A back office in most corporations is where work that supports front office work is done. The front office is the "face" of the company and is all the resources of the company that are used to make sales and interact with customers and clients; the back office is all the resources of the company that are devoted to producing a product or service and all the other labor that isn't seen by customers, such as administration or logistics. Broadly speaking, back office work includes roles that affect the costs side of business' trading statement and front office work includes roles that affect the income side of business' trading statement. Although the operations of a back office are prominent, they are a major contributor to a business' success, they can include functions such as accounting, inventory management, supply-chain management, human resources and logistics. Back offices are located somewhere other than company headquarters. Many are in countries with cheaper rent and lower labor costs.
Some office parks provide back offices for tenants whose front offices are in more expensive neighborhoods. Back office functions can be outsourced to consultants and contractors, including ones in other countries
In computing, a printer is a peripheral device which makes a persistent representation of graphics or text on paper. While most output is human-readable, bar code printers are an example of an expanded use for printers; the first computer printer designed was a mechanically driven apparatus by Charles Babbage for his difference engine in the 19th century. The first electronic printer was the EP-101, invented by Japanese company Epson and released in 1968; the first commercial printers used mechanisms from electric typewriters and Teletype machines. The demand for higher speed led to the development of new systems for computer use. In the 1980s were daisy wheel systems similar to typewriters, line printers that produced similar output but at much higher speed, dot matrix systems that could mix text and graphics but produced low-quality output; the plotter was used for those requiring high quality line art like blueprints. The introduction of the low-cost laser printer in 1984 with the first HP LaserJet, the addition of PostScript in next year's Apple LaserWriter, set off a revolution in printing known as desktop publishing.
Laser printers using PostScript mixed text and graphics, like dot-matrix printers, but at quality levels available only from commercial typesetting systems. By 1990, most simple printing tasks like fliers and brochures were now created on personal computers and laser printed; the HP Deskjet of 1988 offered the same advantages as laser printer in terms of flexibility, but produced somewhat lower quality output from much less expensive mechanisms. Inkjet systems displaced dot matrix and daisy wheel printers from the market. By the 2000s high-quality printers of this sort had fallen under the $100 price point and became commonplace; the rapid update of internet email through the 1990s and into the 2000s has displaced the need for printing as a means of moving documents, a wide variety of reliable storage systems means that a "physical backup" is of little benefit today. The desire for printed output for "offline reading" while on mass transit or aircraft has been displaced by e-book readers and tablet computers.
Today, traditional printers are being used more for special purposes, like printing photographs or artwork, are no longer a must-have peripheral. Starting around 2010, 3D printing became an area of intense interest, allowing the creation of physical objects with the same sort of effort as an early laser printer required to produce a brochure; these devices have not yet become commonplace. Personal printers are designed to support individual users, may be connected to only a single computer; these printers are designed for low-volume, short-turnaround print jobs, requiring minimal setup time to produce a hard copy of a given document. However, they are slow devices ranging from 6 to around 25 pages per minute, the cost per page is high. However, this is offset by the on-demand convenience; some printers can print documents stored from digital cameras and scanners. Networked or shared printers are "designed for high-volume, high-speed printing", they are shared by many users on a network and can print at speeds of 45 to around 100 ppm.
The Xerox 9700 could achieve 120 ppm. A virtual printer is a piece of computer software whose user interface and API resembles that of a printer driver, but, not connected with a physical computer printer. A virtual printer can be used to create a file, an image of the data which would be printed, for archival purposes or as input to another program, for example to create a PDF or to transmit to another system or user. A barcode printer is a computer peripheral for printing barcode labels or tags that can be attached to, or printed directly on, physical objects. Barcode printers are used to label cartons before shipment, or to label retail items with UPCs or EANs. A 3D printer is a device for making a three-dimensional object from a 3D model or other electronic data source through additive processes in which successive layers of material are laid down under computer control, it is called a printer by analogy with an inkjet printer which produces a two-dimensional document by a similar process of depositing a layer of ink on paper.
The choice of print technology has a great effect on the cost of the printer and cost of operation, speed and permanence of documents, noise. Some printer technologies do not work with certain types of physical media, such as carbon paper or transparencies. A second aspect of printer technology, forgotten is resistance to alteration: liquid ink, such as from an inkjet head or fabric ribbon, becomes absorbed by the paper fibers, so documents printed with liquid ink are more difficult to alter than documents printed with toner or solid inks, which do not penetrate below the paper surface. Cheques can be printed with liquid ink or on special cheque paper with toner anchorage so that alterations may be detected; the machine-readable lower portion of a cheque must be printed using MICR ink. Banks and other clearing houses employ automation equipment that relies on the magnetic flux from these specially printed characters to function properly; the following printing technologies are found in modern printers: A laser printer produces high quality text and graphics.
