Guide to Plotter Accessories for Large Format Printing for AECs
As printing and plotting technology evolves, the demand for bigger and better prints grows with it. However, producing the most exceptional replication artwork is not just a matter of cutting-edge large format printers. It requires equally superb large format printing supplies and plotter accessories.
For AEC professionals and other large format printing enterprises, meeting your market's demand for efficient, high-quality plotter images requires the highest-quality plotter supplies. Being essential tools of the trade, they need to be reliable, well-made, and oriented toward providing value. But they also need to be cost-effective.
There are several important considerations to reduce a plotter's total cost of ownership (TCO) and enhance image quality. This exclusive guide will cover how carefully chosen plotter supplies are essential for the most efficiently produced ultra-high-res images. We'll also cover the accessories AEC professionals need to get the most out of their high-end plotters and be prepared for even the most challenging production runs.
What Are Plotter Accessories?
Plotter accessories are interchangeable parts that allow plotting printers to produce higher-resolution images than basic printers via a series of extremely fine lines and hatch patterns. This requires speciality accessories and supplies, which can only be effectively produced by an OEM manufacturer experienced in advanced image reproduction technologies.
Why Are Plotter Accessories So Important in Large Format Printing?
Plotter accessories provide more efficient workflows and faster throughput times, both by simplifying device functionality and reducing wasted plotter supplies, such as ink and specialised paper rolls.
They can also protect the large format plotter itself by reducing wear on components and streamlining maintenance cycles.
How Do Plotter Supplies Offer Printing Efficiency to AEC Professionals?
The best plotter accessories and supplies are necessary to produce prints with the greatest detail. They also increase the speed of the prints while minimising costly printing errors.
Proper selection of paper, ink, cartridges, and printheads depends on the exact plotter model and specs you have. Investing in higher quality options where possible usually results in longer-lasting equipment, reducing TCO and making your brand more competitive.
What Plotter Supplies Do AEC Professionals Need?
Print Media Paper
For inkjet plotters, the paper must also be matched for the type of ink being used: either aqueous (water-based) dye or pigment, generally. The former allows finer detail (equivalent to 0.2 mm pencil lines) and is preferred for most AEC drawings. Presentation pieces often have the latter.
Most inkjet plotter printers use two-inch core rolls. Some are built for specific weights and other qualities.
Paper Roll Holders
High-quality paper roll holders are what enable smooth feeds through the plotter. This is crucial for minimising costly misprints and saving on material waste and time. Paper roll holders must match the required paper size and core diameter, so it's necessary to compare roll holders with paper type.
Dirty or ageing printheads won't transfer ink to the page correctly, creating faded or otherwise distorted prints. Some plotters use a separate plotter for every colour or just one for colours and one for black.
Regular printhead maintenance is important, but it also depletes ink faster. You must strike a balance between maintenance cycle frequency and preserving ink (see the next tip below).
Plotter ink cartridges must match your printheads, both in size and type. Some plotters use two printheads—one for black and one for all colours—while others use separate printheads for each colour cartridge.
Higher ink quality goes beyond improved prints. It also shortens drying time, which:
- Enables faster turnaround
- Reduces maintenance needs
- Extends product longevity
- Protects hardware
Bi-weekly nozzle and printhead cleaning can cost over 10% of the machine's TCO, but these automated maintenance cycles can be reduced by leaving the machine on for extended periods. Also, use "draft mode" whenever possible to further reduce waste.
Maintenance cartridges capture the residue left over after printhead self-cleaning cycles, filling up over time. They're just as important to stock as ink cartridges, as failure to replace them when necessary results in total work stoppages—or worse, damaged equipment.
Final Tips on Using Plotter Accessories to Achieve High-Quality Results
Always Keep Stock of the Basic Supplies and Accessories
It's a simple fact: workflow depends on sustained access to supplies. Running out of just one of the above-listed supplies will stop work, even if just eventually.
Accessories may not be as necessary for daily plotter printing function, but if you only have one critical item, you risk work stoppage or slowdowns if it breaks.
Purchasing a decent stockpile of plotter supplies during each order is an easy way to reduce long-term costs, especially when shipping internationally. Ordering just what you need when you need it carries risks and raises shipping costs.
Purchase Additional Supplies Only If Required for a Current Project
The best time to order is between projects. Otherwise, you disrupt workflow with technical matters, which are better addressed between major deadlines.
The need for additional supplies mid-project does still happen, such as when large clients dramatically raise order requests. Having an OEM supplier with dedicated sales reps could be the difference between being prepared for a sudden test of your production capabilities or losing out on major opportunities.
Replace Any Old Accessories With New or Upgraded Ones
Holding onto accessories past their prime risks much more value than it saves. Bent roll holders are destined to malign paper feeds, and poorly maintained printheads could blotch at any moment.
Consider upgrades whenever shopping for new plotter accessories. It will go a long way to expanding capabilities, especially over time. Ask about free sample kits or live product demos from your preferred supplier so you can try before you buy.
Reach Out to HP to Satisfy Your Large Format Printing Needs
To enhance your large format prints, visit the HP Virtual Booth, and learn more about our groundbreaking plotter accessories and large format printing supplies. For the fastest service, contact an HP sales expert, and receive friendly and attentive guidance on finding the most suitable large format plotter accessories in the shortest time possible.
When your office is downsizing or buying a new printer, don’t just throw the old one out. Learn how to dispose of old plotters safely and conveniently.
Is buying a printer worth it for your AEC office? Use this guide to consider the benefits and calculate the potential ROI of buying a large format printer.
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