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Dueling Scanners

New MFPs and Specialty Scanners Emerge as Big Players in the Market

By Melissa Tetreault

Wide format scanner manufacturers continue to go above and beyond expectations, while simultaneously raising the bar for their competitors. The September 2007 issue of Digital Output profiled wide format scanning technologies, six months later we revisit the topic with this updated round-up.

Multifunction printers (MFPs) and stand-alone scanners targeted toward specific applications, such as fine art reproduction, scan-to-print, and architectural disaster recovery, are emerging at full force. End users are faced with growing variety, which is hardly a bad thing.

Building an Archive
Van Alen Institute (VAI) in New York City, NY commissioned Paradigm Imaging Group to scan up to 5,000 architectural drawings for a publicly accessible digital archive. Upholding this institution’s century long legacy as both an educator and innovator, VAI’s Digital Archive Initiative will aid in VAI’s growth as well as renew its commitment to the public.

VAI is a non-profit architecture organization dedicated to generating inquiry into the design of the public realm. It holds public design competitions, fellowships, exhibitions, and forums discussing the creative and cultural involvement with architecture. Named after William Van Alen, the architect of the Chrysler Building, the Institute holds educational public programs year round at both its gallery and other locations around New York City.

Founded in 1894, VAI was originally known as the Society of Beaux Arts Arch-itects. The Paris Prize, in 1904, was their first nationwide design competition for architecture students. In 1916, the society founded the Beaux Arts Institute of Design. According to VAI staff, "The institute was founded as an educational body that supported a community of architects, artists, students, and scholars through a national network of free courses of instruction, competitions, and awards designed to advance architecture and design as fundamentally civic enterprises."

In 1956, the Institute was renamed the National Institute for Architectural Education. In addition to the Paris Prize, they expanded their annual design competition programs and other educational activities. It became the Van Alen Institute in 1996, honoring William Van Alen, who won the Paris Prize in 1908.

With a rich history in architectural education, VAI looked to Paradigm Imaging Group to scan their fragile documents. VAI staff explains the project in detail, "The purpose of this project is to enable public access to a significant, but often overlooked, narrative in American architectural history as represented by VAI’s collection of original architectural drawings and public design competition materials dating from the early 20th century to the present." Students and young architects who took part in the design competitions organized by the Institute from 1904 to the present submitted these documents.

Paradigm chose the ImagePRO GxT 42e scanner for the project. Eric Hanson, eastern sales manager, Paradigm Imaging Group, explains, "We chose the ImagePRO GxT 42e primarily because of its unmatched image quality and color gamut. This scanner also has an advanced media feed system, which is critical in dealing with some of the fragile boards supplied by VAI." The scanner has a 42-inch maximum image width and a 48-inch maximum media width. The unit prints as fast as 3 inches per second (in/s) in color and 6 in/s in monochrome, both at 1,200 dpi.

With the ImagePRO GxT 42e, one to two people scan up to 5,000 original, 40x30-inch architectural drawings. Access to VAI’s digital archive will be provided to the public via OpenCollection with support from the New York State Council of The Arts and the Stephen A. & Diana L. Goldberg Foundation.

OpenCollection is a Web-based collection management platform created by archival consultant Seth Kaufman in collaboration with the Museum of the Moving Image. Kaufman also works with VAI to provide archival consulting. VAI is among the first architecture organizations to use an open-source digital collections management platform.

Shares VAI staff, "Few architecture organizations have digitized their collections for public, Web-based access. As one of the only public resources of its kind, VAI’s digital archive will enable public access to a unique and rare collection of historic design materials."

With this new platform, a variety of primary source documents that showcase the evolution of 20th century American architectural education will be available to the public. In collaboration with OpenCollection and Paradigm, VAI carries its mission well into the 21st century.

This Just In
Paradigm Imaging Group is just one of many manufacturers offering the tools necessary to capture and archive important, fragile, and interesting documents. Included here is a sample of wide format scanner manufacturers’ latest and greatest products. While some may not be available until the Spring, others were available as early as this past Fall.

Canon U.S.A., Inc.
An upgrade from the Colortrac Scanner System with imagePROGRAF W8400D, Canon introduces a faster, easier to use, and relatively inexpensive bundled solution—the Colortrac Scanner System with imagePROGRAF iPF710. According to Richard Reamer, senior marketing manager, large format printer division, Canon U.S.A., Inc., "This product is a combination of multiple components that exist as a single footprint and work together to create a large format scan-to-print, scan-to-email, and scan-to-archive device."

With the upgrade, users can look forward to a print speed increase. The older model, bundled with the imagePROGRAF W8400D had a max speed of 305 square feet per hour (sf/h). The imagePROGRAF iPF710 prints at up to 659 sf/h, allowing for a color ARCH D-size print to be produced in less than 40 seconds at 1,200 dpi.

A new high-speed Large Format Common Architecture (LCOA) processor creates advanced image processing and image control. With a System on Chip (SOC) design, image processing and printer control can perform simultaneously as opposed to a previously serial operation.

Additionally, the computer tying the hardware and software together upgraded from the Dell Dimension HT5150 to the Dell Optiplex 320. "The Dell Optiplex is a true business platform with Hyper-Threading which provides better performance and improved processing," says Reamer.

He continues, "Not only do these new features make the product more robust and convenient for our clients, it also helps Canon to maintain its competitive edge over the competitive devices in the marketplace today."

Ideal for those in the AEC/reprographic marketplace dealing with technical documents such as line drawings, renderings, and blueprints, this product stands out with the inexpensive MSRP of $16,995. Additionally, the software bundled with the solution creates a very user-friendly device. "[It] comes bundled with the machine and caters to a variety of user-levels in a multi-user environment, from the novice user looking to quickly scan-to-file a large format document, to the advanced user looking to scan, edit, and email a large format document all with one device," concludes Reamer.

