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Top 5 Tips for Success at UCT 2016

UCT 2016
Repro Products is excited to announce that we will be exhibiting at the Underground Construction Technology International Conference & Exhibition in Atlanta on February 3rd – 4th. UCT is the premier event in the United States focusing on the total underground pipeline infrastructure. For over 21 years, UCT has been the meeting place for business professionals involved in maintaining the underground utility pipe infrastructure.
Individuals representing water, sewer, gas, telecom and electric rely on UCT to learn about the latest techniques used in trenchless, open cut, new construction and pipe rehabilitation. Repro Products is proud to say that we have served this vibrant and innovative community since 1979 and we are eager to network with industry experts and discuss the implications of large format printing on the construction community.
UCT has so much to offer. In order to help you gain the most out of your time this year, we thought we would provide our top 5 tips for a successful #UCT2016:
  1. Register: UCT is fast approaching, but it is not too late to attend this premier industry trade show. Register Here to make sure you don’t miss out!
  2. Plan: Visit the Who’s Attending page to see who is attending and make a plan to visit booths, visit exhibits and take an opportunity to rub elbows with some industry movers and shakers.
  3. Practice: Practice your elevator pitch and have plenty of business cards on hand. With so many heavy-hitters in one room, you don’t want to miss out on any opportunities to build your business and your network.
  4. Learn: Featuring 90 Information-Packed Sessions, UCT is a great opportunity to collect continuing education units. This dynamic educational program will help you understand the new technologies and products displayed in the exhibit hall and stay on top of the latest safety, regulatory and operational issues that are impacting the way you do business. UCT’s primary program (Feb. 3-4) qualifies for Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and Professional Development Hours (PDHs) granted by the University of Texas at Arlington.
  5. Earn: Make sure to visit Repro Products in booth #904 to learn more about all of the exciting new products and offerings that have come from the Wide Format Printing industry. We will also be offering special show pricing on the HP T3500. 

 

We look forward to seeing you at the Georgia World Congress Center on February 3rd & 4th!
If you would like to visit the exhibit hall at no charge, click here for instructions on how you can see what’s new in the industry for FREE. 

New Color Print Capacity with the HP XL 8000

The Repro Products’ Print Services department is enthusiastically awaiting the arrival of the new HP XL technology.  We will soon be installing a HP XL 8000 and are eager to have the capacity to print 30 – 24×36 color documents per minute.  Speed like this is unheard of with previous technology.

For several years, many of our customers have expressed a desire for color prints, but not at ‘ink jet’ pricing.  The HP XL will allow us to fill that void in our service offering.  We plan to have this printer fully operational in our Production Department by November.  The printer has the capability for heavier media, but our standard ‘go to’ media on this device will be 20 lb. bond, the same as normal construction documents.  We will also be able to offer a wide range of other media including indoor and outdoor substrates as well as specialty media, but extra time will need to be allowed for medias we do not stock.   

With the availability of economical color, that portion of our customer base who do their ‘take-offs’ without the use of software, will immediately realize the ease, additional accuracy, and time savings of utilizing color documents.  The reduction of necessary ‘change orders’ alone will justify the use of color in normal document production.  From economical color GIS mapping sets to color cover sheets for construction documents, we’re excited to have this service enhancement available for our customers.

Check out the hot new models – the KIP 800 Color Series

Introducing the just-announced KIP 800 color series – a new generation of wide format functionality.  The KIP Color 800 series is designed to conquer a range of wide format tasks that require speed, quality and performance.  The series includes the KIP 850, 860, 870, 880 and 890.  With 8 D’s per minute printing, 2 rolls of paper, a 50-sheet stacker, fully integrated color scanner and System K, we feel the KIP 860 will be our most popular model. But we’ll provide the right solution for your needs and service all the 800 series printers.

