E-commerce has come a long way, but think back on the last time you took out an insurance policy, bought a house, filed an insurance claim or took out a loan. Billions of these transactions still happen the old fashioned way: on paper. But that doesn't mean businesses have to settle for paperwork. That's why document imaging remains one of the most deployed content management technologies.
One clear indication that the paper problem isn't going away is the fact that manufacturers including Kodak, Fujitsu and Canon continue to sell hundreds of thousands of document scanners each year, and they're pouring money into developing new scanners. One of the latest products is the Kodak i1860, the new top-of-the-line model from the market-share leader in the high-volume production scanning category.
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Set to ship in December, the i1860 is rated at 200 pages per minute (ppm) in black and white, grayscale or color (or up to 800 images per minute when scanning two-sided documents with dual-stream color/bitonal or grayscale/bitonal output). Kodak's PerfectPage image processing automatically crops, deskews and adjusts exposure for better OCR results and human readability. Auto color detection reduces document prep time because color documents, such as photos of a property in a mortgage application, don't have to be sorted out and separately scanned. Three ultrasonic sensors detect multifeeds, and you can choose between high-resolution prescan or postscan imprinters (for time/date stamping, Bates numbering or custom validation).
The i1860 is aimed at the production imaging operations common to banks, insurance companies, tax agencies and service bureaus, where tens of thousands of documents are scanned each day as they arrive in the mailroom. Kodak emphasized ergonomic design to maximize operator productivity. For example, the height of the scanning platform can adjusted at the touch of a button for comfortable seated or standing operation. In the event of a jam, the upper camera assembly quickly opens in clam-shell fashion, exposing the entire paper path. The programmable touch-screen operator's panel swivels for better viewing, and when multiple units are deployed, selectable tones make it easy to obvious which scanner needs attention.
At $85,000, the i1860 matches the price of Kodak's previous top-of-the-line model, the i840, yet it's 25 percent faster and offers more advanced image processing. The competition ranges from Bowe Bell & Howell's Color Spectrum Series, which tops out at 140 ppm, up to IBML's ImageTrac series, which exceeds 240 ppm and includes process intelligence software and sorting and pocketing options (for checks and exception items).
With its unlimited daily duty cycle, replaceable bulbs and rollers (rated at 2,500 hours and 600,000 pages, respectively) and life expectancy measured in the millions of documents, the i1860 is the kind of workhorse that delivers an immeasurable return on investment. While we all wait for the paperless office to become a reality, scanners and associate document management technologies put an end to the drudgery of transporting, sorting, routing, filing, retrieving and mailing physical copies of documents.