The latest addition to the Epson WorkForce scanner range, the WorkForce DS-510 is a compact device built to capture large volumes at an impressive 26 pages per minute. Straightforward to operate with lots of useful features, it can also be configured to scan direct to a variety of cloud services and, optionally, shared on a local network by the addition of a plug-in network interface unit.
Compact But Capable
Deceptively small when first taken out of the box, the WorkForce DS-510 (£363 ex. VAT) can easily be accommodated even on cluttered office desktops. Power comes from an external supply, but it’s quite small and the only other requirement is a host PC or Mac with a free USB port for attachment using the cable supplied.
To use the WorkForce DS-510 you fold back the smart front cover to reveal a built-in automatic document feeder. This holds up to 50 sheets with pages fed down past the scan heads and out again via a slot at the bottom. A pull-out catch tray stops scanned pages falling to the floor and the recommended maximum duty cycle is an impressive 3,000 pages per day with the rollers certified for up to 100,000 passes before they need to be changed.
Both sides can be scanned at once making it possible to scan up to 51 sides per minute, with the usual technology to prevent jams which appeared to work well in our tests using a variety of documents from business cards through to some very flimsy old invoices.
Plastic ID cards are supported, but maximum size is 8.5 x 36-inches, which means you’re mostly limited to A4 or smaller. That said there is an option to fold and scan larger documents, with software then stitching the scans together to re-create the original. This can be a little fiddly to get right, but does enable the odd big document (up to A3) to be processed. Also of interest are large buttons on the front which make for easy local operation although when attached to a PC everything can be done from the desktop.
The WorkForce DS-510 can be attached to both Windows PCs (including Windows 8.0/8.1 systems) and Apple Mac computers with the core software required shipped on a CD-ROM in the box. It can also be interfaced to document management systems with TWAIN and ISIS drivers available for download from the Epson website.
Initial installation is the usual process of running a setup program on the host PC then attaching the scanner and powering up. For an additional £244 (ex. VAT) you can also add a network interface unit and attach the scanner to this rather than to a PC. The interface unit is, in turn, connected to the network via a built-in 10/100Mbps Ethernet port enabling the scanner to be accessed remotely by multiple users. Note, however, that software still has to be installed on every PC to be used with scanner.
The network interface has its own screen and control buttons enabling walk-up operation with scans then directed to a PC with the appropriate Epson Scan software installed. Otherwise, users can search for and connect to the scanner from their desktops, which should be okay in a small office or department, but could lead to confusion as to who’s scanning what and when where large numbers of users are involved.
Document Archiving & Distribution
We found the WorkForce DS-510 easy to operate and quick, at least when scanning using the default low resolution (200dpi) setting. As with other scanners, stepping up to a higher resolution can have a real impact on scan speeds.
It also took us a while to get used to the Epson scanning software, not least because you get two apparently separate applications which can be a little confusing to start with. A user manual is provided, which helps, but it’s not exhaustive and new users will need to spend time getting to grips with how the various tools fit together.
The main application (Document Capture Pro) will, by default, scan to editable PDF and store the results in the local My Documents folder. However, you can if you want, choose other formats such as JPEG, PNG and TIFF image files. You can also instruct the scanner to de-skew (straighten out) scanned images, enhance text, skip blank pages and make other changes as it goes.
Single sided scanning, colour and other settings can also be specified and the resultant files uploaded to an FTP, Web or SharePoint Server. They can also be directed to a limited number of cloud services including Google Drive, SugarSync and Evernote, for which valid login credentials need to be provided.
Another nice feature is that rather than have to specify your scan settings every time, they can be saved as jobs and re-run or even assigned to a scanner button for immediate walk-up execution from the scanner. And lastly, as well as scanning tools the WorkForce DS-510 ships with custom OCR software in the form of ABBYY FineReader Sprint, plus Presto! BizCard to capture contact information from business cards.
Boost Your Productivity
Once very expensive, high speed document scanners are now a lot more affordable due, mainly, to competition between vendors. Speeds and specifications have also risen across the board making it even harder to choose between the various offerings.
That said, as a leading scanner vendor Epson has a good reputation and products to fit a variety of needs and the WorkForce DS-510 appears well suited to life in a small to medium sized office or department, delivering the performance and functionality needed for routine capture of large volumes of paper documents at an affordable price.
A reasonable set of software tools comes bundled with the scanner and it compares well against others targeted at this market. On the downside, we weren’t totally convinced that the optional network interface unit really added that much. It could be of value in smaller companies, but in larger organisations investing in additional scanners might be a better approach. [3.5/5]