Seismic data is something that is absolutely crucial to geologists and other users in the Oil and Gas industry. They rely on this information to get a clear picture of what lies under terra firma. That is why it is essential that they have access to a reliable well log printer to accurately reproduce this data. 

What is a Well Log Anyway?

A log a digital representation of geological formation underground and is made by lowering instruments into the borehole and recording geophysical data. It can be done during any phase of a well's history. This includes drilling, completing, producing and abandoning. Once information is gathered, you need a good way to print out the log to get a visual representation. But, what is the best printer to use for the task? Times have changed and so have your options. Take a look and see why some things have changed for the better.


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Problems with traditional toner-based log printers

Traditionally, if you needed a well log printer, you looked at toner-based units. These toner models work identically to other laser printers. Since they are full of mechanical parts, drums, and toner, they are incredibly expensive to operate. Plus, there are only a couple of sources from where you can purchase these units. This factor has a significant impact to the supply and demand curve, essentially driving the price of the printers sky-high. Can you say oligopoly? But, the problems don’t stop there.

  • Old well log systems are usually slow.
  • Page size is often a limitation. Any printer capable of doing anything larger than 11 inches wide is extremely expensive to purchase and to operate.
  • Toner-based well log systems are very maintenance intensive. This drives the operational costs up considerably. In fact, the cost of operation can be 3-4 times more expensive than an inkjet printer by the time you factor in the cost of consumables and maintenance.
  • Old log printers also have a tendency to not be user friendly.
  • Besides toner well printers, thermal printers have been an option, but are generally not liked for a variety of reasons. 
Software is the game-changer


Newly developed well log printing software solutions have enabled low-cost, inkjet well log printers to change the way Oil & Gas companies print seismic information. These wide format printers were once thought of as only general purpose units. But, new software applications like SDI Office APS/VTOF have transformed these plotters to be well log powerhouses. Overall, they are faster and easier to use than their predecessors.

  • New color mud log printers allow users to better control how the colors print on the page.
  • New software allows for fast file processing and “top-of-form” functionality means that you don’t have to unload the paper to reset the fold after every well log that you print.
  • The ease and power of the new software allow you to print more logs per day
  • New log printers are capable of connecting directly to an Ethernet network so that each well log printer can be set up as a shared resource. This is a stark difference from the older systems that could only be used on a single station.
Takeaways for considering upgrading to a new inkjet well log printer
  • They are faster and easier to use than older toner-based systems.
  • The TCO (Total Cost of Operation) is about 25% of toner units. You can fairly estimate the TCO to be about $0.05 per page with a new inkjet well log printer.
  • New inkjet log printers can be connected and accessed across your network enabling any employee or department access to it.
  • The new “top of form” feature will support printing many logs from a box of perforated paper without having to reload or re-calibrate.
  • Print incredible details with 2400x1200 dpi output.
  • They have small space requirements and are highly portable.


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Kevin Vaughan
Post by Kevin Vaughan
November 5, 2016
Kevin Vaughan is the Vice President of TAVCO and heads up Sales, Digital Marketing, and E-Commerce channels. With over two decades of experience, he has received various awards for sales performance and channel growth. Published articles focus on AEC technologies including laser scanning, 3D cameras, CAD software, and large format plotters. When he is not geeking out on new technologies, you can find him hanging with his wife and kids, playing guitar, or Scuba diving.