Construction Information Technology Blog

Reprographers and Buggy Whips

Posted by Dave Robertson on Oct 1, 2009 4:40:00 PM

printing managementDigital files are driving many changes in the way the business of construction is done. Consider what has happened to the traditional reprographic printing business. Not long ago the only practical way to distribute a set of drawings and specifications was to print it and ship it to someone. The advent of online planrooms, ftp, copying to CD's or DVD's and managed file transfer services have made moving electronic copies of the files easy to distribute. Instead of receiving one order for a large number of sets to be printed the reprographer is now faced with responding to multiple individual requests to print the same documents from different parties who they may do business with. The printing is becoming much more distributed. It is even further impacted by the fact that full format document printers such as the Hewlett Packard HP 110 have become very cost effective and many contractors and suppliers are simply printing what they need in their own offices. Reprographers will have to change their business models to respond to these new market conditions or face the prospect of being a modern day example of a buggy whip factory.

Topics: Printing, Reprographers

Printing paper copies of online construction drawings

Posted by Dave Robertson on Jun 4, 2009 10:01:00 AM

As the construction rapidly moves towards digital distribution of full format drawings some people are still wondering how to get the paper copies they are used to working with. The great news is they no longer need to have a complete set of drawings printed to work with only a limited number of thosprintinge pages. The ability to view and reference all of the information for a project online eliminates the need to have paper copies of every page just to make sure there is no relevant information on it.

The cost of full format printers has come down drastically in the last few years to the point where an easy to use 24" roll feed printer (see HP Designjet 110 NR link below) can be purchased for less than $2,000. The cost per page for paper and ink of a 24" x 36" drawing on one of these machines is about $0.50. If you only need a limited number of pages it is hardly worth leaving your office to pick the pages up even if someone prints them for you at no cost.

For those people who have access to Hewlett Packard printers there's a great feature that some online document control services have incorporated called HP Instant PrintTM. This software greatly simplifies the process of downloading, batch printing and scaling copies. It is really ‘one click' printing. With the technical challenges diminishing there are very few reasons for anyone to be concerned about how they are going to get access to the paper documents they want as the digital document world expands.

Link to HP Printer options

Link to HP Designjet 110 plus NR

Topics: Construction documents, Printing