The large format scanner market is in a constant state of change due to continual advances in technology. Currently, the large format market is split between two main imaging technologies: CIS and CCD.
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CCD (Charged Coupled Device)
CCD scanners use a series of cameras, otherwise known as Charged Coupled Devices, to capture an image. Large format scanners using CCD technology will have two or more separate CCD's that will capture an area, or image field, which are stitched together to produce a single large format image.
CIS (Contact Image Sensor)
CIS scanners use an array of silicone pickups, instead of cameras, to capture data. Whereas a CCD scanner uses a constant gas bulb light source, CIS Scanners use LED pulses that are flashed across the document.
Each of these scanner technologies have their own unique advantages, and the appropriate technology is generally determined by such factors as document image quality and composition, volume, environment, software/hardware compatibility, and cost.
Other Wide Format Scanner Technology
Most large format scanners are roll fed scanners, and are great for back file conversion of architectural and engineering drawings, maps, and other line drawing applications. Some of these scanners are better suited towards high end graphics applications. Many of these scanners may be upgraded from black and white to color, and from slow to fast. Some models are also set up to handle documents that are mounted on thick material, such as foam board. Most large format scanners use USB 2.0 scanner to computer interfaces. However, there are a few models that are capable of ethernet connectivity - although we generally recommend connecting the computer, rather than the scanner, to your network.
For certain applications, a flatbed scanner might be recommended. This determination is usually made based upon unique originals that can not be scanned through a roll fed scanner. Volume is also an important consideration when determining the potential necessity of a flatbed scanner. There are a few options available for roll fed scanners that may make a roll fed scanner a more viable option than a flatbed.
Large and Wide Format Scanner Software
Software packages are another important consideration in choosing a large document or wide format scanner. Some available scanner interface software is more involved, presenting the end user with a greater number of image manipulation options, and file options. Some users have crisp originals, lower file format requirements, and prefer the ease of use of a lighter software package. Others however, require the ability to correct image quality issues when the original is difficult, or may require more advanced file options, or even RIP technology. All of the Large Format Scanners are sold with their own software packages, each with different features. There are often upgrade packages, or other compatible packages available.
All large format scanners produce Raster images, which you can think of as a photo image. Many large format scanner users want to use these images in a CAD environment. While some prefer to bring these pictures into their CAD authoring software, there are programs available that can help convert the Raster picture into a Vector image that can be altered in a CAD program.