Unique Real-World Ways CAD Printers Are Being Used18 Jan, 2022 By: Jacob Hardin
VIEWPOINT: How wide-format technical printers can benefit a variety of applications.
From concept to creation, CAD software and tools have become a staple in the industry, allowing professionals from architects, engineers, and construction sites to graphic artists and product designers to easily create, analyze, and improve designs with efficiency. Professionals are leveraging wide-format, multifunction printing solutions to collaborate on projects and deliver client-ready output by complementing CAD software to optimize workflow.
Image source: EPSON.
Wide-format printers and plotters designed for CAD professionals are now equipped with robust features at a cost-effective price point and come in sleek and compact sizes ideal for relocation and space-constrained environments. In the age of data breaches and hacks, these wide-format printers tout enterprise security features and protocol support.
Although CAD printers are thought of as a specific-use device, we are seeing them used by a wide range of industries in a variety of unique ways to help enhance productivity, performance, and collaboration.
Emergency and Natural Disaster Response and Recovery
When responding to emergencies and natural disasters such as wildfires, it’s critical for all cooperating emergency response agencies and personnel to have timely information and detailed visuals for safe and effective response and recovery. Printing across multiple trailers, firefighting crews are using CAD printers to plot out and print GIS maps detailing safety zones, evacuation routes, and updates on environmental dangers including downed trees and powerlines.
The map printouts can include critical layers such as roads and driveways, addresses, water sources, control lines, and evacuation centers. Data on topography, vegetation, transportation, and other factors are analyzed and used to assess the hazard and risk for an area. The maps can also provide essential information on underground infrastructure, control points, and data to support emergency response, resource deployment, and allocation.
Compact options that are easy to transport and relocate can benefit firefighting crews on the road and at the station. In addition, solutions engineered for speed and reliability will quickly print and provide access to drawings, data tables, documents, photographs, and more. Ideal for a wide range of settings — offices, stations, and trailers — compact printers are being used to allow emergency response personnel to immediately print, distribute, and review updated plans and maps to improve the safety and effectiveness of response and recovery.
Collaboration Across Multiple On-Site, Off-Site, and Remote Teams
The concept of a hybrid, blended team of on-site, off-site, and remote employees plus contractors and management has become much more common in the past couple of years. Technology that streamlines communication and workflow and allows for easy access to pertinent information is helping professionals plan and execute projects effectively, whether they are working from home, the office, or building site.
Multifunction, wide-format CAD printers are allowing professionals to print and view 24” x 36” or larger plans and documents, rather than download and view PDF documents on small mobile and tablet device screens. A printer’s scanning and copying capabilities make it easy to send copies digitally to clients, employees, subcontractors, and other stakeholders for effective project planning and execution.
Robust multifunction printers with an integrated scanner are allowing professionals to scan up-to-date revisions, approvals, permits, notes, plans, and other visuals to e-mail and network folders for immediate access. Some hybrid working environments leverage wide-format printers with high-detail scanners with simple top-loading functionality for copying and scanning of technical documents, blueprints, graphics, and renderings. In addition, support for copy enlargements and reductions, and highlight detection enable for scanning annotated blueprints.
Image source: EPSON.
All-Purpose Printing for Graphics and Signage
While a CAD printer may have been purchased for a specific purpose, they have proven useful for a wide range of graphics and signage applications. Used for blueprints, technical documents, renderings, and graphics with precision and quality, AEC firms and their IT and financial departments are printing large spreadsheets and flowcharts so everyone can review and mark up printouts as a team. In addition, businesses are finding these versatile wide-format printers helpful in creating safety and wayfinding signage, graphics, and notices to address changing safety requirements and needs of customers and employees. Professionals working in entertainment venues and events are printing pop-up displays and décor, pull-up banners, and marketing materials and posters.
Because many wide-format CAD printers can print large banners and adhesive graphics, businesses have found them a useful resource for creating decals to display on windows, facility walls, and entry and elevator doors. Clear adhesive graphics and signs allow professionals to display messages without entirely blocking visibility. Businesses can also customize signage with their own colors, logos, and messaging to reflect their brand voice and display specific branding colors with vibrance and precision.
The past two years especially have seen a significant surge in the need for posters, signs, and banners to communicate changes effectively and seamlessly on a wide scale. Many print jobs need to be produced with very short lead times, so by leveraging their wide-format printer in-house and on-site, professionals have immediate access to updates and can quickly respond to any changes, avoiding costly delays and reducing dependency on outsourced printing. There’s no need to pay for each change and wait for a print shop to process orders. This can be done by simply designing and printing updated materials in-house leveraging the printer you already own.
Wide-format printers today are more efficient, flexible and powerful than ever, offering high-speed printing, scanning, and copying in a sleek and compact design. From wildfire response to architecture, engineering, construction, and signage applications, CAD printers are helping industry professionals create detailed and precise prints to help enhance productivity. Whether working from home, a midsize or enterprise company, or construction site, professionals that turn to advanced wide-format printing equipment can help streamline workflow and better serve clients, customers, and the community.