What’s new about the KIP 860?  Aside from its remarkable speed at 8 D-size prints per minute in either B&W or color or mixed, the KIP 860 produces extraordinary print quality and performance for both color and black & white wide format printing of technical and business graphics. Productivity Alert!– No more printing B&W on one printer then printing color on another printer and manually putting them together. The KIP 860 will print the entire set with mixed color for immediate distribution. Prints and copies generated by the KIP 800 Color Series are fully lightfast – they will not fade or exhibit color deterioration from exposure to light over extended periods.  The images produced by the CMYK dry toner system are 100% waterproof and are suitable for outdoor applications even in inclement weather. Print on a no-tear paper and the document will last through any storm or spilled cup of coffee.

The KIP 860 combines multi-function productivity with a single footprint to save space.  Other features of the 860 include:

  • 2 roll multi-function system with integrated scanner
  • Intuitive 12” touchscreen navigation that automates copy, scan and print function for single touch productivity
  • Standard front stacking
  • Optional rear stacking or KIP Fold
  • KIP System K, KIP Print Pro, KIP Print Web Printing
  • Windows and AutoCAD drivers
  • Workflow automation

Below are just a few of the applications that wide format color can help your business:

  • CAD and MCAD drawings
  • Line data for AEC
  • Renderings
  • Erections
  • Film overlays
  • Network diagrams
  • Floor plans

Want to see the KIP 860 in action?  Just call Repro Products at 678-784-0396 to schedule your live demonstration and consultation on the benefits of color to your business.  Click here for more information about the KIP 800 series.

Xerox Security Without Updates?

Have you ever wondered why the antivirus software on your desktop or laptop needs to be updated so often? Well, the simple answer is that the software has to be constantly updated to keep up with the rash of new viruses being created every day so it can decide what to let into your computer and what not to.

That’s why Xerox has partnered with McAfee and Cisco to protect you and your clients’ information with no monthly updates needed. Why? Because McAfee’s whitelisting technology ensures only safe, pre-approved files and functions are executed on your devices, minimizing the need to manually update software levels against security threats. In other words instead of having to update your software with a list of files that it can’t run it has a “whitelist” of functions and files that it can. If any other programs or files attempt to enter through your print portal, the McAfee technology will shut it down. It’s similar to the technology used on ATMs.

When you combine that with Xerox’s Image Overwrite Protection with a 3-pass scrub process to ensure total deletion of all data fragments and encrypted PDF files for scanning as well as complete hard drive encryption, you have a security system that protects all aspects of your workflow. You won’t have to worry about being the next victim of client identity theft and having your company’s name smeared across the news headlines. There’s no wonder Xerox has won so many contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense.

The good news is that you don’t need to be the Federal Government or a large corporation to afford this kind of security. It comes on all of Xerox’s Connect Key Multi-Functional Devices (MFDs). So why take chances with your client’s information and your company’s reputation? You’ve got enough to worry about in today’s business environment. You have to bring in the business. Let Xerox MFDs from Repro Products keep them and their information safe and secure.

Predictably Evaluate Vehicle Movements with Autodesk Vehicle Tracking

Are you still using a manual vehicle turn template to evaluate the movements of steered vehicles?  Many of our clients are.

As an Autodesk reseller for over 20 years, when a product comes along that specifically addresses our client’s needs, we want them to know about it.

A newer Autodesk product that does not get a lot of attention is Vehicle Tracking.  It makes it much easier to do swept path analysis, parking lot layout and roundabouts within AutoCAD software.

Our clients’ projects’ needs change throughout the design process.  Vehicle Tracking is created with an intelligent workflow.  You should not need to delete, start-over, or explode a vehicle path.  The simulations are stored within the .dwg file so you or anyone with Vehicle Tracking can re-visit the vehicle path, edit the geometry, and even check and change vehicle speed.

How accurate and easy is it for you to predict how a vehicle will navigate a parking lot?  Can large trucks maneuver through tight spaces and not drive over curbs?

Do you design with wasted space in order to ensure vehicle maneuverability?

One our clients’ favorite tools in Vehicle Tracking is the Grip Editing mode. Grips enables you to tailor the maneuver to a driver’s behavior.  How do you currently design for the driver of a large truck who needs to swing out wide to the left before making a tight right hand turn?

