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What Type of Wide Format Scanner is Right for You?

When you're ready to purchase a wide format scanner, there are many factors to take into consideration. What types of large format scan jobs will you perform most often? Will you scan full or partial sized documents for archiving purposes? Or will you be using your wide format scanner mainly for copying purposes? Knowing how you will be using your scanner is essential to making the right purchase for your professional needs. Even in today's digital world, wide format scanning is still necessary.

First of all, is it really a scanner or is it a copier? That depends on how you are using it. If the wide format scanner is used to create a digital image from a hard copy printed drawing that is archived for use at some later point, then it is a scanner. If it is used in conjunction with a printer and the hard copy printed drawing is scanned but then output directly on the printer, then it is a copier.

Wide Format Scanners

From a functional perspective, wide format scanners come either attached directly to a printer or they can be attached separately using the printer's controller. Scanners attached directly to a printer are normally mounted on top, making for an efficient single footprint device that is not only very easy to use, but one that fits comfortably into most office spaces. Key types of scan technologies and features to consider are:

  • Scan technology - there are basically two choices with regards to wide format scanning technology, Contact Image Sensor (CIS) and Charged-coupled Device (CCD) technology. Generally, a CIS scanner is considered to be better for technical documents (CAD, AEC, GIS, Maps, Government, and Utilities) because of its ability to reproduce fine lines and small type. A CCD scanner on the other hand is often used in the graphic arts arena to scan photographs, renderings and posters.

  • Image clean up software — this is the image processing technology embedded in the scanner that optimizes image quality, even while scanning the most difficult documents. The way to see what's best is to scan your most difficult documents.

  • Range of document thickness — most wide format scanners handle documents up to .12 inches thick, while others designed for thicker originals handle documents as thick as .60". To give you an idea of how thick this is, .60" is as thick as about 150 sheets of 20lb. bond paper.

  • Color or black & white scan capabilities — if you have multi-colored originals that need to be scanned or if you want to capture markups in various colors to digitally distribute to members on a project team, a color wide format scanner is a must.

  • Speed of scan — black & white scanning will run faster than color. The smaller the dpi or resolution of the scanned image will impact speed and file size if you archive scans.

  • Warm up time — less is obviously better.

  • Width of original document — normal widths are 8"–36", but for oversized scanning, there are units capable of scanning up to 54".

Let Canon Solutions America help you identify the best scanning equipment for your professional needs with more information on the finer points of understanding large format scanning technology. Download the Wide Format Scanner Buyer's Guide or contact us today.

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