Digital duplicators provide the lowest cost per copy and are therefore often used by educational institutions, government offices, religious organizations, hospitals and other environments that need to create large volumes of documents (such as prayer sheets, standardized tests, hospital menus, etc.) for the lowest possible cost – as low as a third of a cent per copy.
Digital duplicators work by creating a stencil, called a master, which is then used to create each copy by pressing ink through microscopic holes in the master using a thermal imaging process.
The main advantage of a digital duplicator is its low cost and high speed, with the ability to copy at up to about 180 ppm. In addition, a digital duplicator does not use toner cartridges or fusers, which means less waste. Because there is no fuser, less power is also used.
Drawbacks include a lack of duplex capability (only one digital duplicator offers duplexing at all) and the inability to handle copier-type functions such as copying and collating entire sets of documents (you have to duplicate one page at a time). Although duplicators can print in a range of colors, most are limited to printing in just one color, with the addition of a second color requiring running the printed pages through the duplicator to receive each additional color.