No one likes to have to do their work in in multiple software applications.   Vehicle Tracking has a tight integration with Civil 3D and AutoCAD.  With Civil 3D, it includes 3D surface tracking and native object creation.  Within Civil 3D, you can drive vehicles over surfaces and carry out ground clearance analysis checks in 3D.

Since you are working inside of AutoCAD or Civil 3D, you can connect the modeling and design processes.  This enables the reuse of preliminary design work in the detail design phase.  Also, because you are using Civil 3D or AutoCAD, you can easily consider safety factors interactively during the design process.  You can also use the integrated analysis and simulation tools to predictably evaluate movement.

Vehicle Tracking is an all-in-one product.  There are not a myriad of different modules that you need to buy to get the important features you need.  The all-in-one product concept allows users to not have to redo or import their work into different packages.  A great example is being able to record AVI movie files from within the product while you are selecting a path. It eliminates the need to copy path alignments or points.

If you want to learn more about Vehicle Tracking, call Repro Products at (678) 385-2185.  Also visit the events page of our website to see a listing of upcoming seminars and webinars on topics such as Vehicle Tracking: www.reproproducts.com/events.asp.

New Color Printing Technologies Broaden the Possibilities for Print Shops

To buy inkjet, color toner, latex, or solvent; now that is the question – at least for many print shops. With updated media options and applications, plus the flexibility of digital output, customers are wanting to print more than just wide format banners. Today’s savvy consumers are requesting canvas, fine art wall covering, point of purchase displays and vehicle wraps. The challenge for print shops is choosing and investing in the right technology to meet demand.

Slow printing and high quality vs. faster print speeds and monochrome is no longer a choice that has to be made by print providers. Traditionally, inkjet hardware has been the least expensive, but the consumables’ costs made them considerably more expensive to operate, not to mention the much slower printing speeds. HP has bridged the time/cost gap by introducing the HP PageWide XL series. This series reduces production time by delivering mixed monochrome and color sets in 50% of the time with a consolidated workflow. The print speeds of up to 30 D/A1 pages per minute are the fastest print speeds in the market. The long-life printheads, coupled with high ink efficiency, further drive down the cost of operation of the PageWide XL series.

KIP is also introducing new models to broaden the choices for print providers. They are adding color toner units for print shops and the office environment that print on a range of media options that are durable, even in the elements. These systems produce vibrant colors, striking graphics and photographic images at unprecedented speeds for this price point.

As the industry changes to color printing where the cost of color is coming down and print speeds are increasing, there are a host of possibilities and applications available for print shops and offices.  Let Repro Products help you navigate the new color printing technologies so you can choose the best hardware to meet your customers’ demands. We have been providing wide format expertise since 1979 and have unsurpassed experience and breadth of products representing solutions from HP and KIP. Call us at 678-784-0396 to set up a consultation.

Autodesk Perpetual Network Licensing

Most of our clients’ questions about Autodesk software are around licensing. Should they have standalone or would they be better off to purchase a network license?  As an Autodesk reseller for over 20 years, Repro Products has guided many companies through the changes and growth of Autodesk licensing.  Recently the alternatives for acquiring Autodesk software have increased.  Clients now have options of not only Stand-alone or Network but Perpetual and Usage/Time models as well.
One of the first questions we get from a client is how do I know if Network licensing is right for our business?
  • Do you have 5 or more licenses? If yes, you should use Network Licenses.
  • Do you have less than 5 people needing to use the software but they are partial time users? If yes, you should use Network Licenses.
  • Do you have a one person design team but need to access it at the office or in the field or from home? No, a Stand-alone License with subscription covers that need.

