For all these reasons, architecture, engineering and design firms consider wide-format color prints to be a luxury. Many firms employ color inkjets only to print check-plots and single sets to sign and stamp. For batch plotting plans and documents, most firms use monochrome wide format printers or outsource their printing projects to a reprographic service. And, because many reprographers share these same challenges, which is why wide-format color printing prices can be prohibitive.
Inkjet printers often have a low cost of entry, high output quality and represent the industry standard for color plotting. However, they are not conducive to high-volume, low-cost output. Faster, cheaper color printing is the key that will unlock the acceptance of wide format color printing as a standard throughout the lifecycle of architecture, engineering and construction projects.
Fortunately, there are now wide format color printers on the market that use color toner instead of ink. The speeds are radically faster than inkjet, and the per-square-foot print costs are comparable to those of monochrome wide format printing. Reprographic firms are starting to use this new technology for production work and equipment manufacturers and their resellers are offering this toner-based wide format color plotters. This is good news for the architecture, engineering and construction industries, since the new technology accelerations color printing job completion and reduces color CAD printing costs.
Architecture, engineering and construction firms have to overcome the negative perceptions of color inkjet printing. Currently, there is a paradigm shift taking place, and the sooner AEC firms embrace it, the sooner these firms can start reaping the benefits of wide format color printing.
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