Cruse Digital Equipment
Literally turning scanners on their heads is Cruse Digital Equipment. Deriving from its original Cruse Synchron Table (ST) line, Cruse Digital Equipment created the museum special line of scanners or the CS 185ST1100 Museum Special (MS). Like all of Cruse’s scanners, the CS 185ST1100MS has a fixed light source and scan head with a moving vacuum table. The difference is this scanner is almost vertical.

Artwork is placed on a copy board about 15 degrees from vertical, avoiding the chance of a painting falling forward, but preventing anything from hanging over it. Mike Lind, sales manager, Cruse Digital Equipment, explains the allure of the new scanner. "The Museum Special Scanners were specifically designed for museums that will not allow any object to hang over priceless works of art. China even has a law that forbids anything to be placed over ancient art, in case something was to fall and damage it."

Museum conservators are thrilled about this new development. Scanning items as big as 3.28x4.92 feet at up to 600 dpi is perfect for fragile, mounted pieces of art. Setting a standard in the wide format market, Cruse Digital Equipment has "carved out a niche for very accurate, high quality and safe scans for items that cannot be run through more traditional scanners," says Lind.

The HP Designjet T1100 MFP is the newest addition to the Hewlett-Packard (HP) line up since last Fall. Targeted toward copy shops, small-to medium- sized businesses, architectural, engineering, and construction professionals and government agencies, this multifunction solution is ideal for line drawings, maps, images, and posters.

Features include six HP Vivera inks with a three-black ink set. This creates high-quality line drawings, complex maps, and images. Copies can be as clean as the originals or in some cases even cleaner. CCD scanning technology enables 0.1 percent line accuracy and background-cleaning capabilities create a clearer look.

The HP Designjet T1100 MFP prints three times faster than previous HP Designjet models. It can print an A1/D page in 35 seconds. It scans two inches per second (in/s) in color and six in/s in B&W. With this multifunction device you can copy, scan, or print to almost any HP Designjet in the network. This device is so user friendly that it monitors print jobs and supplies, directly improving productivity.

KIP America
In Fall 2007, KIP added two new products to its MFP selection. The KIP 9000 is an advanced printing and imaging technology. It was designed, according to Steve Kozle, IPS systems product manager, KIP America, "to deliver a new benchmark in high demand productivity. It delivers breakthrough performance and quality." The MFP prints up to 7,900 sf/h monochrome. A KIP monochrome or color scanner can be placed on top of the device to create a single footprint or can be arranged as a freestanding station.

KIP also introduced KIP PrintNET 3.0, a Web print control solution. "It delivers versatile viewing, printing, obqueue management and system administration features via the Web without the need to install specialized applications on network PCs," shares Kozle. The system is compatible with all standard Web browsers, allowing you to send files to all KIP systems on the network or through the Internet.

KIP’s newest addition upholds the KIP motto—targeted toward architectural, engineering, and manufacturing industries, KIP devices strive to deliver an efficient, dependable, and high quality performance, according Kozle. He continues, "Professionals rely on the performance and value of KIP products to meet the ever increasing demand for fast, high quality, and cost effective wide format document reproduction."

Paradigm Imaging Group
Paradigm Imaging Group announces its second generation of large format multi-function systems, the EIS Supra. The new system now includes a Graphtec America SK200 36-inch color scanner. It is bundled with Canon imagePROGRAF iPF710, which supports roll media.

The scanning function of the Supra’s Graphtec SK200 incorporates proven, advanced contact image sensor technology featuring a maximum scanning width of 36 inches and true 600 dpi optical resolution with B&W/grayscale/full-color capability. The scanning top speed is 6 in/s in B&W at 400 dpi and 2 in/s in color at 400 dpi.

The Rocket controller is the powerhouse of the device. It houses a 2.8 GHz Pentium 4 processor. Pre-installed with ImageFLOW software, it helps to create a user-friendly experience. With the software, users are able to operate the multifunction system effortlessly with an easy-to-use interface.

A rack integrates the scanner by positioning it over the printer, creating a single-footprint system perfect for those involved in facility management, CAD, GIS, and reprographics.

Xerox Corporation
The Xerox 6050A wide format printer, launched in September 2007, is designed for architectural, engineering, and construction companies. A mid-volume, B&W system, it is available in four configurations—a two or four roll printer only, or a two or four roll multifunction device with an optional Wide Format Scan System.

"In my opinion, the 6050A stands apart from other offerings in the wide format scanner market with its high level of productivity—from its speedy warm-up and large media capacity to its ability to multitask," shares Scott Frame, VP, wide format line of business, production systems group, Xerox Corporation.

Another benefit is how easy it fits into a customer’s existing workflow. Xerox FreeFlow Accxes Print Server supports Design Web Format, which is ideal for engineering customers wanting to share their designs. Its Raster Feature Key allows for the direct printing of BMP, GIF, PNG, and JPEG 200 files. This is helpful for construction companies, diminishing the need to open files for editing purposes before printing. Frame goes on to say, "The integrated FreeFlow Accxes Print Server offers the most comprehensive set of direct-print file formats in the industry."

Multifunction Serves Its Purpose
With several new wide format scanners coming out this Spring to join existing scanners launched this past Fall, the variety is astounding. New scanners entering the market are not only multifunctional in regards to scanning, copying, and printing, but are also multifunctional in terms of the application.

What does this mean for you? For starters, more choice and for those inclined to walk on the wild side, a chance to add services to their already existing business without buying a new device.

Feb2008, Digital Output

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