Architecture, engineering, and consulting (AEC) industries are demanding, as is computer aided drawing (CAD) and geographical information service (GIS) markets. Each requires an expanding feature set when scanning wide format documents. Dimensional and scale accuracy, flexibility in file formats for use in a preferred CAD application, as well as quality and reliable/flexible feeding are strong considerations. Speed is a prerequisite. Today’s wide format monochrome and color scanners address productivity, mobility, and compatibility. These factors are important to players in AEC, CAD, and GIS.
The Need for Speed
Wide format scanners such as Contex’s HDUltra i4290s scan full-color images up to eight inches per second (ips), and grayscale up to 12 ips—ideal for those demanding volume and quality.
Colortrac’s SmartLF SC series, distributed by Paradigm Imaging Solutions, runs at 13 ips monochrome and up to six ips in color, along with features such as FireFly—Colortrac Data Transfer Technology. Using USB3, the SC series scanners achieve data transfer rates up to 85 MB per second, reducing bottlenecks created with slower USB2 interfaces.
In addition, Colortrac’s SmartWork Pro software features scan once technology, allowing users to make adjustments to an image immediately after scanning. It is then updated and saved, eliminating the need to scan a second or third time.
Graphtec America, Inc. CSX500 series scanners address speed requirements by incorporating a simple user interface and scan speeds of 12 ips monochrome and four ips in color. CIS technology is also a contributor to faster scanning by eliminating the need to adjust CCD cameras and reducing warm-up time.
Cruse Digital Imaging Equipment increased speed on its equipment up to ten times by adding an LED lighting option. “The new Cruse LED lamps are brighter than the standard fluorescent-type lamps, so they allow for shorter exposure times,” explains Mike Lind, dealer, Cruse. “Even though they are very bright, there is virtually no infrared or ultra violet light emitted with LED, so it is safe for old, fragile originals.”
KIP’s 2300 Scanner is a 36-inch wide high-production scanner that utilizes camera technology and KIP’s Tru Speed data transfer technology. KIP Tru Speed offers data throughput speeds of 2.3 gigabytes per second and can scan documents up to .6 inches thick face up or face down at speeds of six ips in color and 12 ips in B&W. When the volume of scanning is lower, the KIP 720 scanner supplies color scanning speeds of two ips in color and five in B&W.
The next generation of KIP scanners plans to make use of USB3, allowing customers to scan high coverage color and B&W documents utilizing the newest data transfer technologies at even faster production speeds.
Color Capture and Mobile Trends
Color in technical document workflow is trending in the U.S.; therefore, the use of color scanning is an asset to AEC, CAD, and GIS. “These markets look for the capability to scan in color for more accuracy in their drawings, which saves them a great deal of money on errors due to one dimensional monochrome scans and drawings,” shares Maree Joyce, senior marketing specialist, Canon Solutions America.
“Color helps communicate drawings more accurately. Markups, redlines, three dimensional applications, and GIS maps are better understood and applied when in multi-color instead of B&W. This has the potential to save substantial dollars in mistakes for projects from the beginning of the building process to the completion, as well as provide more accurate GIS mapping use,” she continues.
With high-production color scanning and copying proving to be an increasing need in today’s color-centric AEC market, many manufacturers supply useful software, such as KIP’s Color Pro copy and scan software. KIP 70 Series copiers allow users to scan in color and B&W to a local mailbox, USB/FTP/SMB storage, and most recently, directly to the cloud connections including Box.com, Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive, and SharePoint. Cloud applications are increasingly used in AEC for collaboration.
Bryan Batelli, product manager, wide format, Ricoh, also highlights mobile trends in CAD market. “While it is just now taking shape, it requires that tablets and smartphones integrate seamlessly with printing devices,” he says. “Another trend in the CAD market that reflects the broader trends of enterprise and consumer is the increasing importance of the cloud; cloud integration at the control panel is becoming more common.”
Companies like Contex continue to develop smart technologies, allowing customers to take advantage of smart devices, such as phones and tablets, and become less dependent on dedicated PCs to operate a scanner. “This technology makes the scanner truly platform independent, and allows people of any skill level in an organization to operate it,” adds Steve Blanken, GM, the Americas, Contex.
User-friendly software, the ability to make changes to scanned images on the fly, and accurate scanning results are important to users. According to Jane Napolitano, marketing manager, Paradigm Imaging Group, “the ability to pair a scanner with any popular large format printer is also of value in this market.”
Blanken agrees. “Most customers want a large format scanner that is compatible with their printer so that, in addition to scanning, they are able to make monochrome or color copies in real time to their large format color printers.” He also shares that many prefer to do multi-page PDFs in a single file so that one PDF file has multiple pages of one project or one job. This helps in document and project management.
Manufacturers like Ricoh develop scanners that are built into its MFP devices, rather than as standalone devices. “We recognize that AEC, CAD, and GIS has increased demands for better scanning workflow in the last few years and that customers desire mobility and flexibility, so quickly converting hard copies to electronic is essential,” notes Batelli.
Productivity is an important factor for AEC, CAD, and GIS professionals. Other features addressed include mobility and printer compatibility. It is important for wide format scanners to keep up with advancements in software and hardware, whether through increased scan quality, ease of use, productivity, software, driver capabilities, or RIP compatibility. In the next part of this series we study the important features fine art professionals look for in a wide format scanner.