Wide Format Scanning & Printing

Wide Format Scanning & Printing

Posted by Jason Graham on

With the standard office photocopier rarely able to accept documents larger than A3; the A1 and A0 documents that are the standard for architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) and computer aided design (CAD) industries need a different breed of device.

A large format Multi-Function Printer (MFP) is the most popular answer. When you’re looking for a way to do more with less, a solution that can scan, copy, and print in one small footprint device, is the only way to go. With advancements in scanner hardware, print technology, and the software for both; the results have never been better.

While many industries are increasingly turning digital, other industries, particularly within AEC, will always rely on physical document workflows because of their reliance on contractors who spend almost all their time on construction sites where large screen digital devices simply aren’t a viable solution.

Advancements

Scanners with incredibly stable designs capable of scanning everything from 2mm thick card down to fragile wafer-thin prints from decades ago, and adjustable speed scanners with rear and front ejection are the new standard. In addition they have the ability to scan both black & white documents and graphics with crisp colours, thanks to the charged couple device (CCD) scanner’s ability to capture a wider colour gamut and see greater detail in both dark and light areas.

Internally you now have dual angle lighting systems that effectively eliminate the previously unavoidable black lines that come with a folded document. Alongside a switch from fluorescent lamps to modern energy efficient LEDs, that not only makes the scanner more environmentally friendly, it gives you lamps that essentially last a lifetime.

Scanning software has also taken a step up. For example, the SmartWorks software, that comes with Canon’s T-Series scanners, now gives operators the ability to remove coffee and dirt stains off plans that have spent a week on a muddy construction site, or quickly edit the white and black points of old newspaper clippings to reproduce an article that is as crisp as the day it was printed; adjustments are as simple as a few sliders on screen. With de-skew, cropping, and programmable defaults as standard; a perfect scan is at your fingertips.

In-House Print and Scan

For bigger AEC and CAD companies outsourcing vs printing in house should not even be a question. With Australia’s largest print for pay company charging $1.90 for a single black and white A1 scan and $5.00 for a colour A1 print, the savings available printing in house are huge, but the savings are only the first bonus.

MFP devices provide the ability to duplicate drawings to be marked up or amended and then back up the old and new amended documents digitally, for reprints, reviews, and peace of mind. With the addition of cloud software and smart devices every change can be made available to everyone collaborating in the process; from your office, contractor’s offices, right to the construction site and everyone involved in between. With a scanner in your office you can document your designs from the very first draft to the finished construction.

The old phrase "Time is Money" is, if anything, more applicable to today's fast paced world. The ability to have a print in your hands within minutes after clicking the print button is a huge perk for any business. No longer do you have to wait for your prints to arrive back to you from the the print shop via that express courier that seems move at a snail's pace when you need them most.

As a last note, printer advancements have kept up with, if not exceeded, the advancements in scanner technology; only serving to add to the capability of your in-house print arsenal. User friendly accounting software and intuitive layout and design software mean even the least technical user can handle these devices with ease. Alongside the change from dye to pigment inks, a device once only used for plotting plans is now a solution for every office situation, from pitches using brilliant colour graphics and posters, to long lasting synthetic banners and indoor signage that will help you to show your vision to your clients and to the world.

The Opportunity for Print Providers

For franchise printers and copy shops the market for scanning and photocopying large format document is wide open. AISC tells us that the construction industry generates over $360 billion in revenue, producing around 9% of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product, and have a projected annual growth rate of 2.4% in the next five years.

For every big business there are ten small scale builders and architects that don’t have the quantity to make in-house print viable. For these businesses outsourcing is the only way to go, and for print providers an MFP device is a cost-effective solution with a 36” Multi-Function Printer and Scanner available for under $6000, with a footprint small enough for even the tightest inner city print shop; giving additional revenue with a very small investment.

 

 

Snap Printing Heidelberg, Snap Printing Little Collins Street and Snap Printing Ringwood are all great examples of print service providers that have a smaller MFP device in addition to their existing high-quality large format device.

 

With the scanner attached to a 24” or 36” five colour pigment ink printer, like Canon’s TM Series MFP devices, you have a plan printer that can scan, copy, and print water resistant plans up to A0, while your higher quality 8 or 12 colour device is printing high quality graphics and gallery quality photographs all at the same time. Without the need to swap paper with every job, and the ability to print to both machines at the same time, an extra MFP device saves time, increases production and opens a whole new market.

Fine Art Scanning

Beyond the AEC and CAD markets the world of fine art presents another field for digital capture. Digital imaging professionals can retouch old faded photographs with programs like Adobe Lightroom to create images ready for print. Even if those photographs are damaged or creased an expert with Adobe Photoshop can turn those photos from faded fragments of history into beautiful photographs ready for the next generation.

Korske Ara at Lucent Imaging is a great example of an innovator in the restoration and fine art industry. Based in Canberra, Korske uses the WideTek 24” fine art flatbed printer, and soon we’ll take a deep dive into the amazing work they’re doing in Australia’s capital with WideTek and Canon’s Fine Art and Photography printers.

 

Conclusion

Whether you are an AEC or CAD company looking to save money or a print provider looking to open your doors to the flood of opportunity out there; a solution exists that is built just for you.

To find out what options are available to best suit your company contact us today on 1300 768 015 or email info@totalimagesupplies.com.au