What Is a Digital Duplicator?

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  • Written By: Andrew Kirmayer
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 02 October 2019
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A digital duplicator offers a productive way to print on various kinds of media by using a spinning drum and wax master. It is an alternative to a copy machine, but is more cost effective when printing 25 copies or more on standard paper, file folders, and envelopes. When a digital duplicator is used, a page is put on top of a glass plate or sent electronically from a computer. A pattern of small dots is burned into the wax master, passed around an ink-filled drum, and the copy is then produced as the ink is pushed through the holes in the master. One printer-duplicator can produce up to 130 copies each minute once printing starts.

The density of dots on the master determines the resolution of the digital duplicator. Color drums are inserted into the machine as needed. If only red and green are required, for example, then those specific cartridges can be added. These are also fully contained, so the risk of ink spilling inside the machine is much lower than that of a standard printer, and color matching is set to particular shades to minimize wasted ink.

A digital duplicator is one of the most energy efficient forms of office equipment. It uses little or no power when in standby mode, depending on the energy save mode. The lack of a fusing element, which is used in copy machines, also reduces the amount of power the machine uses.


Digital duplicators do not have fans to clear dry ink particles. They also do not emit any hazardous fumes, such as ozone, and produce the same noise levels as a regular copier. In addition to efficiency and ease of use, a digital duplicator can also be connected to a corporate computer network like other types of printing devices.

A digital duplicator can be used with software that links it to a computer to directly transmit documents. Automatic document feeders with capacities of thousands of pages can be attached to the machine. Users can also electronically alter printouts from original documents by adding an editing board, and the duplicator can be mounted on a cabinet with storage space for supplies, such as the wax masters and ink cartridges. Schools, businesses, and churches that print a large volume of various kinds of documents can all make use of a digital duplicator.


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