Scan This: HP Printer Series Tailored for GIS and AEC Industries

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Industry News
Scan This: HP Printer Series Tailored for GIS and AEC Industries
By Susan Smith

Printing is not what it used to be, and Hewlett-Packard (HP) has taken it farther than anyone might have imagined possible five or ten years ago.

Mark Jongen, director of the large format design team for HP, talked about new products launched on March 31st that expressly target GIS and AEC professionals, although other industry professionals may also benefit from this technology. The increasing demand for processing power emanating from both these industries, driven by larger GIS datasets and in the case of AEC, larger files such as building information models, ultimately translates that requirement to the need to print high volume jobs.

Two families of printers, the HP Designjet T1120 SD-MFP and HD MFP and the HP Designjet 4020/4520 Printer series, are renewals of HP’s offerings for the design and technical markets showcasing robust new functionality.

HP Designjet T1120 SD-MFP and HD MFP Printer Series

click to enlarge [ Click to Enlarge ]
The Designjet T1120 series is designed to meet the needs of GIS and AEC professionals, with its in-printer processing power and 80 GB hard disk, combined with job management tools. “Our printers actually have a computer built into the printer,” said Jongen. The series also includes a Multifunctional (MFP) product which have, up until now, been reserved for the high end of the market, the reprographic and GIS industries with high volumes of printing and scanning. However, now that capability has been extended into a third MFP product with a different scanning technology designed for CAD applications that allows users to obtain a higher level of print quality to enhance their drawings and presentations, with the new contact image (CIS) scanning technology.

The HP Designjet T1120 SD-MFP is a solution for the cost conscious, for small and medium sized firms who wish to reduce outsourcing costs by having their own inhouse printers that can include print, copy and contact image (CIS) scanning technology. This scanning technology is suitable, with its high quality color imaging, for copying plans and blueprints in color.

The HP Designjet T1120 HD-MFP features advanced copy, scan, performance and manageability in one machine offering charge-coupled (CCD) scanning technology using HP Vivera inks. The difference between these two is that CCD scanning includes a high resolution camera suitable for those applications where the customer wants to copy photos and sell the output. The HD is also larger than the SD and has more upfront capabilities designed for the professional user who might be an operator in a print shop.

The multifunctional color copier comes at a significantly lower price point than what was available up until now, and is easy to use, with an integrated user interface which has a simple touch screen. This copier is better suited to smaller work groups and architectural offices.

HP Designjet 4020/4520 Printer Series

The 4020/4520 Printer Series is designed for the larger workgroups, government and big production industry. This family of printers also comes in a multifunctional version that has been updated, and includes high quality output, enhanced security features and fast connectivity and management tools . “What is the common factor across all the different products,” said Jongen, “is user productivity has been improved mainly in the size of the processing power of the printer. When the files are more complex like for example, in the GIS market, so the processing power of the printers has been increased, which means there is more memory, more hard disk space, and also a faster processor. So that contributes to a higher user productivity.”

The fast processing capability of having computer processing power within the printer behaves differently than optimized scan compression which is a feature of many MFP wide format printers. HP Double Swatch technology makes it possible for the printer to produce up to 100 A1/D prints per hour without affecting image quality, accuracy. In-printer processing, plus a 160 GB hard drive and 1,120 MB of memory makes this suitable for busy workgroups that have continuous print jobs ongoing in centralized production environments.

The professional print operator who wants more control over print jobs and wants to do more advanced work will deal with many different file formats from customers. The HP Instant Print Utility 2.0 is useful for those users who want to print in large format but who don’t have access to AutoCAD or another file format specifically, yet who have received a CAD drawing in PDF and want to print it in large format without knowing much about the process.

The utility is simple: select the file in Windows Explorer, right click with the mouse to select the printer and all the settings and scaling is done automatically. It works for all file formats and anything that has been set up for small format can be printed in large format. It is also useful for Power Point.

HP includes an application to design posters very easily called Serif Poster Designer Pro for HP, which comes with predesigned templates with photos already in high resolution, depending upon what industry customers are in.

For GIS, Jongen said, one of the special factors is the large amount of data which is difficult to manage in a network, especially where a data center is unable to receive an optimized print file. With some printers, all the calculations have to be done on the PC.

“In the Designjet printers they actually can do all calculations inside the printer, which means GIS professionals can continue work and don’t need to have a workstation doing the print calculation, which can really be time consuming,” said Jongen. The printer can take the small file coming from the application and do all the calculations, rendering, etc. to get the right information in the right place in the right color. To achieve that all the printers have a large hard disk and our high end is now 60 GB. This enables the printer to take a file into memory and do the processing inside. The memory in the printer is needed to calculate these complex files. Secondly, the printer has a PC built in so they have a very fast processor to do the calculations. It means their own PC doesn’t have to do it.” This feature could be a real time saver for GIS professionals whose PCs may be slowed down while processing print data. The in-printer processing enables the HP GL/2 file, a very small file optimized for optimizing the print of large format which contains all the line information. That HP GL/2 file calculates the dots on the paper rather than that calculation taking place in the PC.

The in-printer software to enable the printing and the calculation is automatically comes with the printer and all the printers have this common capability built in. The user can go to the web page of the printer, and see all the jobs. “There is a job queue that enables the user to view the status of the job and preview the job, and order. You can also see if the printer is running out of media, and the printer can be set up to automatically give an alert when the printer starts running out of ink so there is a lot of intelligence built in. With its built-in PC, the printer can send an email at the moment when the ink gets low. So those kinds of capabilities are coming in all the printers,” summarized Jongen.

All of the multi-function printers include a touch screen, making it easy for everyone in an office to use. Users can select copying or scanning and the piece of media to be managed, the scanner then recognizes the size of the paper and automatically copies it.

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