As with digital photocopiers and multifunction printers, laser printers employ a xerographic printing process but differ from analog photocopiers in
A line printer prints one entire line of text before advancing to another line. Most early line printers were impact printers. Line printers are associated with unit record equipment and the early days of digital computing, but the technology is still in use. Print speeds of 600 lines-per-minute were achieved in the 1950s increasing to as much as 1200 lpm. Line printers print a complete line at a time and have speeds in the range of 150 to 2500 lines per minute; the different types of line printers are drum band-printers and chain printers. Other non-impact technologies have been used, as thermal line printers were popular in the 1970s and 1980s, some inkjet and laser printers produce output a line or a page at a time. Many impact printers, such as the daisywheel printer and dot matrix printer, used a print head that printed a character moved on until an entire line was printed. Line printers were much faster, as each impact printed an entire line. There have been five principal designs: Drum printers Chain printers Bar printers Comb printers Wheel printersBecause all of these printing methods were noisy, line printers of all designs were enclosed in sound-absorbing cases of varying sophistication.
In a typical drum printer design, a fixed font character set is engraved onto the periphery of a number of print wheels, the number matching the number of columns the printer could print. The wheels, joined to form a large drum, spin at high speed and paper and an inked ribbon is stepped past the print position; as the desired character for each column passes the print position, a hammer strikes the paper from the rear and presses the paper against the ribbon and the drum, causing the desired character to be recorded on the continuous paper. Because the drum carrying the letterforms remains in constant motion, the strike-and-retreat action of the hammers had to be fast, they were driven by voice coils mounted on the moving part of the hammer. The character sequences are staggered around the drum, shifting with each column; this obviates the situation whereby all of the hammers fire when printing a line that consists of the same character in all columns, such as a complete line of dashes. Lower-cost printers did not use a hammer for each column.
Instead, a hammer was provided for every other column and the entire hammer bank was arranged to shift left and right, driven by another one voice coil. For this style of printer, two complete revolutions of the character drum were required with one revolution being used to print all the "odd" columns and another revolution being used to print all of the "even" columns, but in this way, only half the number of hammers and the associated channels of drive electronics were required. At least one low-cost printer, made by CDC, achieved the same end by moving the paper laterally while keeping the hammer bank at rest. Dataproducts was a typical vendor of drum printers selling similar models with both a full set of hammers and a half set of hammers. Chain printers place the type on a track; as with the drum printer, as the correct character passes by each column, a hammer is fired from behind the paper. Compared to drum printers, chain printers have the advantage that the type chain can be changed by the operator.
A further advantage is that vertical registration of characters in a line is much improved over drum printers, which need precise hammer timing to achieve a reasonably straight line of print. By selecting chains that have a smaller character set, the printer can print much faster than if the chain contains the entire upper- and lower-case alphabet and all special symbols; this is because, with many more instances of the numbers appearing in the chain, the time spent waiting for the correct character to "pass by" is reduced. Common letters and symbols appear more on the chain, according to the frequency analysis of the input, it is possible to play primitive tunes on these printers by timing the nonsense of the printout to the sequence on the chain, a rather primitive piano. IBM was the best-known chain printer manufacturer and the IBM 1403 is the most famous example of a chain printer. Band printers are a variation of chain printers, where a thin steel band is used instead of a chain, with the characters embossed or etched onto the band.
Again, a selection of different bands are available with a different mix of characters so a character set best matched to the characters printed can be chosen. Dataproducts was a well known manufacturer of band printers, with their B300, B600, B1000 range, the model number representing the lines per minute rate of the printer. Bar printers were slower and less expensive. Rather than a chain moving continuously in one direction, the characters were on fingers mounted on a bar that moved left-to-right and right-to-left in front of the paper. An example was the IBM 1443. In all three designs, timing of the hammers was critical, was adjustable as part of the servicing of the printer. For drum printers, incorrect timing of the hammer resulted in printed lines that wandered vertically, albeit with characters align
Laser printing is an electrostatic digital printing process. It produces high-quality text and graphics by passing a laser beam back and forth over a negatively charged cylinder called a "drum" to define a differentially charged image; the drum selectively collects electrically charged powdered ink, transfers the image to paper, heated in order to permanently fuse the text, imagery, or both. As with digital photocopiers, laser printers employ a xerographic printing process. However, laser printing differs from analog photocopiers in that the image is produced by the direct scanning of the medium across the printer's photoreceptor; this enables laser printing to copy images more than most photocopiers. Invented at Xerox PARC in the 1970s, laser printers were introduced for the office and home markets in subsequent years by IBM, Xerox, Hewlett-Packard and many others. Over the decades and speed have increased as price has fallen, the once cutting-edge printing devices are now ubiquitous. In the 1960s, the Xerox Corporation held a dominant position in the photocopier market.
