Digital Duplicator Helps N.J. School Streamline Printing Process

At Clarendon Elementary School in Secaucus, N.J., teachers and administrative staff often found themselves standing around waiting to use the main officeís sole photocopier. Once their turn arrived, they frequently battled with paper jams and other mishaps, thinking, "Thereís got to be a better way!"

The solution came last December, when the school acquired a new digital duplicator, which provides a faster and cleaner alternative to conventional copy machines. Besides saving time, the duplicator is projected to save money for many years to come.

Copier on Its Last Legs

Serving nearly 650 students, Clarendon staff produce approximately 50,000 copies per month, according to Denise Cunningham, an educational media specialist for the Secaucus School Board. With the schoolís old copier on its last legs, Cunningham began to look for a replacement.

After researching her options, she chose to lease a Ricoh Priport VT2200 digital duplicator from a local office equipment dealer. Ricoh Corp., based in West Caldwell, N.J., about 20 miles away from Secaucus, manufactures the unit.

Cunningham determined that the school could actually save hundreds, even thousands, of dollars per year thanks to the VT2200ís low cost per copy when utilized for large print jobs. This d'es not include the reduction in maintenance and repair costs associated with the new machine.

So far, no service calls have been made. ìWe just enjoy having it here,î says Rosemary Callas, a secretary in the main office who copies documents for the principal and Parent Teachers Association, among others.

Callas says she and a colleague learned how to operate the VT2200 in a matter of minutes. She greatly appreciates the unitís self-contained ink cartridge: ìItís very easy to replace and it's not messy." The old machine's toner cartridge, in contrast, often left her hands or clothes covered with stains.

Cool, Quiet Operation

Unlike conventional copiers, a digital duplicator uses no heat in the printing process. At the push of a button, the unit automatically creates a master from an original document, then transfers the master to the print cylinder. As a result, the duplicator achieves a cost-per-copy of less than a half a cent (not including paper costs).

The Ricoh Priport VT2200 can print pages of sizes up to 12' x 17' at speeds of 60 to 120 pages per minute, with first copies produced in about 30 seconds. The unit prints on paper stocks ranging from 13 to 110 pounds, making it suitable for a wide assortment of documents.

Employees at Clarendon Elementary produce mainly flyers and other notices on their VT2200. So far, theyíve stuck with black ink, even though a slide-in color cylinder permits printing in red, blue, green, brown, yellow, purple, navy, maroon, orange or teal.

More Advanced Features

Callas hopes to take advantage of some of the VT2200's more advanced features in the near future. For example, the duplicator can be connected directly to a computer, enabling the downloading of files for ìfirst generationî prints. In non-networked environments, files from remote PCs can be put on floppy disk, inserted into the disk drive of the connected computer, then downloaded to the VT2200.

Based on the positive feedback from those at Clarendon Elementary School, Cunningham reports that she will consider acquiring Ricoh digital duplicators for other sites in the district that generate large volumes of documents. "It's much more cost- effective."

This article originally appeared in the 03/01/1997 issue of THE Journal.