By Anthony J. Lockwood
Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
My poky old garage door ceased operating this rainy morning, much to my irritation. I must confess that this is a device I beat on a lot, but gave little regard to until now. Document scanners tend to garner similar indifference in most offices. But vital equipment they are — probably more than you appreciate. Contex recently announced the availability of two new Energy-Star compliant wide-format scanners, the HD Ultra series and the SD3600, as well as version 2 of its Nextimage imaging software for scanning, copying, and printing. These devices seem fast, easy to use, and arrayed with features that should make you appreciate just what you’ve been missing with your old scanner.
Context says that its new HD Ultra wide-format scanner is the most advanced on the market, and, from the sounds of it, they can make a good case. The idea here is productivity and ease of use. The HD Ultra series leverages Contex’s xDTR2 (extended data transfer rate) technology and other speed enhancement features to run at twice the speed of its predecessor — up to 6-ips (inch per second) — giving you more than 900 monochrome and nearly 600 color scans an hour. It has 48-bit color capture and processing, one-touch controls, and automatic size detection. You can upgrade it for resolution, speed, width, color, or Gigabit Ethernet without changing hardware.
The HD Ultra comes in two models. The 1200×1200-dpi Professional is for high-volume applications. The HD Ultra Office is for occasional or low-volume settings. It scans documents of various sizes and conditions, including photos and fine art, at 600-dpi and 1-in. scanning per second in color speed.
The SD3600, a 36-in., 1200-dpi scanner with 48-bit color capture, is suitable for technical documents like drawings, schematics, blueprints, and sketches. It offers instant-on scanning, a one-touch interface, and an automatic scanner maintenance system. A neat thing about it is its “all-wheel drive” design that, Context explains, provides a straight scanning path with an optimal hold across the width of large documents; i.e., it prevents image distortion. Also equipped with xDTR technology, this scanner can crank out 324 color and 744 mono scans (A1) per hour.
Both the HD Ultra and SD3600 are available as multi-function products so that they can connect with most office printers, copiers, or large-format inkjet and LED printers.
The idea underlying Nextimage imaging software is to complete the connection between your scanner, digital storage, applications, and printers while providing you the tools to edit and manage scanned documents. Version 2 extends usability to the honchos, users, and admins. For example, version 2 offers new accounting capabilities to make the CFO happy like scanner tracking/reporting by department, project, and user name. For you do-bees, it offers functionality for multi-page files and batch scanning of mixed documents. For IT, it provides one-touch buttons that set up the scanner for walk-up and network users, and it has integrated printer drivers said to deliver a complete scan-to-print solution with such printers as Canon, Epson, and HP. Nextimage is available in three versions of increasing functionality, one of which surely will cover your needs.
You can read all about Context’s new scanners and software from in today’s Pick of the Week write-up. It’s probably best you do so now before a rainy day comes and your old slow scanner scans no more.
Thanks, pal. — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering
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