Choosing the best wide format printer for architecture is no easy task. Architectural firms need top-performing specialized equipment to achieve the crystalline level of detail required for blueprints, charts, and other highly technical documents. Complicating the challenge is the fact that many of these documents are printed on sheet sizes larger than what the standard professional printer can handle.

Therefore, architectural firms turn to wide format printers to meet these needs. Not only are these printers specialized, but they open the door to many more capabilities than the average printer. Here are a few things to consider when narrowing down the choice of best wide format printer for architecture.

1. Detail and Precision

Wide format printers are able to print in immaculate detail and stunning resolution. Such presentation is not merely to impress — blueprints require flawless legibility to guide builders and engineers. In other words, smudges or low-resolution — which may cause blurred lines — create costly delays or mistakes which may ruin a project entirely. At RJ Young, our team of technicians and support staff are always there to ensure optimum performance from your device each and every time.

2. Speed and Efficiency

Many printers can produce photographic-quality color printing, but it takes time. In addition, architectural firms often operate under demanding, time-sensitive conditions which require high speed and high-quality printing to keep the office workflow smooth. Some projects need multiple copies, which can lead to frustration if each takes a significant amount of time to print.

3. Imaging Technology

Architectural firms may wish to choose from a range of imaging technologies according to the type of projects most frequently printed. A wide format printer with fewer frills, gets the job done efficiently and professionally. However, firms who need to produce high-end displays and presentations may look for more advanced imaging technology. Such technology delivers superior half hones, ultra-smooth gradients, and even the ability to print in spectacular colors without hampering efficiency.

4. The Cost of Consumables and Maintenance

High-end may also mean a high price tag on consumables such as ink, paper, spare parts, and even maintenance. This becomes even truer as materials or parts become more specialized. However, this cost can be balanced by understanding the type of printing which the firm mostly undertakes. Selecting a wide format printer, which provides the features needed without going over the top, helps to balance professionalism and price to keep the firm competitive.

5. Network Capabilities

Modern office technology is built to integrate with an organization’s workflow, and that includes architectural firms. Workflow increasingly relies on cloud and network connectivity to allow documents to flow from one device to the next seamlessly. Therefore, a wide format printer with Wi-Fi capabilities can be operated across many devices or web-based applications allowing users to design and print from one consolidated station.

6. Printing Volume

Printing volume varies from firm to firm according to size and specialty. An architectural firm with a demanding print environment will benefit from a different class of printers than a small firm which only prints a few, high-quality charts each month. In other words, a smaller firm may find it beneficial to invest in a device with more specialized capabilities, while a larger firm which needs to print more, may appreciate a more efficient workhorse.

7. Ease of Use and Reliability

A robust printing system is only useful if the user knows how to use it, and it can be guaranteed to work when it is needed. As with any piece of office equipment, the best wide format printer for architecture is powerful enough to produce the required print quality in a timely fashion. In addition, it also needs to be accessible enough that users do not get bogged down with a learning curve or get stuck fiddling with advanced settings which aren’t fully understood. With RJ Young, users never need to worry about that. We have a team of training and onboarding specialists who are dedicated to ensuring the user is familiar and comfortable with their device.

8. Versatility

Printing blueprints may be a critical business function for an architectural firm, but it is not the only thing this business will print. It is worth it to track printing habits prior to investing in a new printer to get a better sense of the types of paper sizes, stock weights, inks, and custom settings which are most frequently used. 

A firm may need to print other business documents. A wide format printer which can also handle regular paper sizes will prove invaluable in these circumstances.

Choosing the Best Wide Format Printer for Architecture

Architects have specialized needs when it comes to printing, which makes the selection of an appropriate printer beyond vital. Wide format printers can meet many of these needs with their ability to handle larger paper sizes and unblemished detail. These eight considerations serve as a starting point for the many things which a firm must consider when choosing the best wide format printer for architecture.

RJ Young works with architects and engineers regularly to provide custom hardware and software solutions for their printing needs. Read about the common printing and document problems these firms face and the solutions we provide.

At RJ Young we offer a full range of wide format printers, copiers, and scanners – from industry leaders like Oce, Canon, HP, Mimaki, Ricoh and Contex. Contact us to speak with an expert product advisor who can help you narrow down your options and select the perfect device for your needs.

