Large-format scanning: Resolving the industrial designer’s digital divide

Manufacturers rely on creative and technical designers to innovate, improve, update, and create successful products. But industrial designers have long struggled to bridge the gap between paper schematics and digital working files.

On a daily basis, designers deal with technical drawings, including CAD plots, sketches, diagrams, maps, and so on. These items can be printed on a variety of paper types, from plain graph paper to linen to Mylar. Many are large format or oddly shaped. Such drawings are also commonly stored folded, rolled, or hanging in a variety of places, including design organization offices, libraries, and government agencies.

In addition to schematics and other technical drawings, a production designer might want to use film photographs, paintings, and ink or pencil illustrations in the design process. The problem? Most of the design work actually takes place digitally. Drawings typically must be digitized in order to update the product plans, create new CAD drawings, submit information to patent and permitting agencies, send specifications for prototyping, and store as records for safekeeping.

Whether the designer needs to digitize a small graphic or a full technical schematic, a good scanner can be the perfect solution.

A focus on quality and clarity

While efficiency is important in the design process, quality and accuracy in documenting design elements can make or break a prototype or product launch. Images must be clean, and colors must be true. How can you choose a superior scanner to meet these requirements?

Consider these factors before deciding.

  • Page size capability. You need a device that can handle items of various sizes and thicknesses, including large-format schematics and line drawings, plus permit and patent applications.
  • Precision and quality. Illegible or poor-quality images of documents can damage the design process and delay product development.
  • Complexity. The best document scanning solution makes it easy for people who are not techies to set up and begin scanning without spending much time learning the system, and with little or no need to involve IT personnel.
  • File compression. This makes it easier to share via email and takes up less storage space.
  • Size. Does it take up a lot of room on a desk or require its own workstation?
  • Security. You’ll want to ensure that highly confidential information – like plans and renderings for new products – is saved in a secure manner and accessed only by authorized people. Make certain the scanner you choose can easily work with your secure file management system.

Fujitsu offers several options in its fi- series that can meet the unique needs of industrial designers.

Heavy-duty and flexible. The Fujitsu fi-7700 achieves scanning speeds of 100 ppm/200 ipm and can handle the volumes associated with a large design organization. With user-friendly design and focus on quality, this scanner is suitable for papers of different material, such as tissue paper, plastic cards, books, magazines, envelopes, and long page documents. It also comes with PaperStream IP, which lets you automatically convert documents or materials into exceptionally clear image data.

Versatile, slim footprint. The Fujitsu fi-800R is an ultra-compact yet highly versatile scanner adept at scanning all types of documents, including thick items like photographs and Pantone chips. It includes helpful features like reverse feeding and Active Skew Correction, so you don’t have to hassle with settings to get proper scans. This model provides an agile and efficient scanning experience on even the smallest desk. With the U-Turn Scan and no need for an exit tray, the fi-800R fits into tight spaces and makes this the sole scanning device you’ll need. The PaperStream Capture software included will also recognize pictures of faces and will automatically rotate and turn them around to the correct position.

Designed to move around. Take your scanner from office to office when you choose the ScanSnap S1300i, the smallest scanner in its class. Use it when you're at the archive collecting legacy planning documents, at the artist’s studio to capture the ink sketches, or in your own cubicle ensuring all working files are digitized for future use. This scanner is up to the job.

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