They say that “what comes out is only as good as what goes in.” Therefore wide-format scanners play a large role in the production of high-quality graphics. While many think of wide-format scanners as merely a way to make copies of large documents, the uses vary as wide as the scanners themselves. How can print service providers make the best use of their wide-format scanners? How can they bring in new business?
What is the most popular use for wide-format scanners?
Laetitia Destombes, product manager, Large Format Printing Division, HP: Large-format scanners and multifunction printers (MFPs) are used to digitize documents for archiving purposes or to make copies. The most common application is scanning older originals that are only available in a paper format to create a digital copy or a version of the document that is easier to handle. For example, companies often have a store of old drawings and have a need to digitize the originals for security reasons, to create more space and to increase accessibility to the files for other members of the organization. Large-format scanning technologies allow them to do this quickly and easily. Additionally, customers working in the technical industry often want to take a D- or E-size map and create a digital version. With a large-format scanner, they are able to produce a smaller format that is more convenient to work with in the field.
We also see real estate companies and CAD/GIS professionals scanning maps for further processing. In this instance, any change made on a map is scanned and entered into a database that can be easily found in case of emergency. Wide-format scanners can also benefit PSPs when they receive unusual requests from customers, such as the request to reproduce large family trees or a caricature made in Montmartre during a honeymoon.
Dan Bennett, Director of Service Operations, Contex Americas, Inc.: Document archival and short-run copying are the most popular uses for wide-format scanners. However, we see just about every possible use imaginable. The sky is the limit. We see scanning of graphic arts, fine art, engineering and GIS documents, raster to vector conversion, proofing for press runs, apparel, the list goes on and on.
Maree Joyce, product marketing specialist, Wide-Format Printing Systems Division of Océ North America: Storing and preserving drawings—not only to preserve legacy documents and save space, but also to more easily search for drawings from a digital archive and distribute them to wherever needed as quickly as possible.
Jane Hicks, marketing manager, Paradigm Imaging Group, Inc.: Wide-format scanners are used in a wide variety of markets, including to convert paper drawings, maps, renderings, etc. into electronic format for storage. Many federal and local government agencies use large-format scanners in this manner. Large-format scanners also can be used to scan posters, photographs, and other graphic images for storage or reproduction. This has become more popular as scanning technology has improved with new CIS technology.
Emily Rhodes, project manager, GEI Wide Format (North American distributor for Colortrac Ltd.): I would have to say that scanning to archive is the most popular application.
How can print providers make the most out of their scanning equipment?
Destombes: Installing a large-format MFP gives PSPs the opportunity to expand their businesses and build a competitive advantage with the ability to offer new scan and copy services to customers. Large-format MFP technology also provides great potential for profit growth. In addition to providing intuitive scanning and copying features, new MFPs include advanced color adjustment options that enable PSPs to better adapt to customer requests while minimizing the time operators need to spend on each job.