Wide-format scanners play a significant role in the production of high-quality graphics and images. Whether you’re using them for scan-to-file, scan-to-print, or both functions, it’s important to understand they can be of tremendous utility in helping you gain more business, more sales, and more profits.
One shop benefitted by using its scanners to provide a client with an invaluable service, then reaped an unexpected benefit, says Bob Honn, director of marketing services for the Wide-format Printing Systems Division of Océ North America. “They brought in the [client’s] old metal cabinets, with drawers filled with paper documents, and digitized all those documents,” he recalls. “And then they sold off the cabinets on eBay, because the customer didn’t want them back.”
Reaping a sizable return on your investment starts with understanding the two major scanning technologies and which to choose for your application, says Randy Geesman, president of Paradigm Imaging. If the work involves documents that are more color critical, whether posters, photography, or artwork, a Charged Coupled Device (CCD) scanner is the best choice, because it is capable of producing a wider array of colors with greater accuracy, Geesman says. Contact Image Sensor, or CIS technology, on the other hand, is appropriate for technical documents.
According to Eric DuPaul, Designjet business development manager with Hewlett-Packard, CCD is the older of the technologies, uses multiple cameras, and a florescent light source, and can be adjusted to filter out imperfections. “Traditionally, these CCD scanners have the ability to raise and lower the platen head, allowing you to scan a document that may be attached to a piece of foam core or even plywood,” he adds.
CIS, on the other hand, is the less expensive of the technologies, uses LED lighting, and has very few moving parts, DuPaul says. “CIS technology is really geared toward a customer scanning low-to-mid-volume amounts of documents,” he says. “The types of documents scanned would be rolled, rather than folded. They would be monochrome, or maps with some colors, but mainly lined data...The CIS technology has a tendency to pick up more of the folding of the media, so anything older, such as a Mylar or animal skin, you don’t want to scan with CIS because you’ll pick up imperfections.”
Shops doing 100 to 300 scans a month should be steered toward CIS, especially because CIS scanners are typically bundled with simplistic software that are not intended for a production environment, DuPaul explains.
But if you have a client who arrives with seven sets of drawings, each with 30 pages, and each set is to be scanned and documents individually named, the task is usually beyond the capability of a CIS scanner and its bundled software, DuPaul says. “That’s why it’s recommended to move to a CCD scanner with higher-end production software able to operate it, and to allow for individual file naming and very easily collated individuals sets,” he adds.
It’s also important that PSPs take color management into account. “There is no guarantee that what you see on paper is captured on the computer screen and will be seen when you output it on media,” Geesman says.
“It’s important that you manage color right across those three steps, by implementing ICC color workflow management. You can calibrate the scanner to produce more accurate color by creating ICC profiles for your scanner. You can also do the equivalent task, generating a profile for your screen, so the colors are represented more accurately on the screen.”
PSPs also need to generate ICC profiles for specific medias they use, as well as for specific printer settings, resolution, and the number of passes made by the printhead. “It’s how you really make better use of a scanner,” Geesman adds. “Unless you implement ICC color workflow management, it’s a bunch of trial and error you have to go through, like throwing darts at a dartboard.”