In 1969, Gary Starkweather, who worked in Xerox's product development department, had the idea of using a laser beam to "draw" an image of what was to be copied directly onto the copier drum. After transferring to the formed Palo Alto Research Center in 1971, Starkweather adapted a Xerox 7000 copier to create SLOT. In 1972, Starkweather worked with Butler Lampson and Ronald Rider to add a control system and character generator, resulting in a printer called EARS —which became the Xerox 9700 laser printer. 1973: The Xerox 1200 was "the first commercial laser printer." A Xerox 2012 lookback described it as the "first commercial non-impact Xerographic printer for computer output." Input was either directly from a mainframe computer. The technology came from the Xerox 3600 copier. 1976: The first commercial implementation of a laser printer was the IBM 3800 in 1976. It was designed for data centers; the IBM 3800 was used for high-volume printing on continuous stationery, achieved speeds of 215 pages per minute, at a resolution of 240 dots per inch.
Over 8,000 of these printers were sold. 1977: The Xerox 9700 was brought to market in 1977. Unlike the IBM 3800, the Xerox 9700 was not targeted to replace any particular existing printers; the Xerox 9700 excelled at printing high-value documents on cut-sheet paper with varying content. 1979: In 1979, inspired by the Xerox 9700's commercial success, Japanese camera and optics company, developed a low-cost, desktop laser printer: the Canon LBP-10. Canon began work on a much-improved print engine, the Canon CX, resulting in the LBP-CX printer. Having no experience in selling to computer users, Canon sought partnerships with three Silicon Valley companies: Diablo Data Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Apple Computer. 1981: The first laser printer designed for office use reached market in 1981: the Xerox Star 8010. The system used a desktop metaphor, unsurpassed in commercial sales, until the Apple Macintosh. Although it was innovative, the Star workstation was a prohibitively expensive system, affordable only to a fraction of the businesses and institutions at which it was targeted.
1984: The first laser printer intended for mass-market sales was the HP LaserJet, released in 1984. The LaserJet was followed by printers from Brother Industries, IBM, others. First-generation machines had large photosensitive drums, of circumference greater than the loaded paper's length. Once faster-recovery coatings were developed, the drums could touch the paper multiple times in a pass, therefore be smaller in diameter. 1985: Apple introduced the LaserWriter, but used the newly released PostScript page-description language. Up until this point, each manufacturer used its own proprietary page-description language, making the supporting software complex and expensive. PostScript allowed the use of text, graphics and color independent of the printer's brand or resolution. PageMaker, written by Aldus for the Macintosh and LaserWriter, was released in 1985 and the combination became popular for desktop publishing. Laser printers brought exceptionally fast and high-quality text printing in multiple fonts on a page, to the business and consumer markets.
No other available printer during this era could offer this combination of features. 1995: Xerox ran magazine print ads headlined "Who invented the laser printer?" and answered "it's Xerox." A laser beam projects an image of the page to be printed onto an electrically charged, selenium-coated, cylindrical drum. Photoconductivity allows the charged electrons to fall away from the areas exposed to light. Powdered ink particles are electrostatically attracted to the charged areas of the drum that have not been laser-beamed; the drum transfers the image onto paper by direct contact. The paper is passed onto a finisher, which uses heat to fuse the toner that represents the image onto the paper. There are seven steps involved in
A barcode printer is a computer peripheral for printing barcode labels or tags that can be attached to, or printed directly on, physical objects. Barcode printers are used to label cartons before shipment, or to label retail items with UPCs or EANs; the most common barcode printers employ one of two different printing technologies. Direct thermal printers use a printhead to generate heat that causes a chemical reaction in specially designed paper that turns the paper black. Thermal transfer printers use heat, but instead of reacting the paper, the heat melts a waxy or resin substance on a ribbon that runs over the label or tag material; the heat transfers ink from the ribbon to the paper. Direct thermal printers are less expensive, but they produce labels that can become illegible if exposed to heat, direct sunlight, or chemical vapors. Barcode printers are designed for different markets. Industrial barcode printers are used in manufacturing facilities, they operate faster and have a longer service life.
