07 Feb How Do Copiers Work?
Today, office workers take copiers for granted, but before they became commonplace people had to rely on carbon copies. The first copy was performed in a NYC apartment in 1938. The inventor, Chester Carlson, used a handkerchief, static electricity, and powder to create the first copy. As you might imagine, this primitive method needed some major improvements before it could become useful for office workers. It wasn’t until 20 years later that the first commercial model of a copier entered the workplace.
Anatomy of a Copy Machine
The two most important components of any copier are the drum and the powder. The photoreceptor drum, or belt, is like a metal roller. It is layered with photo conductive material that is made out of a semiconductor, such as silicon or selenium. The toner is a dry powder. It’s often referred to as dry ink, but it’s actually a fine, plastic-based powder that carries a negative charge. Inside a copier, you’ll find the toner stuck onto beads that have a positive charge.
Process for Making Copies
As you might have guessed from Chester Carlson’s original experiments with copying, the copier machine relies on the phenomenon of static electricity to produce copies. While the toner has a negative charge, the drum can be selectively charged to attract toner in certain places to correspond with the ink on the original document to be copied. As the toner-coated beads are rolled over the drum, the particles of toner are attracted to the positively charged ions on the drum’s surface. Then, the copier charges a sheet of paper with static electricity. This allows it to pull the toner off the drum. Since the toner is heat-sensitive, the copier uses heat to fuse the toner to the paper.
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