Color Print, Scan, Copy?All in One8 Apr, 2004 By: Cadalyst Staff
For more than 70 years, Chicago-based Gremley & Biedermann has provided accurate and precise land surveys, using the most advanced surveying techniques and equipment available. The firm's Chicago-area clients include Soldier Field, the Museum of Science and Industry, and Six Flags Great America.
As the firm's color volume increased, CAD manager Bob Tremblay assessed the demand for color copying and scanning. The firm scans color documents such as aerial photos, USGS maps, and other color originals to e-mail to customers and business partners. It also reproduces surveys marked up manually in red and blue ink from a construction site or other field project. During meetings, clients needed copies of these same documents--with all color highlights included. Frequently, time constraints prevented Gremley & Biedermann from getting these color prints made, so they went back to the drawing board (literally) with highlighters to replicate the colored areas.
Gremley & Biedermann found a solution in the Océ TCS400, an integrated large-format color print, copy, and scan system. When it came to document management and communication among project team members, three main factors drove the need:
- Tighter project deadlines
- Customer demand for color
- Competitive market pressures
Tremblay has witnessed a growing trend toward compressed timelines from the firm's clients. It's not uncommon for clients with 10, 20, or more survey documents to expect turnaround in a weekend. Gremley & Biedermann must often adjust its workflow to accommodate last-minute requests and still handle its two biggest printing crunch times-mid-morning and mid-afternoon. The Océ TCS400 accelerates the speed at which files can be processed and subsequently printed. Now the firm is able to respond to client requests within hours as opposed to days
Power in the Processing
One of the greatest benefits of the Océ TCS400 lies in its color file processing power. Though mechanical print speed is important, the Océ Power Logic controller facilitates extremely fast file processing. It spools print jobs off the network, processes those jobs, and stores them until the printer is available. The network remains free for other jobs, and the waiting time between prints is greatly reduced, even for color CAD document files larger than 100MB.
"We cannot wait for prints when our business depends on getting high-quality plots from large files. Prior to the Océ TCS400, it took more than 12 minutes to process a 182MB file. Now we can do it in one-third the time," said Tremblay.
Another advantage is the ability of CAD users to manage print traffic directly from their desktops using the Océ Advanced Queue Manager. This, Tremblay says, simplifies workflow because employees have more direct control over prioritization and printing of jobs. They can also view ink volume, media choices, and controller workload from their computers.
Color Output Expected to Double
Gremley & Biedermann produces monochrome as well as color prints with the Océ TCS400. Currently, Tremblay estimates that color makes up around 10% of the firm's total printing output--a number he projects will approach 25% within a year due to growing customer demand for color. "We're making a concerted effort to incorporate more color into our large-format drawings," he said. "Our customers are requesting sharp, crisp color plotting to convey a lot of detail, especially in high-precision maps, linework exhibits, and aerial photographs. We can now serve this need without having to outsource."
According to Tremlay, walk-up copying is the biggest improvement since the installation of the Océ TCS400. "We used to have to manually draw in lines and cross-hatching with highlight markers on a black and white plot to duplicate a color original of a map or survey," he says. "Now we just need to insert the original document, push a button, and generate a color copy in a single step."
The ability to reproduce large-format color technical documents, without having to first scan an original to a TIF or PDF file prior to printing, saves additional time and allows Gremley & Biedermann to fill larger orders more quickly. The copying feature also gives the flexibility to produce color copies of marked-up documents received directly from the construction field or during team meetings when clients and contractors need to collectively review revisions.
"Color is one of the best ways to clearly express our intent correctly to people, whether during a project meeting or a new business presentation. We can easily run high-quality color copies on the spot and everyone can work off the same level of information, reducing the potential for misinterpretation and error," Tremblay explained.
Tools to Grow
Tremblay views the Océ TCS400 as a competitive tool, one that effectively complements the cadre of sophisticated measuring systems and CAD technologies on which the firm relies. Capturing the data is just the first step. Producing and presenting it is where the real value of the Océ TCS400 comes in. "Our customers are very happy with the document image quality and continue to award us more work," Tremblay said.
One of the biggest overall benefits, according to Tremblay, is that Gremley & Biedermann can now fulfill new and different kinds of client requests such as aerial photography and poster-sized exhibits.
No More Jury-Rigged Systems
Ease of use is also important, because the CAD operators must know how to efficiently print, copy, and scan to honor tight deadlines and keep business competitive. "The Océ TCS400 is highly intuitive," Tremblay added. "We got no glassy eyes or blank stares when we installed the system, which was a good sign from the start!"
Communication with color is critical to comprehending the finest of detail, both internally and among clients. The Océ TCS400 is taking Gremley & Biedermann to new levels of service, painting a colorful future for this top land surveying company.