For retail and office environments, desktop barcode printers are most common. Computer printer Label printer
Dot matrix printer
A dot matrix printer is an impact printer that prints using a fixed number of pins or wires. In contrast and laser printers technically exhibit dot matrix printing, but they are not considered "dot matrix printers". Impact vs. non-impact is one way. Dot-matrix impact printers, "the most common type still sold as of October of 2012," use "a vertical column of pins which fire". In the 1970s and 1980s, dot matrix impact printers were considered the best combination of cost and versatility, until the 1990s were by far the most common form of printer used with personal and home computers; the first impact dot matrix printer was the Centronics 101. Introduced in 1970, it led to the design of the parallel electrical interface, to become standard on most printers until it was displaced well over a decade by the Universal Serial Bus. Digital Equipment Corporation was another major vendor, albeit with a focus on use with their PDP minicomputer line, their LA30 30 character/second dot matrix printer, the first of many, was introduced in 1970.
By the dawn of the 1990s, inkjet printers became more common as PC printers. Unlike the LA30's 80-column, uppercase-only 5x7 dot matrix, DEC's product line grew. New models included: LA36: supported upper and lower case, with up to 132 columns of text LA34: a lower-cost alternative to the LA36 LA38: an LA34 with more features LA180: 180 CPS LS120: 120 CPS LA120: 180 CPS LA12: a portable terminal The DECwriter LA30 was a 30 character per second dot matrix printing terminal introduced in 1970 by Digital Equipment Corporation of Maynard, MassachusettsIt printed 80 columns of uppercase-only 7×5 dot matrix characters across a unique-sized paper; the printhead was driven by a stepper motor and the paper was advanced by a noisy solenoid ratchet drive. The LA30 was available with both a serial interface. In 1972, a receive-only variation named; the LA30 was followed in 1974 by the LA36, which achieved far greater commercial success, becoming for a time the standard dot matrix computer terminal. The LA36 used the same print head as the LA30 but could print on forms of any width up to 132 columns of mixed-case output on standard green bar fanfold paper.
The carriage was moved by a much-more-capable servo drive using a DC electric motor and an optical encoder / tachometer. The paper was moved by a stepper motor; the LA36 was only available with a serial interface but unlike the earlier LA30, no fill characters were required. This was possible because, while the printer never communicated at faster than 30 characters per second, the mechanism was capable of printing at 60 characters per second. During the carriage return period, characters were buffered for subsequent printing at full speed during a catch-up period; the two-tone buzz produced by 60-character-per-second catch-up printing followed by 30-character-per-second ordinary printing was a distinctive feature of the LA36 copied by many other manufacturers well into the 1990s. Most efficient dot matrix printers used this buffering technique. Digital technology broadened the basic LA36 line into a wide variety of dot matrix printers; the DEC LA50 was designed to be a "dot matrix" printer. When in graphic mode, the printhead can generate graphic images.
When in graphics mode, the LA50 can print Sixel graphics format. The Centronics 101 was innovative and affordable at its inception; some selected specifications: Print speed: 165 characters per second Weight: 155 pounds Size: 27 ½" W x 11 ¼" H x 19 ¼ D Shipping: 200 pounds, wooden crate, unpacked by removal of 36 screws Characters: 62, 10 numeric, 26 upper case and 26 special characters Character size: 10 characters per inch Line spacing: 6 lines per inch Vertical control: punched tape reader for top of form and vertical tab Forms thickness: original plus four copies Interfaces: Centronics parallel, optional RS-232 serial In the mid-1980s, dot-matrix printers were dropping in price, being "faster and more versatile than daisywheel printers" they've continued to sell. Increased pincount of the printhead from 7, 8, 9 or 12 pins to 18, 24, 27, 36 permitted superior print-quality, necessary for success in Asian markets to print legible CJKV characters. Epson's 24-pin LQ-series rose to become the new de facto standard, at 24/180 inch.
Not only could a 24-pin printer lay down a denser dot-pattern in a single-pass, it could cover a larger area and print more quickly. Although the text-quality of a 24-pin was still visibly inferior to a true letter-quality printer—the daisy wheel or laser-printer, as manufacturing costs declined, 24-pin printers replaced 9-pin printers. To obtain the maximum output speed, albeit at a lower quality, each character and line is only printed once; this is called "draft mode". Near Letter Quality mode—informally specified as good enough to be used in a business letter—endowed dot-matrix printers with a simulated typewriter-like quality. By using multiple passes of the carriage, higher dot density, the printer could increase the effective resolution. In 1985, The New York Times described the use of "near letter-quality, or N. L. Q." and "near