Most people look at the computer on their desk and think “it’s a computer” and “it does this stuff.” If you pin said person down and ask them what that “stuff” is, you would probably get an answer along the lines of, “well, you know email, and Internet Explorer and Microsoft Office.” If you asked CAD engineers they would say Pro-E or Solidworks, accountants would list QuickBooks, Excel or a tax package, medical workers would reference an EMR or practice management package such as eClinical Works, Allscripts or Athena.

The more you asked the worker about their day, the more you would wonder why you’ve been buying so many pens and pencils because you realized EVERYTHING your workers do is on their computer. The “stuff” your workers’ computers do for them, and for you are called “network services.” We keep those services running with a high-level of availability by managing them, thus the term Managed Network Services (MNS)– much like the janitorial department transitioned to the name of “Environmental Services,” the geeks have come up with a fancy name to say we keep your “stuff” working.

It’s not just Managed Service Providers (MSPs) that build MNS programs – every IT department and computer firm in the world provides MNS.  But just like any department in your company – you need a good manager.  You need a person to manage your services that can comprehend how important they are to your company’s existence, that can see the big picture of your company’s growth and that doesn’t try and run a budget like the US Government.  So whether or not they claim the title, if you hire an IT firm to help your company, you are hiring a MSP. 

So then, if you were hiring a Quarterback would you pick up a guy who loves to play wide receiver, or the guy who has spent his life preparing to be a franchise QB?  Just remember, when it comes to contracting an IT firm, you should hire a company who has been structured entirely to be an MSP.

 

James Walker

Regional Director of Managed IT Services.

James oversees the Chattanooga, Nashville and Huntsville markets of our managed IT Services department. In his role he manages service delivery and support of engineers in all regions, does security and compliance auditing, and works with businesses in network design, implementation and troubleshooting. He has been in the technology industry for over 24 years. James is originally from Boston, MA and works out of our Chattanooga office. He joined RJ Young in January 2013 through the acquisition of his previous company, Preferred Computers, Inc. 

Managed Network Services – it’s a buzz-term in the information technology (IT) industry these days – many IT firms are adding a Managed Service Provider (MSP) shingle to the front of their shop.  So like many business owners, small business and large businesses alike, you might be asking, “what the heck is that?”

In short, Managed Network Services are systems built by IT Providers that enable you to have a network designed and maintained like an enterprise business.  For those of you in the manufacturing industry – ask yourself, if you were Ford Motor Company, a leading manufacturer, would you manage your IT infrastructure the way you do now?   What if your company was twice the size with twice the income?  For those of you running a medical practice, how would you manage your network if you were a larger clinic, or a hospital?   What would your network look like?   How would you support users and ensure compliance?

Many small-to-mid size business owners dismiss the idea of having a strategically structured and proactively managed network with “it costs too much.”  Before you dismiss this idea, ask yourself two more questions:

  1. Can your business operate effectively without your computer systems?
  2. Does downtime proportionately hurt your business any less than your larger counterparts?

If you answered those questions as most small-to-mid-size business owners, you said “no.” In fact, larger businesses are probably more capable of absorbing an interruption in network services.  Larger companies hire experts to design and proactively maintain their network in order to prevent and eliminate downtime, maintain a competitive edge, control IT related expenses and strategically plan for growth.

MSPs help small-to-midsize business owners achieve this same level of efficiency. MSPs design and maintain their networks with the same proven effective methods as their larger counterparts do at a budget scaled to their size, simply for many clients, most with no in-house IT department or small IT departments striving to control costs.

As you tackle business planning for 2015 for your small-to-midsize business, consider knocking on the door of a Managed Services Provider. It could be the answer to improving efficiency and productivity in running your business for the coming year.

 

James Walker – Regional Director of Managed IT Services

James oversees the Chattanooga, Nashville and Huntsville markets of our managed IT Services department. In his role he manages service delivery and support of engineers in all regions, does security and compliance auditing, and works with businesses in network design, implementation and troubleshooting. He has been in the technology industry for over 24 years. James is originally from Boston, MA and works out of our Chattanooga office. He joined RJ Young in January 2013 through the acquisition of his previous company, Preferred Computers, Inc.