Plotter printers

Optimising Printer and Plotter Capabilities for Small Businesses

Large-format printer and plotter technology has expanded to meet various niche functions. Businesses of any scale can now produce high-fidelity prints for even the most specialised applications without compromising on budgetary concerns or quality. But finding the best value printer for small businesses can still take inordinate amounts of time.

Through detailed comparisons and expert insights, we'll comprehensively analyse the factors that will most directly impact your printing capabilities. You'll also learn which printer and plotter solutions can best streamline operations and propel your company to greater long-term growth.

Why It's Important to Choose the Right Printer and Plotter for Your Small Businesses

For printing professionals, revenue largely depends on selecting the most efficient multifunctional printer. Print shops, in particular, require a solid technical foundation with maximum reliability and ease of use.

The Impact on Operational Efficiency and Business Success

Business performance depends on much more than printer and plotter efficiency. In fact, technical capacity is just the beginning.

You'll need to bolster your technological capacities with equally powerful print management for maximum sustained growth. Businesses of any scale can immediately increase margins by optimising their processes through print automation, user-friendly controls, network functionality, and more.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between a Large Format Printer or Plotter

Printer Composition and Functions

The type of media and ink are primary considerations that will help narrow your search. Assuming all other factors are equal, prioritise those printers supporting a broader range of print materials and digital files. The most advanced large format printer and plotter solutions can support large format print rolls and have separate paper trays for standard document sizes.
Ink type is also critical, which largely boils down to two main categories:

  • Pigment inks, which generally last longer

- Dye inks for bolder and more vibrant rendering

Also, compare the eco-friendliness of different ink formulas, as well as the physical materials comprising the printer, including OEM ink cartridges and print media.

Print Speed Capabilities

A high output rate is also crucial, even for smaller businesses. Now more than ever, you can secure fast mass-printing solutions while still meeting the most stringent quality standards.

You can further increase speed with automation features, both for mass production and printer self-maintenance. By improving the speed of even non-printing functions, you'll maximise workflow efficiency around the clock.

Option for Technological Integration

Large format printers and plotters must typically fulfil a wide range of technical functions. To cover all possibilities, be sure your large format printer is built for full integration with the following applications:

  • Architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) blue/white prints, including mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) schematics
  • Geographic information systems (GIS) and other mapping functions
  • Computer-aided design (CAD) drawings, including electronic computer-aided design (ECAD) for electrical systems and mechanical computer-aided design (MCAD) for mechanical devices

Also, be sure a given large format printer or plotter provides maximum security and easy network integration.

Printer and Print Output Size

Plan around the largest proportion you may even print in the future so you won't be limited by your technology when the time comes to scale. At the same time, you want a single printer to support standard office printing functions.

Expanding Printing Capabilities

All small yet successful printing operations will eventually need to scale their services. That means the most efficient printer for small businesses isn't the one that gets you by right now. Instead, you'll need to ensure the hardware and software capabilities are actually larger than present needs.

Ask yourself: is a given large format printer or plotter compatible with your current capacities, plus 10%? What about 25% or more? Was your current printer designed for scalable print management software—including scheduling, mailing, and resource management?

If you can answer these questions in the affirmative, you'll be almost assured your print shop is prepared for orderly and maximum expansion.

Top Printer and Plotter Models

Each of the following innovative large format printers features several mass-efficiency features, such as high recycled content and reduced ink waste during automated maintenance cycles. They also support one-click job submissions and more streamlined user controls.

Designed with modern AEC firms in mind, the HP DesignJet T850 features support for hybrid and remote work thanks to a range of networking functions. With up to 90 A1/D prints per hour, 130/300-mL cartridges, and 2 GB of memory, it's unlikely small businesses will ever reach bottlenecks with this mass-efficiency workhorse.

The HP DesignJet T850 also provides enhanced security, as well as automatic energy-saving and ink-maintenance functions.

By accommodating A4 to A0 media sizes, the HP DesignJet T650 36-inch Plotter provides greater flexibility for a broad range of project requirements. HP's DesignJet T650 also supports various media types, including bond and coated paper, self-adhesive materials, technical paper, film, and photographic paper. It also supports both dye-based (C, M, Y) and pigment-based (K) inks, thus achieving outstanding quality across numerous media types.

Even the smallest office settings can support professional large format printing, with up to 76 A1/D prints per hour. Designed to fit on any desk, the HP DesignJet T250 actually occupies less space than most standard printers, even while supporting automatic switching between A1 and A3 print sources.

When only mass efficiency and versatility will do, the HP DesignJet SD Pro is the answer. With scalability in mind, it's the perfect solution for printing professionals who serve the technical and artistic sides of large format printing.

AEC and graphical prints of 44-in (118-cm) widths are possible at an astonishing 116 A1/D prints per hour. Dual roll capacity further increases operational efficiency and scalability.

Expert Insights and Tips to Assist With Your Decision

With numerous value-adding features, perhaps what's most difficult is selecting the best value printer for small business operations based on both (A) current operational needs and (B) future needs as your business grows. The following will serve as a compass to orient your search for the options that matter most to your operation.

Evaluate Your Printing Needs

Printing capacity is just one piece of the puzzle, central though it is. When calculating your printing needs, include some margins to accommodate last-second changes. You'll also need to balance printing workloads for your clients and your own business needs.

Media Size Requirement

Be sure your large format printer supports the maximum size required. Also, investigate whether a particular printer or plotter supports smaller widths than its maximum capacity.

Identify Which Printer Technology Suits Your Small Business Best

It's essential that your large format printer and plotter technology supports the exact type of printing project your clients request. Even the most specific niche functions often carry more nuanced requirements affecting technical dependencies.

Inkjet Technology Benefits

HP's innovative inkjet technology carries numerous unparalleled benefits compared to competing alternatives:

  • Eye-catching colourants with a wider range of colours, hue, and brightness
  • Water, oil, or combination solvents that dissolve colourants more thoroughly, achieving higher print consistency
  • Natural and synthetic binders with stronger adhesion properties that maximise image longevity
  • Additives, such as surfactants and humectants, that (respectively) more evenly spread the ink and prevent excessive drying

Compare Initial Printer Investment With Ongoing Maintenance Costs

Any business investment process should account for the total cost of ownership. Determining the most efficient printer for small businesses eager to expand requires selecting a product that minimises waste. This includes energy waste, along with standard considerations for large format printer and plotter efficiency:

  • Reduced ink waste during maintenance cycles
  • Error-correction features that prevent costly misprints
  • Less downtime for system maintenance, networking, and print management
  • Customer support services for more rapid troubleshooting and training

Plan for Your Future and Work to Achieve Your Business Goals

It's important to align your printer and plotter functions with your overarching business goals. This means choosing a large format printing solution with an equal emphasis on enhanced technical capacities and print management.

If you support a remote or hybrid workforce, also be sure your chosen solution offers advanced networking support.

Selecting the Right Printing Solutions for Long-Term Growth

Above all, any equipment upgrade should support your ability to grow and accept greater volumes of work with maximum ease. Discuss future business prospects with company leadership and key stakeholders to determine how you should begin scaling operations before the opportunities arise. Anything less would actually commit your company to stifling growth limitations.

Reach Out to HP With Your Large Format Printing Needs

Perhaps the most important tip is to reach out for help if you're unsure how to distil this information into an actionable plan. Especially for smaller businesses, it can be hard or impossible to gauge your total printer and plotter needs without expert guidance.

For decades, HP has broken numerous barriers in the large format printing industry, and we continue to invest heavily in research and development. Contact HP today to help determine the best-value printer for your small business.

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