Choosing a suitable large format machine is often a daunting task. I often meet customers who are spoilt for choice when it comes to the types of machines that can be suitable for their needs. So lets get down to the criteria that customers needs to choose from when it comes to selecting a machine that will be suitable.
1. How much do you print?
This is a fundamental question that needs to be addressed first
Printing is categorized in to low, medium and high volume prints
As a consumer it is important to estimate this figure first
low= 1 to 5 A1/A0 print outs per day
medium= 30 to 60 A1/A0 print outs per day
high = 70 to 100 A1/A0 print outs per day
once we have this information we need to progress to the next step
2. Do you require black and white or color prints?
most customers are familiar in printing mainly in mono
however depending on the volume the technology deployed is critical
For high to medium volume of mainly mono prints we suggest a laser machine
Laser printing machines such as the Seiko Teriostar offers fast mono prints
However if you have a mix of medium to high color and mono prints
You may need to consider a machine such as the HP DESIGNJET T3500
Alternatively you can choose to select the Seiko Teriostarand a correspondinginkjet plotter.
These days with the new technology found in the HP DESIGNJET T3500 printing in mono and color cost wise is practically the same
3. Batch printing features?
it is often cumbersome to open pdf files one at a time
if you often have to print a number of pdf files this can be extremely exhausting
as each file needs to be opened individually and then parameters set and then you may send it for printing
batch printing allows for a drag and drop function such as is found on softwares which are bundled with the HP DESIGNJET T3500 like the HP Smart Stream.
You can also see how this software is implemented in the Seiko Teriostar you can watch a demonstration of this here.
Typically machines that come bundled with this machine tend to have a higher price point.
So should your orgnaization mainly send the files through Autocad or other software then there is no need for any batch printing and a normal range of plotters are available.
4. Size of machine?
A common misconception i have noticed in this industry has to do with the size of the drawing.
Typically most customers believe if they are printing A1 size they should buy an A1 size machine
This is not recommended and here is why.
When you purchase an A1(24″) plotter then what your doing is printing A1 size in potrait.
Doing so means you print the short edge first (594mm) and leave the long edge (841mm) trailing behind.
This consumes paper, alot of paper. So you will raise consumable price for paper
I suggest to you to print A1 in landscape meaning the long edge is printed first this way the paper consumption will only be (594mm ) trailing behind.
5. Do you need a scanner or any large format multifunction feature?
A multifunction machine allows a consumer to print/copy/scan/save to network.
Amendments that are done in hard copy is to be saved and so the best way to do this is to scan the document.
Here is a quick tip; if yo already have a printer then all you need is an upgrade of hardware.
You can easily upgrade your existing plotter to a multifunctional A0 and A1 size by using the following machines from contex especially the mfp2go Series.
This allows independence from the large format printer and the large format scanner and allows a consumer a redundancy feature.
Meaning if your plotter is spoilt then you can still use the scanner.
The other alternatives of an inbuilt Multifunction are found in the following machines
HP DESIGNJET T3500 , Seiko Teriostar, HP Designjet T2500
6. Running costs?
The most critical mistake consumers make is the overlook the running cost.
Some machines in the market are cheap to buy but extremely costly to maintain.
So doing your research is extremely important
large format printing machines which are not on a service contract have the following consumables
maintenance waste ink tank, print head, and inks
The standard mono laser printer Seiko Teriostar comes with 5 years of consumables (except paper) being taken care of and the consumer pays per use of a sq meter program.
However the only machine in singapore that gives the consumer the advantages of a pay-per-use scheme is the HP DESIGNJET T3500 allowing color and mono prints to be charged per use.
This model is really good for the cost concious customer and those with med to high volume needs.
7. Cloud connectivity
having a cloud connected printer offers some unique advantages
it allows users to print remotely without having to be in front of the machine.
supposing your working on a project and its a sat or sun and you need to have the drawings first thing monday morning.
With the cloud connected machine you can send print jobs from your home or wherever you are to the machine and have them ready when you need them.
8. Overall budget
The budget really assist in determining the best solution for your needs
consumers often want the best at the cheapest possible price however their expectation of cheap is extremely skewed from what is actually possible.
In nutshell i have summarised the price ranges as follows
low = $2000 to $5000
medium= $5000 to $7000
High= $15000 to $26000
It is my hope that this guide really narrows down how you can go about selecting the right large format printer for your needs. I will be more than happy to meet up with you to learn more and to give you the advice you deserve. I belive customers for far too long have dealt with sales people that are out to recommend something really expensive for a higher comission. I find this to be abhorring and unethical. So if your looking for a clean cut easy to understand and a proposal that will match your requrirement do give me a call at 90266787 or visit my website http://www.largeformatspecialist.com.sg for further information.