Monday, November 7, 2011

Image Access – Wide-Tek Scanners

While attending the vendor exhibits at last week’s Eastern (Regional) Reprographics Association convention, I stopped at the booth of “Image Access”, a company that offers wide-format scanners and software, and chatted for a while with Stephen Andrikut, who is their “Wide Format Business Development Manager.” Stephen was formerly with OCE’s wide-format division in the U.S.

Wide-Tek scanners are manufactured in Germany. I’ve purchased imaging equipment from German manufacturers in the past, and I never had a German-manufactured piece of equipment that wasn’t well-built. And, so, I suspect that Wide-Tek scanners are precision scanners and that they are very well constructed.

Steve demonstrated the model he had in his booth. Remarkably fast – for wide-format color scanning, Steve says that the scanner scans in color at up to 5x faster than the TC4 scanner bundled into OCE TCS color systems. Scan at up to 1200 dpi!

While Steve was demonstrating the scanner, he pointed to the control panel on the scanner and said that, “if you wanted to, you could scan drawings directly into an e-planroom” – he pointed across the aisle (at ReproConnect, another vendor exhibiting at the trade show and one that offers e-planrooms for reprographers) and said, “for example, you could have a “ReproConnect” button on your scanner control panel and press it to scan drawings directly to your ReproConnect planroom.” I suspect that one could do the same to other e-planrooms.

Recently, Xante announced that it would soon be introducing a “Memjet-enabled” wide-format color ink-jet printer to the U.S. market. (Expected sometime in the late Spring.) Memjet printers print very, very, very fast. Memjet-enabled printers do not have scanners. So, if you wanted to use a Xante wide-format Memjet-enabled printer to print A/E/C plans, you could print directly from “digital files” but not from “hard-copy”, unless you had a scanner to scan hard copy to files.

If I was in the process of setting up a new A/E/C reprographics business from scratch (I know, I know, I’d have to have my head examined), would I not want to consider starting that new business with 2 or 3 Xante Memjet-enabled wide-format ink-jet printers, and 1 Wide-Tek color scanner? Add an e-planroom, and I’m ready to go! But, in order to make this work well, I’m going to need the printer to be able to do set printing (i.e., plans collated automatically by the software), I’m going to need the printer to have a stacker on the back side. I’d want to be able to offer A/E/C documents in color in order to differentiate my business, somewhat, from reprographers who are offering mostly plan-printing in black & white

If I’m recalling this correctly, our first wide-format “color scanner” cost us around $50,000. And, our first “display-graphics” wide-format ink-jet printer cost us around $30,000. And, our first HP “color” CAD ink-jet printer cost us around $15,000. But, those wide-format printers were ultra slow. The word “snail” comes to mind. Bundle a Wide-Tek scanner with a couple of memjet-enabled wide-format ink-jet printers, and you’ll have a “reprographics system” that’s very, very fast. Unfortunately, Xante has not yet announced pricing. The Wide-Tek scanner that was demo’d to me, sells for around $10,000.

Contact Information:

Image Access GmbH

Dunedin, FL

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