The Tech Guru series features eight stories from a number of Samsung’s printing experts, presenting their points of view from their respective fields. The series will show how Samsung printing products and technology – and those who develop them – embody the three core Samsung values: Smart, Fast and Reliable.
For our seventh Tech Guru interview, we spoke to Kim Seokho, the Head of Samsung’s Scan Part in Motion Lab, who shared the story of the development of Samsung’s 240 ipm duplex scanning technology. Mr. Kim also explained how this technology has helped improve printer performance, and how scanning will continue to revolutionize the modern printer.
“Scanning is a composite of diverse technologies. Scanning is possible only when circuit, mechanics, optics and software all work together perfectly in an MFP. That is why scan technology experts are often called ‘system engineers’ – we are architects who bring different technologies together to create the big picture,” Kim explained.
When asked how Samsung Printing’s scanning is different from other companies in the market, Kim pointed out that Samsung is better positioned to develop a diverse spectrum of products. While most companies focus on A3 copier scan units, creating the lower level products jointly with an outside scanner partner, Samsung develops all its scanning units in house – from the platen scanning unit on an A4 entry model all the way to an A3 copier’s duplex scanning unit that can process up to 4 pages a second. This ensures not just interoperability and consistent quality but also means Samsung can provide a scanner for every business need.
Combining Strengths for Excellent Quality at a Reasonable Price
In 2009, Samsung released its first multifunction printer, and by 2016 it was already showcasing the world’s fastest scanning technology when it launched its MX7 with duplex 240 ipm. During those seven years the company launched two generations of copiers, the Cosmos and the Polaris series, which served as the foundation for its MX7 technology.
The first-generation Cosmos series utilized mirror moving type scan technology, the preferred system in the industry for A3 scanning units. While mirror moving type enables high-resolution scanning, the components it requires are expensive and heavy.
Samsung tried to improve on the pain points of the Cosmos series with its second-generation Polaris series, by making it more compact and affordable. But Polaris was not as well-received in the market, because although Polaris had the same technical specifications as Cosmos, customers felt that its scan quality was not as good as mirror moving type scanners.
“So when we set out to develop the MultiXpress series, we tried to strike a balance between the two values. Our goal was to produce an excellent scanning unit that at the same time was not outrageous in price,” Kim recalled. “And I think we did just that.”
The Journey to the Top: How the Fastest Scan Speed in the Industry Was Developed
To achieve high scan quality, Samsung’s Scan Part in Motion lab made the most of its strengths in optical technology. Two years went into planning the sensors for the scanner and another year was spent solely on advanced technology development at the Samsung VIP (Value Innovation Program) center. The efforts bore fruit in the end: The MultiXpress 7 series, launched in 2014, boasted the highest scanning speed in the industry at the time and garnered acclaim from many industry experts.
Kim emphasized the importance of SoC (System on Chip) technology in the development of MultiXpress 7’s advanced scanning capabilities. “We wouldn’t have been able to realize such a fast scanning speed had it not been for our SoC technology. MultiXpress 7’s Quad-core CPU allowed for a dual image pipeline which could process images as fast as they were taken in by our scanners.”
MultiXpress 7’s lightning-fast scan speed has been welcomed in offices where scanning is a vital part of the workflow. For example, a state library in the US that digitizes all of its paperwork daily greatly benefited from the MX7’s 240 ipm duplex scanning speed. Documents that would normally take a 20 ipm scanner 6 minutes to process can be digitized by Samsung’s MX7 within a mere 30 seconds, or less than 10 percent of the time. Similarly, MX7’s powerful scanning feature has been able to substitute high caliber standalone scanners at places like law firms, logistics companies and financial institutions.
Toward Smarter, More User-friendly Scanning
When asked about the future of scanning technology, Kim answered that digitizing hardcopies is becoming increasingly important in document management. The scanning department has been working closely in tandem with the imaging part of the Control Lab to develop more advanced scanning solutions (Click here to read more about Samsung Printers’ imaging technology)
“Through scanning solutions, we provide additional value to customers. Solutions that automatically remove creases, de-skew the scanned image or read barcodes, OMR (optical mark recognition) and OCR (optical character recognition) allow companies to significantly reduce the amount of time, energy and money spent. What used to take workers days to finish, solution-equipped MFPs can take care of within hours,” Kim added.
Kim also added that with the advent of Smart Office, scan technology will evolve in more user-friendly ways. “As camera systems are introduced into Smart Office, soon we may be able to take a photo of hand-written meeting notes, which can automatically be sent to the MFP for OCR and then transformed into a Word file,” he explained.
While traditional scanning requires users to place the documents on the device, as technologies like vision/camera system, voice recognition, AI (Artificial Intelligence) and deep learning become more integrated into tomorrow’s smart offices, the scanning of the future will require fewer and fewer actions from humans, and allow us more time to focus on the core activities of our organizations.
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