Wide format printers and their capture counterparts are used across an array of segments. With increased usage in the graphic arts thanks to advancements in lighting technology, increased color quality, connectivity, and the ability to capture three-dimensional (3D) objects, wide format scanners are a staple.
Traditionally, wide format scanners found success in fine art. Many of these devices feature the ability to efficiently and safely capture unique and fragile objects. Due to this, a trend in décor markets is developing—as scanners capture items that will eventually be printed to match a lighting fixture pattern or painting on a wall.
The capture of décor-based projects is made possible by color and lighting enhancements. “Today, the dominating light source for a CCD-based scanner is a fluorescent lamp, and for CIS-based technology it is LED lights. This technology difference is the key issue in regards to the achievable color quality of a CIS- versus a CCD-based scanning system. In simple terms, CIS technology generates sufficient quality in entry level applications, including the monochrome and color CAD/AEC and GIS market segment. For the graphics segment, we see the need for the more accurate color capture of CCD-based technology,” claims Steve Kozel, national marketing manager, KIP.
Color advancements affect other markets such as engineering. “Color is becoming a major trend in the U.S. Engineering firms are looking for the capability to both scan and print in color for more accuracy. Color scans save a great deal in costs. Used as a communication tool for firms, color helps them illustrate their project drawings much more clearly than monochrome. Markups, redlines, and 3D applications are better understood and applied when they are multi-colored instead of B&W,” explains Maree Joyce, product marketing manager, wide format printing systems, Océ North America, a Canon group company.
Connectivity plays its part in this space. The allure of multifunction products (MFPs), which save in footprint and costs attract many. “The most significant opportunity is the large format MFP markets for scanning, copying, printing, faxing, and emailing. These devices were in the small format arena for awhile and until recently only existed as monochrome products in the wide format space,” says Steve Blanken, director and sales, U.S./Canada, Contex Holding A/S.
As software improves and the number of printers that work well with wide format scanners grows, this trend will steadily increase. “MFP systems continue to grow in popularity as software improves and companies search for ways to use existing equipment. Large format scanners and MFP systems continue to become more affordable, allowing businesses to perform functions that were previously outsourced,” adds Jane Napolitano, marketing manager, Paradigm Imaging Group.
New and Popular
Capitalizing on these changes, wide format scanner manufacturers continue to develop new products. Included here are the newest solutions available directly through vendors and dealers.
Colortrac Ltd. offers its Professional MFP solution in four different configurations. The Professional MFP CAD Solution utilizes the Colortrac SmartLF Ci 24 scanner, which is 24 inches in width. Color and monochrome documents are scanned and copied utilizing SmartWorks Pro software. For those looking to work with documents up to 42 inches in width, the Professional MFP Graphics & CAD Copier Solution is a fit. It is a wide format solution for high-speed technical imaging and high-fidelity color reproduction. Colortrac scanners are available through GEI WideFormat Inc., Paradigm, and Promark Technology—all dealers located throughout North America.
This past Fall, Contex launched the new HD Ultra series and SD3600 scanners. The new Ultra line is focused on efficiency. Upgrades include monochrome to color, an upgrade width of 36 to 42 inches, scans of one to six inches per second (in/s) in 48-bit color, true 1,200x1,200 dpi, and Ethernet GB able to be turned on or off. The SD3600 is a CIS scanner that is 36 inches and field upgradeable. Upgrades include monochrome to color, 600 to 1,200 dpi, and speeds of one to three in/s. Both scanners are designed to grow with the user. All Contex scanners are available for purchase through Contex dealers and range in price from $4,000 to $23,000. These devices are commonly found in fine art, technical, GIS, engineering, construction, prepress, apparel, newspaper, photo, graphics, reprographics, and quick printing markets.
