Digital Printing and Plotting
has been a revolution in plotting and printing.
(computer-based) plotting and printing services offered by LDI greatly
increase speed and cost-effectiveness for architects, engineers,
contractors and others who create documents digitally but still need
hard-copy output for bidding, construction, fabrication, etc. There is
no longer even a need to plot prior to printing single or multiple sets
of paper prints. Plotting may be necessary for preliminary proofing
under some conditions, but the extra time required for a "final
plot" is eliminated by digital printing. Also, we don't need
expensive vellums or mylars for use as originals. This can save a
tremendous amount of money during the printing and print distribution
process. It is all made possible by the digital plotting and printing
speed and quality really important?
With digital printing,
each and every print is actually an "original plot." There is
no hard-copy original. LDI's digital prints are 400 x 400 dpi (dots per
inch), a quality level unmatched by blueprint machines and analog
copiers. With LDI, there is also a substantial increase in throughput
speed, which means faster turnaround time on both individual plots and
multiple-set print production. For example, we can produce
"D"-size (24" x 36") bond prints at the continuous
rate of 1000 prints per hour, collated and ready to bind. Because of
faster production speed, same-day delivery is now routinely available on
jobs that previously would be plotted or printed overnight and not
delivered or shipped until the following day. If time is money in your
business, LDI digital printing will be of great value in meeting tight
kind of input is needed for digital printing and plotting?
LDI can print or plot
from virtually all of the standard digital file formats, including
Autocad .DWG and .PLT files, HPGL and HPGL2, Calcomp 906/907, Cals (1
& 2), DXF, TIFF Group 4 (typically from scanned files), and
postscript and PDF formats (used more commonly for specification
manuals). We support many other file formats not listed here. Call us.
do you get your digital files to LDI?
We offer many options.
The best way is by our Web Page Order
Center, which allows easy order from anywhere in the world. Go to
our Web Page at www.ldireproprinting.com and follow the prompts. You can
also bring us files on "floppy" disks. We accept 3.5-inch
floppies, although due to the size and number of drawing files in a
typical job, something with greater capacity is recommended. Currently,
the most cost-effective disk format is the 100mb (megabyte) so-called
"Zip" drive. LDI accepts both 3.5 and "Zip" disks
for your file input.
And what if you cannot
supply digital files? No problem. We can scan plots, drawings or
blueprints into digital format (or accept your scanned files if you have
an in-house scanner) and then print or plot normally. Scanning at LDI is
fast and inexpensive but you need to supply us with hard-copy for the
initial scan. more.....
"Digital Courier" Service
Traffic Really That Bad?
Every major city that is
growing faces the same problem these days; too much traffic, too many
delays, too much lost time due to slowdowns in the distribution of goods
and services. Delivering prints is no exception. For example, even
though LDI has its own delivery trucks, we often find that jobs printed
today cannot be delivered until tomorrow due to traffic conditions. But
we are trying to do something about it, and that's what our
revolutionary Digital Courier Service is all about. If time is money in
your business, LDI Across-Town Digital Courier Service will be of great
value in meeting tight deadlines and reducing document distribution
is digital courier service?
LDI has many
Reproprinting Centers throughout the Southeast. Every one is equipped
with state-of-the-art digital plotting and printing equipment.
We can easily transfer
digital files from branch-to-branch using dedicated lines and high-speed
modems, thus saving the drive time needed to get from one branch to
another. Digital document files can be "couriered" through
traffic jams and around other handling delays that otherwise can slow
information delivery to a crawl. Once the digital files arrive at the
LDI location, they are printed at speeds up to 1000 prints per hour and
at image resolution of 400 x 400 dpi (dots per inch). Same day delivery
becomes common because the documents only have to travel a small
distance in hard-copy form.
can you use digital courier service?
There are several
options. The best way is through our Web Page. You can select the
location closest to where you want the prints delivered, complete an
on-screen electronic order form and then "courier" the digital
files to LDI with a click of the mouse. When your job arrives at LDI, we
print it and either deliver it locally via our delivery truck or have it
ready for customer pickup, depending on your specific needs. If you
prefer, you can bring us your digital files on disc and we can send the
order digitally for you. Either way, you pay only the normal printing
costs; there is no extra charge for the local "digital courier
What if you don't have
a network and can't use our Web Page? No problem. Any LDI location can
quickly scan your documents into digital format and then courier your
files across town for you.
Scanning for Archival Storage
do you keep all those drawings?
If you are like most
architects, engineers or contractors, you have hundreds or even
thousands of drawings and blueprints at your office.
Many companies have so
much of this stuff that they rent extra space just to store it all. A
lot of money also is spent on flat files, hanging files, tubular files,
overhead racks and other storage devices to help you organize.
