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What are plotters, their uses, and types?

What are plotters, their uses, and types?

If you run an architecture firm or are currently a student of architecture, the term ‘plotter’ would be quite familiar to you. But if you are just starting in this line of the field, you might not have a deeper knowledge and understanding of plotters and their uses. But don’t worry, we got your back!

On a side note, if you are looking for plotter repair services, get in touch with us today!

Technology is moving at a bullet train’s speed. What seemed to be the norm a few decades ago might have gone extinct in today’s time. The same is the case with plotters. The term has become outdated as the technology that is now being used no longer ‘plots’ the output, all thanks to technological and printer design advancements.

A plotter used to refer to the original technology, in which plotter pens would plot on the paper to make drawings.

Difference between the original plotters (now outdated) & typical printers

Plotters are computer hardware devices, which are used to create hard copies of schematics and other such applications. They are pretty similar to traditional printers but also have some differences. For instance, plotters do not use toners rather they use writing tools such as pencil, marker, or pen to draw continuous, multiple lines on paper.

On the other hand, printers use a series of dots to get the printing work done. A few years ago, plotters enjoyed much more recognition and were widely used for computer-aided design. Now companies usually wide-format printers in their place.

Regardless of that, plotters did come with several benefits including:

  • They can work on large sheets of paper without compromising the resolution.
  • They can be used to print on different types of materials such as aluminum, plywood, plastic, cardboard, and sheet steel.
  • They can draw the same pattern thousands of times over and over again, without degrading the image.

Today, plotters are often referred to as large format printers or wide format printers as the old technology has wiped off from the face of the earth.

Uses of plotters

Plotters can print large scale images in high definition, can print on different types of material and used with several types of media – they have a wide range of uses. The most common usage of plotters includes large photographs, maps, architectural designs, large signs, art gallery prints, and POP ads in supermarkets, subways, and shops.

Types of plotters

The two main types of plotters are drum plotters and flatbed plotters. In the flatbed plotters, the paper is fixed while the plotters move upside and downside, left-side, and right-side to draw the marks on paper. In drum plotters, the pen moves up and down while the paper is rotated left and right by the drum. This is why drum plotters typically have a smaller footprint when compared to the final paper size.

The early generations of plotters were slower than inkjet and laser printers as moving the pen took a longer time than the working of these printers. But now technology is advanced, this is no longer the case.

Companies that make plotters

You will be amazed that there are a great number of companies that are manufacturing plotters. You can find credible brands in the industry, some of the most popular ones are Hewlett Packard (HP), Canon, Oce, and Roland. Among these four, HP is the biggest manufacturer of plotters, and therefore enjoys the largest market share on the globe.

It needs to be noted here that just like any other device or equipment, it is important to do the regular maintenance of your plotter to get the best yield and output. No matter how expensive your machine is, if you don’t take its care – you will end up regretting not doing that. Similarly, it is also not uncommon for plotters to run into issues or operational problems.

We suggest that if your plotter has been acting up lately, get it checked by a professional. Whether you are looking for HP plotter repair services or plotter repair services in general, get in touch with Visual Edge Technology. With years of experience up their sleeve and having expert professionals in their team, they would ensure that your plotter is repaired and back to being efficient for you at work.  

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