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Printing in Today’s CAD Environment

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Printers have come a long way in the past decade. You may have never given your traditional office printer a thought, but while new 3D printing technology may be alluring, traditional printing on paper remains crucial to the industry. Printing, especially wide format printing (more than 24 inches wide) allows for easy sharing of impactful information in a professional and concise manner. You have the ability to scale drawings and renderings to show critical details, and it provides the means to brainstorm, write, collaborate, and revise documents together with clients and colleagues.

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As a leader in the professional graphics printing market, Epson manufactures the SureColor T-Series wide-format technical plotters for engineering, architecture, and CAD professionals. With printer and printer/scanner/copier multifunction models, these compact wide-format solutions continue to be used for delivering precise printing for personal and small- to mid-sized offices. As the world continues to advance and new technologies and products continue to be introduced, wide-format printing will always hold an important part of the CAD creative process because of its ability to communicate large amounts of technical information quickly and precisely.

The Benefits of Wide-Format Printing

Wide-format printing offers a variety of benefits, including a rich, tangible document that’s easy to digest and professionally conveys visual information. Bringing a tangible print into a meeting or to a job site displays a level of professionalism and reliability and leaves a lasting impact on a client. It can provide a snapshot of a phase in the design process for markups, sharing, collaborating, and moving the project forward. There is no need to charge a tablet mid-meeting or scramble to find an outlet at a job site to continue the project. Printed output is easy to reference and provides a client, manager, or installer with a worksheet of information that can be referenced at many stages of the development process.

For those working on projects with intricate details, wide-format printing provides the opportunity to scale drawings to pinpoint exact measurements and locations necessary for vendors and installers to understand. In addition, project managers can easily use ink in different colors to identify details clearly. For example, a contractor or building designer can print a wide-format, to-scale rendering of a kitchen remodel and use blue ink to identify water lines, green ink to identify gas lines, and red ink to identify power lines and outlet connections. This level of printed detail would allow a contractor to keep one print on-site to reference with each individual utility company as the project commences.

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Printing Solutions for All Situations

Although we may be accustomed to large office plotters, many professionals are currently experiencing a hybrid work environment with a mix of working from home and in the office. In the past few years, technical plotters have become more compact and modern, ideal for today’s office and home environments. These compact desktop plotters are ideal for a home office or to place in a remote job-site trailer, allowing updated plans to be printed immediately and distributed quickly and efficiently to ensure a timely project completion.

Printing for Presentations

Printing enables successful and impactful presentations that exude professionalism and prestige. Even if presenting from a digital file, print has a dimensional feel and is a step closer to the final product. The printed file provides a reference point for the audience and a way to follow along, take notes, and circle back to previous information. It aids in holding an audience’s attention by reducing slide fatigue and later becomes your mark on the audience and their connection to your information, even at a later date.

This also provides the presenter with another avenue to impress. Each presentation can be printed on a variety of media to best suit the occasion. For example, Epson SureColor T-Series printers can handle and print professional output using a variety of media, including bond paper, photo media, doubleweight matte, and even specialty medias such as vellum and rigid posterboard can be printed with select printers.

In addition, printing a presentation allows images to be scaled, providing the audience with a diagram to reference up close. There will be no more squinting to understand diagrams projected at the front of the room, and they can be printed 2-up and 4-up to show multiple angles and views. Diagrams and supplemental information can be printed on rigid posterboard to complement a digital presentation and provide ongoing talking points or an avenue to present additional ideas and concepts.

Printing for Collaboration

Not every project is designed for digital collaboration. Sometimes collaborations and project revisions happen during conversations, over printed blueprints spread out on a table, where everyone has the same vantage point on a project. By printing blueprints and design renderings, these printouts can be marked up and those revisions referenced time and again. Written edits cannot be accidently deleted or mistyped and looked over without a second reference. Printing blueprints and project renderings for collaborations doesn’t need to be difficult or outsourced—it can be something done on a daily basis in the office. For example, with the Epson SureColor T-Series printer, an A1/D-sized print can be produced accurately in as fast as 22 seconds.

Note that print speeds are based on the print engine speed only. Total output time depends on workstation configuration, file size, print resolution, ink coverage, networking, etc. Print time estimate of 22 seconds is based off testing with the SureColor T5475. Other SureColor T-Series models print time for an A1/D-size print will vary.

Information Safety

In today’s digital age, information safety is key. Every time we send an e-mail, there is a risk of that message being hacked and our information and ideas being stolen. The way to help manage information safety is to provide hard copies of final projects to clients, vendors, managers, etc. A printed document helps to safeguard against copying and alterations and can assist with approvals. It can also ensure the final version is in the correct hands, and it provides a way to limit the number of printed plans and/or concepts that are out of your protection.

In addition, printed hard copies are also ideal for receiving hard signatures on projects. Whether you need to get a sign-off on a design change or final plans, clients can sign a tangible copy, further increasing its value.

Many of the SureColor T-Series printers offer enterprise security features and protocol support for secure PDF printing from PCs and scanning of secure PDFs to USB thumb drives and shared folders, no computer needed to safeguard sensitive information and ensure documents remain with the appropriate contacts.

Summary

Wide-format printers meet an unspoken need in a variety of fields—architecture, construction, engineering, CAD design—and provide reliability and professionalism to any project. The feel of a professional, tangible print is irrevocable and provides managers, clients, and vendors ease. It brings a sense of productivity to collaborations and meetings and provides a strong backbone to presentations and project pitches.

Today’s CAD printers provide several options over past generations of printers to fit where you print, how much you print, and how many users you have to help keep printing costs reasonable. With products ranging in size and feature scope, all designed to enhance the way you work, there’s a solution for all environments.

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More About Epson SureColor T-Series Printers

Epson’s SureColor T-Series models range from 24-inch desktop single and multifunction solutions to 44-inch mid- to large-sized office solutions designed to meet a variety of printing needs. Each printer leverages UltraChrome XD2 pigment ink for archival quality output that is smudge and water resistant, delivering output with brilliant color and crisp lines on almost any media type for any project. The PrecisionCore MicroTFP printhead delivers outstanding droplet control and prints up to 2880 DPI on certain models to produce prints with unparalleled clarity. Each model has unique features ranging from cut sheet and roll media feeding, four and five color ink sets, and single versus multifunction options so employees and office managers can select the best solution for their needs.

Jacob Hardin is a product manager at Epson America for the SureColor T-Series Line of Technical CAD and Graphics Printers. Jacob has an extensive background in product management and joined Epson in 2014, supporting several roles in the areas of Sales Enablement, Marketing, and Product Management of Epson Large Format Printers. Jacob currently holds a bachelor’s degree from Kent State University, and a master’s degree from California Lutheran University in Marketing.

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