Width and volume. “When I’m talking with a customer interested in scanning, I ask, ‘How large is your widest document?’” Geesman says. “Scanners go all the way up to 56 inches, so I like to know the widths of the documents being scanned.”
His next question is whether the buyer needs to scan many documents. If they need to scan 30x42 inches, the architectural E size, and they have to scan, say, 20,000 drawings, they should get the 42 inch. “It’s easier to do that volume if you’re scanning in landscape mode,” he says. “Some might say they do have some 48-inch maps, something larger than 42 [inches], and in that case I’d advise them to go up to 56 inches.
“Again, it comes down to how many they want to scan. If it’s three documents a year, don’t step up to the higher-priced machine.”
For service bureaus. For those shops that fall into the category of service bureaus, Geesman recommends buying a 56-inch scanner. “They don’t want to lock themselves into a corner by having a smaller scanner,” he says. “As a service bureau, you need to cater to a broad range of customers. You don’t want to limit your capabilities.”
Scanning mounted documents. One question any PSP should ask before selecting a scanner is whether documents to be scanned include those that are mounted as opposed to un-mounted, Geesman says. While most documents are printed on some flexible and fairly thin material, others are mounted on boards. That requires a scanner capable of accommodating different thicknesses.
Scanning fragile documents. The fragility of historical documents, notably documents that have been rolled and may be tattered, makes it inadvisable for them to be fed through roll-feed scanners. That’s when a wide-format flatbed scanner comes into play.
Image resolution. Another issue to consider is image resolution, and here two options exist, according to Honn. One option is optical, similar to a digital camera.
The other is interpolated, in which an image captured at 300x300 dpi can be transformed into 600x600 dpi by means of software. “The software is able to make it higher resolution, but any time you can get the higher resolutions with optical as opposed to interpolated, you should go with optical,” Honn explains. “The actual image captured through CIS or CCD technology will always be better through the scanner technology, before being manipulated by software.”
Recommended products. When it comes to recommending a scanner, HP’s DuPaul suggests the HP Designjet T2300 eMFP, an all-in-one package that fits the needs of small to medium-sized ships that want to offer large-format color scanning, color printing, and copying. The HP Designjet T2300 eMFP is a 44-inch color printer with an integrated 36-inch Contex CIS scanner. “Why the 36-inch scanner?” DuPaul asks. “Because, quite frankly, 90 percent of the drawings are going to be 36 inches or less.”
Canon Solutions America’s Honn says that, based on scanner capabilities and compact footprint, his recommendations would be the Océ Plot Wave 350 and the Océ Color Wave 300. “Both feature attractive price points, compact footprint, and advanced scanning technologies,” he says.
Colortrac’s Lane reports his company just introduced its SmartLF SC Series of color scanners, which he says are ideal for reprographics shops. “They are very economic, and include unique new technology inside,” Lane says. “There is a SingleSensor in the heart of the scanning technology. We’ve taken CIS technology and packaged it into a single unit, which gives more controlled, uniform image quality.”
Colortrac’s new SC Series full-color scanners, available in 25-, 36-, and 42-inch widths, boast another unique feature as well. Colortrac is the first wide-format scanner to include the new USB 3.0 interface, Lane says.