Pros & Cons of High Speed Document Scanners

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Desktop scanners and shared multi-functional printers (MFPs) are standard pieces of office equipment but, when it comes to continuously processing a large volume of documents, they aren’t going to be the most productive option. The good news is that high-speed “production” scanners exist, providing a viable alternative.

Is a high-speed document scanner the right piece of equipment for your business? Examining your requirements, the pros and the shortcomings of this technology will help you find the answer.

High Speed Document Scanners: Biggest Advantages

As the name indicates, these scanners process documents much faster than other pieces of scanning equipment. This is the main reason why high-speed document scanners are an excellent pick for businesses that have to process a large volume of documents on an ongoing basis.

Depending on the high-speed scanner chosen, it will have a number of great characteristics. Such scanners, for example, usually feature multiple feeding options. This means that it’s not necessary to provide document input page by page. Bulk processing will often be available, decreasing the amount of time required for the processing of every single document.

High-speed scanners are usually utilized by professionals in the field of paper-based document conversions. Such equipment is ideal for turning a lot of documents into a digital archive. Because of the fast processing time, the digitization can be completed quickly. In addition, high-speed scanners can be used on a wide array of documents.

High-speed document scanners can digitize contracts, charts, small blueprints, thick papers and even fragile, antique pieces. These devices can typically handle up to legal or 11”x17” documents.  However, anything from business cards to bigger blueprints can be converted, if the right piece of technology is chosen.

While they can process large volumes of document, scanners used to scan letter and legal sized documents are usually conveniently sized. Companies that offer document scanning services are capable of making their solutions mobile precisely because of this characteristic. A high-speed scanner can be taken from one location to another because it’s a compact piece of equipment. Note: On-site scanning provided by an outside vendor usually has a price premium attached to it by a scanning vendor because it is less conveniently and less productive for them to scan on your site. So, you really want to make sure that onsite scanning is a requirement or the conversion will cost more than it had to.

The Cons and Considerations of Purchasing High Speed Document Scanners

The shortcomings of high-speed scanners aren’t many and they don’t interfere with the quality of the output. One of the most important shortcomings to keep in mind is the cost of such equipment. High speed scanners tend to be a lot costlier than regular scanners. “Production” scanners can start at $20,000 and go well over $100,000. In addition to the scanner cost, you will need a service contract too in order to maintain image quality, feeding speeds and high device availability.  This is the main reason why numerous companies don’t own such equipment. Rather, they prefer to outsource the document scanning process because it makes a lot of sense both in financial and in practical terms. The specialized skills and processes required to leverage this investment are another area that companies need to evaluate before making this purchase. The questions of how will the scanners be staffed, who will train them and who will manage this staff must be addressed before buying high-speed production scanners.

Initial document preparation is like what must be performed to run documents through a copy machine, so preparing a large volume of documents for scanning can be very labor intensive. Leveraging and achieving high throughput with these devices requires special processes and careful planning. For example, using customized barcodes and document separator pages may be required to leverage scanner high throughput speeds.

Some of these scanners come with text recognition capabilities either as part of the scanner hardware or as a software add-on. This is a great feature when it comes to creating a digital archive. The downside is that text recognition may make the scanning process a bit slower. In addition, configuring and leveraging the OCR technology does require training and a high aptitude for configuring software applications.

Finally, some of these scanners tend to be quite noisy when processing large volumes of documents. While this characteristic is understandable, it’s seen as an annoyance by some users. They can also generate a lot of paper dust and should not be run in an office environment where other computers that can negatively affected by the dust.


High-speed scanners offer a lot of convenience for businesses that process large volumes of documents. Such equipment, however, can be on the costly side. When done right, it is cost effective to do it yourself. If you have a large volume of recurring work, investing in the people, processes and equipment may make sense. If not, it may be a much better idea to outsource the scanning process and partner up with a company that specializes in the field.  CASNET’s state-of-the-art document capture bureau has multiple high volume scanners to manage any job.  Contact CASNET for your free expert consultation.

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