color Scan options.
MPTOften referred to as “the bypass,” the MPT is a “Multi-Purpose Tray” for print media like odd-sized papers, labels, cardstock, vellum, transparencies and envelopes.  Most MFP systems can “handle” (or print on) materials as heavy as 110 lb. index paper (often called “cardstock” in error, including in the list of materials your machine allows through the MPT).  Some machines claim to print on 140 lb. or higher, but most office MFPs need to be monitored when handling the heaviest allowable weights of paper.  The important advice is that the operator “tell” the machine what kind of material is going into the MPT by selecting the size and name of the stock before printing or copying.  Different media will be processed more slowly than plain paper so that there is sufficient heat and pressure applied to bond the toner permanently to the various materials.
OCRPDF means Portable Document Format and is an invention of the ADOBE Corporation, often referred to by the brand name, “Acrobat.”  PDF’s are difficult to alter which makes them a stable, secure format for long-term storage.  They may be made impossible to alter or delete when high security is required.  Generally speaking, PDF’s will print with their original scanned appearance and quality regardless of the print device employed.
PULL SCANNING“Pull” refers to fairly local connection between the scanner and the receiving computer, whereby a software application can “run” the scanner from the PC,  That is, rather than registering a “push” location at the MFP, the user puts documents in the scanner or on its “window” and then “tells” the scanner to start processing the page or pages.  As the images are captured, the application software can display them and direct them to their storage location.
PUSH SCANNING“Pushing” an image refers to sending it over a network or the internet, FROM the scan device – usually an MFP – TO the computer or server directory or folder where you want it to be stored.
RADF“Reversing Automatic Document Feeder.” This is a form of feeding that can “capture” both sides of a 2-sided original for purposes of copying, faxing or scanning.  In order to do so an RADF scans the back side first by turning the page over and feeding it past the scanner, followed by another turn-over cycle and feeding the front side past the scanner.  The resulting copy will be printed on both sides so that the final stack of pages has them in the right order.  RADF’s can handle 50 to 150 pages or so, up to either legal or ledger-size originals.
RIPTo “rip” a page or document for printing refers to “Raster Image Processing.”  Data that a writer creates on-screen must be translated into data that drives the print “engine” to put ink where it belongs in varying strengths or densities, and to leave the “white” spaces ink-free.  Most commonly this is done at the print engine, itself, by “the RIP,” which is software and the processing chip-set, that “describes” every dot on the page so that the laser or LED lightsource hits the ones that will receive toner to some degree.  Color images take longer to “RIP” than black and white images; half-tones in gray or color shadings take longer than plain text.  The ability to “RIP” print jobs at close to machine speeds is part of what causes faster machines – especially color machines – to cost more than slower ones.
SCANNINGScanning utilizes the same processing as digital copying, but allows the scanned image to be saved at the MFP without being printed, or “sent” to a folder on a local or networked PC or to e-Mail addresses, usually in “PDF” format.  The scanned image is said to have been “Captured.”  Images may be captured in several “formats,” including PDF, TIFF, JPEG and BMP.  Formal document management or “Electronic Filing” systems store scanned images with some form of manual or automated “Indexing” that makes later retrieval of the images (documents) both accurate and efficient.
SECURE PRINTINGThis function lets a user send print jobs over a Local or Inter-network to a password-protected directory on the MFP or printer, itself. Sometimes a hard-drive or solid-state drive must be added to the device in order to store print jobs. The user can release the job at the device by selecting his or her “Box” or “Job Box,” so-called, and entering the password.
STACKINGStacking by modern MFP finishers has 3 modes: Sequential, Grouping and Offset.  Sequential stacking simply means that “sets” of pages, regardless of how many (up to machine limits), come out in order in one big stack.  A user would have to find the first page of each set to separate them.  Grouping means that the numbers of copies asked for of whatever number of pages, come out in their own “groups” rather than being sequenced into sets.  10 pages with 10 copies of each will come out 1-10, 1-10, 1-10, and so one for ten sets in “sequential” mode, but 10 of page 1, 10 of page 2, 10 of page 3, and so on for 10 groups in “Group” mode.  However, both of these modes can be “Offset” such that either the first “set” of a 10-page document or “group” of 10 of one page will stack in the exit tray, and then the second set or group will be stacked an inch or so to the left or right from the first.  The third set or group will be stacked back directly above the first and so forth so that the entire job is finished with “offset” sets or groups, making it each to separate them without stapling and with no limitation of how many sets or page-groups can be called for.
TIFFTIFF, or “.tif” stands for “tagged image file format,” and is a commonly used standard image format.  TIFFs are more susceptible to alteration and are not usually the final format for electronic storage.  Many document management (scan and retrieve) systems generate TIFF images which are easily “read” by “OCR” software for indexing purposes, but which are converted to “PDF” for long-term storage and security.
TCOTotal Cost of Operation (or Ownership). During a 5-year or longer life of a machine it is common for the costs of supplies and service/maintenance to EXCEED the machine cost! A low price on a machine is LESS THAN HALF of the story. Take the time to analyze all the expenses that provide both the machine and its operation to find the best overall cost structure for you. Ask about the ”Copier Buyer’s Success Guide” for unbiased, insider information on how to control costs.
TONERToner is also called “ink,” but it is not liquid or even pasty, until it melts when the “printed” paper passes through the hot “fuser” rollers for a long enough time.  The high fuser temperature and the pressure the two rollers can exert force the melted toner into the surface of the paper where it immediately hardens as the printed page exits from the “fuser.”
TOUCH-SCREENTouch screen technology has moved from smart phones and iPads or other “tablets,” to copier/MFPs.  Instead of menu after menu, a touch-screen allows operators to save shortcuts and favored functions to a HOME screen, accessible with the touch of a finger or a simple stylus.  Each MFP operator can have his or her own set of functions based on login to the machine.  MFP manufacturers also partner with application software providers to have applications installed onto the Hard-Drive of the copier/MFP itself, and these are also accessible from the Touch-Screen.
TRANSFER BELTPrimarily for 4-color systems, the transfer belt acquires all four images: black, cyan, magenta and yellow, from their respective drums, on top of one another, then continues to a point where the merged image is attracted to the print paper by a charged “transfer roller” immediately before the “printed” paper passes through the fuser rollers for permanent “fixing” onto the paper surface.  This mechanism allows for what is called “tandem” printing, resulting in black-only and 4-color pages to be processed at the same or nearly the same speeds.
WIA“Windows Image Acquisition.” In its current form WIA is part of Windows since Windows Vista. It provides a set of drivers and interface software for nearly all modern scanners and facilitates “PUSH” scanning from scanner control panels. That is, folders and formats may be registered together at the scanner so that Job #1 goes to one folder as a PDF; Job #2 can go to another folder (or the same) as a .JPEG. Color mode may also be part of the registered job profile. WIA is the preferred interface for camera images. For general use, WIA operates similarly to TWAIN.