Introduction to wide-format plotters
Printing is a consistent expense for all businesses. Maybe you can get by sending the occasional oversized print job to a copy shop. However, if you often print blueprints, banners, or other documents over two feet wide, purchasing a wide-format printer (sometimes called a plotter) is an excellent investment. These machines print in either black and white or color, on a wide range of materials, in widths of 24" to 60" or more.
There are two primary markets for wide-format printers. The first is the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry, which has long used plotters for blueprints and other technical documents.
While it's not technically correct, many buyers use the terms "wide-format printers" and "plotters" interchangeably.
Some individual dealers and manufacturers use both terms, typically reserving the term "wide-format printer" for high-end graphics production machines -- but in general, the two terms overlap.
The other market is for graphics printing. Print and design shops use wide-format printers to create large-scale banners, signs, textiles, custom fabric orders, and durable outdoor graphics for educational institutions, advertising agencies, retail stores, even the government. If your print volume is high enough your organization will benefit from acquiring a wide-format printer of your own.
This BuyerZone Plotters Buyer's Guide will give you the inside scoop on the basics of choosing a wide-format printer, what features to look for, and how much you can expect to pay.