Cruse Synchron Table (ST) scanners from Cruse Digital Imaging Equipment are available from 36x48 inches up to seven- by ten-foot models. Used in fine art reproduction, the décor industry, libraries, government mapping, and national and state archives, the scanners are noted for their ability to safely scan fragile original documents. These items can be up to ten inches thick with a depth of field of two to three inches. A variable texture mode and light angle option provides details not visible in standard scans. Recently, Cruse introduced the new Professional Color profiling system for the ST models, which improves color fidelity and reduces post-scan color correction. Available in North America through Reprographic Designs, Cruse scanners are priced from $75,000 to $200,000 depending on the model.
Graphtec America, Inc.’s CSX500 series—CSX510-09, CSX530-09, and CSX550-09—are available through Paradigm. A new scanning engine improves speed and color reproduction. These scanners are used in the construction, facility, infrastructure, manufacture, apparel, government, school, and military arenas.
Targeted towards AEC, CAD, GIS, reprographics, and copy shops Hewlett-Packard’s (HP’s) Designjet HD Scanner is available directly from the company and through dealers. It scans in high-quality color at up three in/s and ten in/s in B&W. A scan resolution of 9,600x9,600 dpi and width of 42 inches allows for the easy transformation of documents in house. HP encourages users to integrate HP Designjet printers for a scan-to-copy-to-print solution, allowing for seamless network connectivity. The scanner is available for $18,995.
Image Access Inc.’s newest wide format scanners include the WideTEK 36C, WideTEK 25, and WideTEK 36 DS. An entry level device, 18x24-inch flatbed, and a wide format duplex, respectively, each solution offers true network scanning and the ability to print to any wide format scanner. An LED light source means no warm up time and additional efficiency methods include batch scanning software and an image modify feature that eliminates rescanning. Each scanner is popular in the architectural, GIS, government, media, healthcare, graphics, archiving, and reprographic markets.
KIP offers two wide format scanners. The entry-level model, the KIP 600 is a 24-bit, 36-inch, full-color image capture system ideal for photographs, complex maps, and AEC/CAD drawings. At true 600x600 dpi optical resolution, it offers fast scanning speeds and no warm up time. For professionals, KIP offers the KIP 2300. High speeds are achieved with KIP TrueSpeed Technology that simultaneously delivers outstanding image quality. Monochrome scan speeds are up to 12 in/s and color is six in/s. Both devices are used in a variety of markets from reprographics, architectural, legal, government, manufacturing, to utilities and healthcare. KIP sells its solutions through the KIP Authorized Dealers network across North America.
In November 2011, Newly Corporation introduced the Scanera TopFace Pro. The device is capable of scanning 3D objects at high resolutions. At 23x33 inches with a four-inch high top face scanning bed and a depth of field up to four inches, the Scanera captures art, reprographics, brochures, food, textiles, and textures such as wood grains and brush strokes. All of these items are scanned at 130 million pixels. At press time Newly was actively looking for distributors in North America for the Scanera.
Océ recently released the following scanners, the TC4, TC4XT, TDS610, TDS810, CS4300 Series, and CS4236. All are available directly through Océ and resellers throughout North America. Of note is the CS4236 36-inch scanner utilizing CIS scanning technology. An optical resolution of 1,200x1,200 dpi and scanning speeds of five feet per minute (fpm) in color and 24 fpm in B&W make for an efficient operation. Océ Copy Easy software offers multiple features including cropping, scan-to-file, scan-to-print, tune color ability, and support for multiple file output. Océ scanners are available from $7,995 to $45,995.
Paradigm distributes wide format scanners from Colortrac and Graphtec. The company also offers its own line of scanners, imagePRO. Combined with a large format scanner, printer, computer, software, and stand; these models morph into MFPs referred to as EIS systems. The solutions are compatible with 550 large format printers. The newest addition to the EIS Flex line is the imagePRO Flex Ci40. Partnering with both Colortrac and Graphtec, the new scanner is 40 inches in width and scans up to ten in/s in B&W and 1.5 in/s in color. A Rocket ONE scanner controller with two GB of high-speed RAM and a 350 GB hard drive complete the package.
Read about an end user utilizing KIP wide format scanners in the reprographic market in the second part of this series.