Meanwhile, your paper documents slowly fade, making them harder to read
and use. (This is especially true of old blueprints, which are
Scanning May Be the Answer
Within the past couple of
years, a revolution has occurred in scanning. Using charged-couple
devices (CCDs), which is the same advanced technology found in the newer
video and personal digital cameras, the quality and speed of scanning is
now equal to the computer technology you use in your CAD system. And the
hardware has helped launch a software revolution; new software allows
rapid batch scanning, automatic document "clean-up", instant
on-line viewing and printing and more. Advances in digital storage
devices have kept pace; "Zip" disks, for example, store 100mb
(megabytes) of data equal to 200 or even more average drawings, and
scanning software compresses digital files to get more storage on a
single disk. And,of course, digital files are of archival quality; they
never fade or change in any way. LDI has the latest scanning hardware
and software at all of our digital locations. Digital scanning at LDI is
accurate, fast, and inexpensive. All of the drawings you have can be
scanned to disk in a week or so and returned to you on a few Zip disks.
Think of it...every project you have ever designed or bid can be stored
in a shoe box. Like we said...its a revolution!
documents be used after they are scanned?
Yes. First of all, LDI
(or any competent digital printer) can print stored files in hard-copy
format for your use. But more important, software is now available that
allows you to view, print and even alter digitally-stored documents with
your CAD system just in case some of those "dead" projects
come to life again. Why do you need software in addition to the CAD
software you now have? This is because while CAD software creates and
allows you to manipulate vector images (lines and curves defined by
mathematical equations), scanning creates raster images (dot patterns on
an X:Y axis). There are several different levels of intermediary
software, depending upon your specific needs. Some allow only viewing
and printing of raster files; some allow you to edit (change, clean-up
or add to) raster files; more advanced software enables you to edit
raster images and then overlay them on existing vector files (using your
CAD software); and at the highest level there is software that fully
converts raster data into vector format, thus enabling you to do
whatever needs to be done with just your CAD software. The cost of these
intermediary software packages ranges from under $200.00 (for view/print
only) to a few thousand dollars (for a high-speed vectoring package).
LDI will be glad to consult with you to select the best package. Call
Document Distribution on the Internet
Delivery Used To Be Fast.
Consider this; it has
been 20 years since Federal Express Corporation introduced next-day
parcel delivery. FedEX service was a real innovation, but keep in mind
what business was like in the Age of Disco. Secretaries used electric
typewriters, long-distance phone calls were expensive and the fax
machine hadn't been invented. FedEx's only competition was the US Mail
and UPS ground service.
Now consider this;
today, nearly 100% of all documents, everything from legal contracts to
design drawings, are created on a computer. Word processing has replaced
the typing pool and designers use AutoCad instead of 2H pencils and
drafting vellum. But FedEx still expects hard-copy to be printed prior
to shipment, just like it has been done for twenty years. Printers do
this routinely for their clients, often shipping huge stacks or rolls of
documents in heavy, protective packages (no wonder these shippers charge
by the pound!) This is called print-then-distribute, with prints
delivered next-day. This has been a bonanza for companies like FedEx,
UPS and Airborne, who persuade their document delivery customers to
spend as much on shipping as they do on printing. Total expenditures for
next-day delivery in the design/construction industry alone are
estimated to be $500 million annually, just to get it there tomorrow!
New Idea: Distribute-then-Print.
Lets consider an
alternative. All documents start out as "virtual" (electronic)
documents, pulses of electrical energy instead of real ink and paper.
They are created, stored, even modified as electronic documents. So why
can't they be SHIPPED as electronic documents? The answer is that they
can! You already do this; faxing is a form of electronic distribution,
although you need printed copies first before you fax. Distribution by
digital network using only the electronic document is easier, faster,
better quality, less expensive and just as reliable as faxing. Digital
distribution opens up a whole new possibility - distribute-then-print.
The digital data can be sent to wherever it is needed before being
printed. All that is required on the receiving end is a digital print
device. High-speed digital printers can produce hundreds, even thousands
of copies per hour, so that electronic documents can not only be
distributed same-day, they can also be printed and used same-day.
Tomorrow becomes today, and at significantly lower cost!
the Internet to Transfer Digital Files.
The Internet is a great
way to transfer documents as digital files, using the global telephone
network and the Internet "backbone." Internet transfer speeds
are almost instantaneous (uploading and downloading to the backbone may
take a little extra time due to your modem speed) and the accuracy and
completeness of file transfer is excellent. (An exception is so-called
E-Mail, which is not reliable enough for the transfer of important
documents. But E-Mail is only one type of Internet file transfer
protocol. There are others that are better). Best of all, file transfer
by Internet is inexpensive; most Internet Service Providers have low
cost, flat-rate, unlimited usage billing programs, so the more you use
the Internet, the less expensive (per document transferred) it becomes!
Internet document transfer costs are cheaper than Airborne of Fed Ex,
cheaper even than UPS ground service. And it gets there today, not