Although the old plotter in your office has served you well for years, that old technology might be holding you back? Companies are usually good about keeping their IT assets up to date. But, this effort is usually focused on the server, workstation and software assets. Unfortunately, they often tend to overlook upgrading their wide format equipment. Is this your situation? Face it; it may be time to get a new plotter. Not sure? Here are some things to keep in mind.
Your plotter is not what it used to be. Just like any other computer system, time renders all technologies obsolete. Your plotter is no different. For example, why wouldn’t you keep a ten-year-old server in service? Because it can no longer keep up with your company’s demand. It simply doesn’t have the “muscle” to handle today’s complex files and functions. Why would you expect anything different from your old plotter? You shouldn’t. Today’s CAD and BIM applications generate extremely large and complex files that require more powerful file processing. If older plotters can still manage to print these types of files, it usually involves a long processing sequence as the image is rendered.
Legacy parts are not usually in stock. A major concern with using legacy plotter equipment is the availability of replacement parts. Since a plotter is largely a mechanical system, a component failure will eventually happen. So, if your system breaks down and replacement parts aren’t available, you could be in a real bind.
This has been a very real scenario for users of old Xerox (XES) systems, such at the 6204, 510dp, and others. Lack of inventory has a direct impact on the price of the parts. Since parts are no longer produced for end-of-life systems, the only ones available are after market parts. So, you could be faced with paying inflated prices for a sub-standard replacement part in order to get your plotter repaired.
No upgraded print driver available for new OS. This is commonly one of the first problems to present among legacy units when companies decide to upgrade operating systems. This is because there are not always updated printer drivers available. Unfortunately, this situation has very limited solutions. The company either feels “forced” into an upgrade or they have to resort to another archaic process, like keeping a workstation with an old OS on the network as a shared resource to drive the legacy unit.
The high cost of down time. Regarding the previous examples, they share a common thread, they waste time. Whether you are waiting for an after market part or your IT is frantically working on a “work around”, the lack of activity can be extremely costly. If you can’t get your wide format documents printed then your business grinds to a halt. Alternatives for this include outsourcing your printing to a print shop. But now, the problem is compounded; you have to pay those fees in addition to the charges for the plotter repair.
Have a plan. Wide format plotters and scanners should be updated at lease as often as the rest of the company’s IT assets. A good way to ensure an upgrade path is to acquire equipment on a lease. This will give you a chance to “flip” equipment at the end of the term and get the latest technology available. Plus, there are some tax advantages that can be had by leasing gear.
Ultimately, it boils down to making sure that all your plotters, scanner, and other peripherals are compliant with the other hardware and software assets throughout your enterprise. Remember, prior proper planning prevents poor performance.
Looking to get a new plotter? We can help.