High Speed Document Scanners: How To Pick The Right Model When Time Is a Factor

High Speed Document Scanners: How To Pick The Right Model When Time Is a Factor

From paper handling to image quality, learn the features to look for in these high-performance devices

Scanners provide a critical bridge between analog and digital media. While nearly all businesses rely on document scanners for digitization, many require production-level models to perform this invaluable service at lightning speed.

This is the world of high speed document scanners, and this article provides a comprehensive roadmap through the territory. From paper handling mechanics to image quality, we'll outline all the features to look for in a best-in-class scanning solution.

Check out our guide, Document Scanners: Everything You Need to Go Digital in 2022, for even more expert advice and information.

What is a high speed document scanner?

A high speed scanner is a scanning device that can quickly and reliably process a large volume of documents . These devices can convert physical documents into digital images much faster than standard consumer models, with top-end scanners capable of processing tens of thousands of sheets in a single day. High speed document scanners are essential to achieve the productivity levels necessary in many critical industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, financial services, and government agencies.

Did You Know? The fi-7700 can scan up to 100 pages per minute and 40,000 pages per day. Click here to learn more.

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What are the benefits of a high speed document scanner?

Unlike traditional scanners, those built for speed and high volume duty cycles offer dramatic time savings to the point that they can make a material impact on a business’s bottom line. At a production scale, when thousands of pages need to be captured and stored quickly, having a device that can reliably digitize invoices, mortgage documents, medical records, manuscripts, and more translates into productivity gains for knowledge workers and the professionals that help them do what they do best. Make the right investment for your business, and you could see noticeable improvements in your bottom line for years to come.

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Key features of a quality high speed document scanner

Excellent overall scanning throughput

When it comes to selecting a fast document scanner, it’s important to understand what the upper threshold of your processing needs are and compare that to the scanning rate capacity of the models you’re evaluating. Performance is typically measured in two units: pages per minute (ppm) and pages per day (duty cycle). The best scanners range from 100 ppm for smaller units to 140 ppm or more for high volume production models. Translated to daily output, high-speed document scanners can scan anywhere from 24,000 sheets to 120,000 sheets. 

Streamlined paper handling mechanics

The components that handle the front end of the scanning process significantly impact how fast the scanner can operate. Poor feed mechanics can cause imaging irregularities and document jamming, necessitating time-consuming re-scans and operator adjustments.

Look for a scanner that includes hardware based features such as automatic separation control and skew reducing functionality.  These can dynamically adapt to the type of paper being scanned to ensure smooth handling, even when scanning mixed sizes and thicknesses of documents in the same batch. 

Skew reduction technology compensates for instances when a document rotates during its path through the scanner, causing the next document to be fed improperly. When skewing like this does occur, these scanners use independent roller control to delay processing the following document until the offset document has moved through the scanner. It then resumes paper picking, ensuring that a single document skew doesn’t cascade.  

Large automatic document feeder capacity

To take advantage of the fast scanning speeds and advanced paper handling, customers should look for the ability to load large stacks of documents into the scanner's input tray which allow the automatic document feeder (ADF) to process hundreds of documents in a single batch.  High speed scanners have ADF capacities above 200 pages with some allowing for up to 500 documents to be processed in a single batch. 

Post-Scan Document Stacking Control

Another feature to look for in a high speed document scanner is the control over the organization of the output stack of documents. Raw document processing speed is great, but if the exit hopper is filled with a messy pile of papers instead of a neat stack, the efficiency of the entire process is significantly reduced. 

Top-of-the-line scanners employ processing speed regulation technology to ensure the output batch is pickup-ready. While the documents are pulled through the device at a fast clip during the initial phase of the scan, that momentum is decelerated by the rollers before the paper is dropped in the hopper. This allows each piece of paper to land in a uniform stack, facilitating streamlined pickup after each batch is complete.

Comprehensive image enhancement 

Companies can also increase their daily scanning volumes by scanning mixed sizes and types of documents in the same batch.  While the paper handling technology above is optimized for feeding paper, the scanner must also be able to adapt to different types of documents and use the appropriate image enhancement settings to capture all of the information including small print and light pencil marks. High speed document scanners should incorporate sophisticated dynamic thresholding technology to adapt settings to each document to ensure that all of the information is preserved and available.

Efficient flatbed scanning

If you’re in the market for a fast document scanner with flatbed scanning functionality, then one of the most important features you should be looking for is the option to keep the scanner cover open during scanning. Having to close and open a flatbed scanner between each document adds unnecessary steps to the process. It also opens the door for more minor but time-consuming mistakes, like document skewing. You can avoid both of these issues by ensuring your model has a cover open scanning option. These dual-purpose units are great because they can handle large volumes of documents through the ADF and also provide fast flatbed scanning for bound documents, books, and fragile documents. 

High-performance scanning software

No matter how streamlined the hardware operations are, the scanning software determines much about the device’s processing speed. There are numerous qualities to look for in a high speed document scanner’s software feature stack, but some of the most important are:

  • Image enhancement technology: Your scanner should have smart document scanning tech that renders images in pristine resolution.
  • Process efficiency: Your scanner’s software should improve the speed of routine scanning procedures.
  • Centralized management and monitoring: Your scanner’s software should give you a direct line of sight into and control over your device landscape.
  • Broad integrability: Your scanner should be compatible with applications across different industries including healthcare, government, finance, distribution, and education.

Reliable on-site service

Regardless of the scanner that you choose, a must-have for any high speed document scanner is the ability to back up your investment with an on-site service maintenance agreement.  This will ensure that your scanner is up and running quickly if there’s a mechanical failure.  Also, on-site service plans can include preventative maintenance cleaning visits that also keep your scanner at its peak performance level.

Our recommendation: fi-7700

While your specific work needs will largely determine the right solution for you, some devices cover such a broad range of requirements they merit a general recommendation. 

The fi-7700 is a powerful scanning solution with a deep set of features catering to almost any performance scanning context. Able to scan up to 100 pages per minute and as much as 44,000 documents in a day, the fi-7700 is capable of rapid and sustained performance.  It also includes an integrated A3 or double letter sized flatbed which is perfect for exception documents. 

It’s excellent for those looking for a flexible but high performance document scanner. Click here to learn more or shop the rest of our production scanner line

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