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In the Trenches with the Office Equipment Dealers: The Photocopying Process

17 Feb, 2002 By: Tim Teasley imageSource

In the Trenches with the Office Equipment Dealers: The Photocopying Process

A basic understanding of the
photocopier process by employees within an office equipment dealership is
important to the overall efficiency of the entire organization. Understanding
the basics of how the equipment operates creates better communication and
cohesiveness between the administrative, sales and service operations of the
company. For example, an administrative employee can communicate a customer
issue or problem much more effectively if they are well versed in the language
of the equipment. If the focus of your interdepartmental communication regarding
equipment issues is centered on the core processes of the product rather than on
individual employees, stress is reduced and better cooperation is created
between administrative, sales, and service departments.  

Subsequently, the higher level of
knowledge and understanding of an employee about the photocopier products and
services that their dealership offers has a direct effect on that employee’s
self-confidence level. More knowledge and self-confidence displayed by that
employee will result in better efficiency and more-satisfied customers. Everyone

The Basics

Interestingly enough, in a time when technology is changing almost daily, the
basic process of photocopying has not changed a great deal since Dr. Chester
Carlson patented the process in April of 1939. The central part of the
photocopying process is a round photoconductor known simply as a “drum,” an
aluminum cylinder coated with an electrical and light sensitive component. In
the past, the most common drums were covered with the light sensitive component,
selenium. However, due to environmental concerns, the organic photoconductor (OPC)
is currently the most popular.

This “drum” is the foundation
for the seven basic steps in the photocopying process: charging, imaging,
exposing, developing, transferring, fusing, and cleaning. The employee who
remembers these seven steps and applies this knowledge to their work within the
company will be more successful in their dealings with fellow employees, as well
as with customers. Memorizing these can be challenging or it can be rather easy.

The simplest way to remember a
series of information is to create a mnemonic (a memory aid such as a rhyme or a
phrase) to make the process easier. For the seven steps of the photocopying
process, I have created the following question:   “Can I Earn
Double Time Fixing Copiers?” The first letter of
each word represents the first letter of each step in the photocopying process. 

First Letter Photocopying


 Of Each Word























Now that you have a method to help
you remember the seven basic steps in the photocopying process, learning the
fundamentals of what occurs in each step will make the entire process even
clearer. Review each step as follows:

Charging:  Refers
to the application of a positive electrostatic charge to the Photocopier Drum.
The most common method of applying this charge is by a fine wire, called the
corona wire. Another common method is the roller method. This applies an
electrostatic charge directly to a roller. Several thousand volts of electricity
are applied to the corona wire or roller to create an electric field to begin
the photocopying process.

Refers to the process of projecting the original image onto an
optical image on the drum. The drum actually accepts the image. In analog
machines, this is generally completed by using reflecting mirrors. In digital
machines, the image is converted into an electrical signal. The signal then
passes to a laser diode, which emits a laser beam to project the image to the

Refers to the application of light to the drum to create an image
on the surface that matches the original.

Refers to the depositing of toner onto the drum. Toner consists
of small particles of carbon pigment.

Transferring: Refers to the delivery of the image from the drum to the
copy paper.

Fusing: Refers to the application of heat and pressure to permanently
affix the toner that is transferred from the drum onto the copy paper.

Cleaning: Refers to the removal of any toner or paper dust particles
remaining on the drum for the next copy cycle. A quenching lamp shines on the
drum to reset the electrostatic charge. Cleaning is necessary before a new copy
cycle can begin. 

The seven steps in the photocopying
process occur multiple times per minute in modern photocopiers. The term for the
number of cycles a photocopier can produce is stated in copies per minute (CPM).

Manufacturers have developed
different techniques and versions to the seven steps outlined here, adding
efficiency, quality, and more flexibility. Whatever the approach, the
photocopying process philosophy remains the same. Employees that master the
seven steps will improve the overall efficiency of their dealership!

In conclusion, the important
question here is, “Can I Earn Double Time Fixing Copiers?” Maybe, but either
way, you now have the tools needed to understand the process that makes the
photocopier work. That alone can make you and your company more efficient and
more profitable! 

Writer’s Disclaimer

Tim Teasley is a CPA with many years of experience in the copier/office
equipment industry. He is the Senior Vice President of Operations at Systel, an
office equipment dealership in Fayetteville, North Carolina. His email address
is tteasley@systeloa.com.

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