A Large Format Printer Has An Ease of Operation And A High Quality Print Effect Is Important
When purchasing large format printer, in addition to the price, ease of operation and high quality of printed pictures are the first to consider the factors.
Ease of use
When you think of large format printers and ease of use, you may associate this with flashy touch screens and the many possibilities that go with this. But there is more to ease of use than the user interface of a large format printer. Other factors to consider are the ease of adding ink or toner, loading paper rolls, etc.
Why is it important? If it is not easy to load paper rolls or run complex print jobs for example, too much time will be spent on performing these seemingly easy tasks. Not only will your employees get frustrated, irritated and engage in “printer bashing,” even worse, as a result of multiple misprints, they may also start showing printer avoidance behavior. Not exactly what you had in mind when investing a considerable amount of money in your new large format printer.
When looking at and evaluating the user interface of a large format printer, start with considering how you currently use or plan to use your printer.
Deciding which type of user interface to go with (touch screen or hard buttons) needs to be evaluated.
- Types of print jobs: is the bulk standardized or do the print jobs require individual settings?
- Standardized bulk: look for possibilities of automation by using templates.
- Specialized print jobs: look for possibilities to maintain full control with easy ways to adjust and set parameters. User interfaces using touch screens and hard buttons can both work well.
- Number of users: will the printer be used by multiple users or a few specialized users?
- Multiple users: look for ways to automate print jobs. Besides templates, make sure the user interface is self-explanatory.
- Specialized users: these operators are used to a high degree of automation but still need full control to run complex jobs.
- Consumable loading: how convenient is it to load or exchange ink, toner and media?
- Look for possibilities to exchange ink cartridges or refill toner during large runs.
- Look for the number of media rolls in the printer and check if they can be exchanged on the fly. • Ergonomics: what is the physical burden on the operator when operating the printer?
- Replacing empty paper rolls with new rolls can be heavy work; does the printer design help the operator?
- Are prints easily accessible to the operator or do you need to bend and stretch to get access?
- Is the operator panel at the right angle?
When looking to purchase a large format printer, all manufacturers talk about ease of use. A cursory look at printer user interface with screens, previews and wizards will not tell you the full story. Base your investigation on how you need the printer to work by taking into account the expected type of print jobs, number of users, consumable loading and ergonomic considerations.
When you think about large format printers and image quality the first thing that springs to mind is resolution, expressed in dpi (dots per inch). High resolution however does not necessarily offer the best quality. Compare it to digital cameras.
Nowadays high dpi is no guarantee for high quality photos. When printing, the way the large format printer interprets the data is as important as the print technology itself. Why is it important? When printing technical drawings, it is essential that dotted, fine lines are printed clearly. You don’t want to lose information. Losing a dotted line that represents electrical wiring at a construction site can have catastrophic consequences. Also when you are presenting concepts, images say more than words. Insufficient print quality may lead to losing a bid, order etc. Obviously in this case as well, sufficient image quality is essential to your bottom line.
When looking at image quality, consider the following:
- Resolution versus image processing: instead of looking at the resolution of a large format printer, take into account the way the printer interprets the data. The quality of this “interpreter” is especially important when you work with fine or dotted lines and detailed prints.
- Quality and media dependency: for black and white large format printers, no matter what media you use, the print quality is more or less the same. When using an inkjet printer however, quality can vary tremendously. When printing on glossy or photo paper versus normal paper, differences can occur in color output and quality of thin and fine lines.
- Scan technologies: when making copies the original is first scanned. The challenge manufacturers face is to suppress wrinkles and folds of the original drawing while at the same time enhancing and maintaining weak information such as pencil lines. There are definite differences in quality for scan technologies by the different printer manufacturers.
The best possible way to judge image quality is to see it for yourself. Take a typical file to a demo and print it out. However, make sure when comparing image quality of large format printers, that the prints are made on the same material. Judge the quality on the aspects that are important to you.