What document scanner do you recommend for many filing cabinets worth of scanning?
July 27, 2009 8:21 AM   Subscribe

Where can I find recommendations for document scanner to handle what I'd consider "medium - large volume" scanning of our office files?

We have approx. 6 - 7 regular filing cabinets full of paper files we'd like to scan to PDF files. Most documents are regular letter sized, some 2 sided (not many), some legal size. There may be some color documents. We view this as a long term project, and while we'd like to dedicate a full-time person to do nothing but scan, it will probably be 2 days a week.

We already have a Sharp MX-3501 that can scan to PDF directly, but this is also our main copier for the office and is used regularly for that and printing, so we need a dedicated scanner. I've looked at the Fujitsu Snapscan S1500 but don't know if it is "heavy duty" enough for what we need? What other recommended scanners are there?

posted by dukes909 to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If the only issue with your existing scanner is that it needs to be used by the rest of the office, then schedule the scanning when the rest of the office isn't there (late at night, weekends). If that won't work then I'd see if it wouldn't be cheaper to outsource the scanning rather than pay an employee + buy new hardware for what sounds like a one-time job.
posted by bizwank at 9:10 AM on July 27, 2009

Our office just hired a summer worker to do exactly this. We have a Snapscan S150, I don't know the differences in the Fujitsu product line but it seems similar to the S1500. Since they sell a maintenance and consumables kit I assume that they are designed for serious use. We've put several thousand pages through ours in the past year in casual use before we decided to digitize everything and it hasn't blinked. I'll post back in a week or so to say how it stands up to 40 hours per week use. The OCR process is time consuming, I imagine you could set up a system where the OCR system runs overnight but as is our worker listens to his iPod in between document sets and it gives the scanner a few minutes to rest.
posted by ChrisHartley at 9:14 AM on July 27, 2009

Call Ricoh.
posted by 2legit2quit at 9:31 AM on July 27, 2009

It would not be a one time thing, because as new documents are brought in (letters, faxes, etc.) they would be scanned also, but initially it would be to scan the bulk of existing files in. There are issues leaving the offices open after hours, so that is not really an option, plus our offices have meetings at night anyway that require the use of the copier/printer.

Another department in same company outsourced their scanning, and, while it was done moderately quickly, it was a nightmare. Files were not put back the way they were found. Pages were scanned & oriented incorrectly in the PDF's, PDF file names were not matched correctly to the file contents. In short, it would be tough to sell outsourcing as an option now. And it certainly wouldn't be less expensive. Good ideas though.
posted by dukes909 at 9:33 AM on July 27, 2009

I work in IT, and we typically put in Fujitsu fi-6130 scanners for high volume work. Not a particularly cheap piece of hardware, but rock solid and dependable. We have medical offices with ... as many as 30,000 patients on file (roughly a decade and a half of paper).. that use them successfully.
posted by frwagon at 10:16 AM on July 27, 2009

In highschool, I had a summer job in the service bureau of a document imaging company, mainly babysitting high-speed scanners. That was long ago and I'm sure the model numbers have changed, but I suspect it would be hard to go wrong with a midrange Fujitsu machine. They are solid hardware, or at least were 10 years ago. They're expensive hardware, but probably not so expensive relative to the trouble of daily operating/maintaining a less-reliable scanner.
posted by Alterscape at 11:04 AM on July 27, 2009

See http://www.redflagdeals.com/forums/showthread.php?t=607480.

I recently scanned about 2 - 3 regular filing cabinets' worth of files (around 20,000 sheets of paper). Before starting, I found the thread above and did some more research and decided to go with a somewhat more expensive mid-range duplex scanner, the HP Scanjet N8420. (The I also looked at the Fujitsu ScanSnap models at first because they are cheaper (and physically smaller), but decided against after reading the redflagdeals thread and thinking back on my experience with printers where the paper tray is angled vertically like that (the feeder would often pick up more than one sheet at a time, but I never had this problem with horizontal trays). The HP is also somewhat faster and has double the paper tray capacity.

I finished the actual scanning in just under two standard workweeks. The included software (HP Smart Document Scan) is straightforward to use and easily configurable to output to PDF or other formats. The automatic document feeder had no problems with the paper even when it was heavily wrinkled, thicker, torn at the edges slightly, or laminated. Out of 20,000 sheets, the feeder picked up more than one sheet at once only two or three times. If I'd forgotten to take out a staple, it would fail gracefully and it was easy to resume the scan afterwards.

The ScanSnap might be cheaper, but for the peace of mind that came with knowing that the job would get done quickly and more or less hassle-free (and it did), it was worth the extra money.
posted by renovatio1 at 6:34 PM on August 1, 2009

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