Is Network Licensing Cheaper than Stand Alone? No and Yes

  • At the time of software purchase, Network Licenses are an additional cost. Examples of real cost savings are below:
o   Most clients who use design software rarely have all their software users using it 8 hours a day.  The majority of company’s design teams have project meetings, client meetings and field work, in addition to design/modeling time.  Since network licenses are based on a concurrent pool of licenses, typically a license per every user is not required. So money can be saved by not having to purchase a separate, individual license for every user.
o   A tremendous amount of time is saved managing the licenses.  With a network license, you can set up as many workstations as you need or want.  Hardware replacement is a constant part of today’s new office lifestyle and keeping track of all the serial numbers, past serial numbers and versions can quickly become a large time-consuming process.
Do you have to be connected to the server to access a network license?
  •   No, a user can check out/check in (borrow) a license

Are there different ways to set up a license server?
  • Yes, you can choose a single license server model or a distributed server model
    Can network licensing help me gain more control?
  • Yes, it can help you control license access several ways, including who and by what time.  You can create a report log, regulate how long a license can be used, reserve licenses for specific users or systems and control license recovery for idle products.

In-Plant and Commercial Printers’ Strategic Initiatives Over the Next Five Years

Info Trends recently produced a study entitled U.S. Production Software Investment Survey 2015.  In this study, commercial print service providers and corporate in-plants were surveyed about their strategic business direction. The 120 respondents revealed both similarities and differences worth noting.  The survey, which also included questions about software usage and purchase intentions, as well as services offered, included a key question:  “Which initiatives best describe your strategic business direction in the next five years?”
Both the in-plant providers and commercial printers selected the following as top initiatives:
  • Reducing production cost and improving efficiency
  • Expanding to new print applications or services
  • Focusing on growing existing core offerings
In-Plant & Commercial Printers
It is not surprising that both in-plant and commercial printers see reducing manufacturing costs as a top priority.  This strategy was selected by 81.4% of corporate in-plant printers as a key initiative of their business strategy and it was the second most selected initiative by the commercial printers at 57.1%.  It is also clearly imperative that both groups must expand their offerings to new applications and services in order to grow over the next five years as print volumes decline.  
 
Commercial printers also recognize the need to focus on specific vertical markets and industries.  In fact, this initiative was chosen by the highest percentage of commercial printer survey respondents with 67.5% choosing this strategy as one of their top three strategies over the 5-year period.  This movement is in line with the recommendation Barb Pellow, Group Director at Info Trends, has made in her presentations over the years.  Similarly, in the book, “The Winning Performance: How America’s high-growth Midsize companies succeed” authors D.K. Clifford Jr. and R.E. Cavanaugh say, “Midsize high-growth companies succeed by identifying and meeting the needs of certain kinds of customers – not all customers – for specific kinds of products and services. Business academics call this market segmentation, entrepreneurs call it common sense.”
For more information on how to achieve the top ranking initiatives of in-plant & commercial printers as noted in the Info Trends study, contact Repro Products.  One of our staff business consultants will perform a business analysis and assist you in creating a plan to work more efficiently, expand your offerings and market your services more effectively.

Why is BIM Driving Color in Wide Format Printing?

BIM is no longer just a cool buzz word to throw around at cocktail parties, it is a reality and it is here to stay.  According to McGraw Hill, 50% of owners are requiring BIM to be used on their projects.  The increase of BIM is directly tied to the increase of IPD (Integrated Project Delivery) contracts which means the burden for change orders and mistakes is spread around.
As the competition for jobs increases, it is incumbent on firms to stand out.  But how?  By investing in a color wide format printer, of course!  What, how can that be the answer?  I didn’t even buy into BIM being a cool buzz word at parties – no way spending money on color printing is the answer to winning work and being more profitable.  Or is it?  Keep reading, it will all come together . . .
Better collaboration and understanding of construction documents helps reduce rework (read that as COSTS) on jobs.  The Economist estimated that 10 – 30% of the costs of any given project can be attributed to mistakes, rework or errors.  Printing construction documents in color increases productivity, reduces delays and reduces litigation.  Europe has already embraced color printing with 50% of construction documents printed in color, compared to 10% in the U.S.
So how does this translate into winning more jobs and reducing expenses?  Color documents reduce search time by up to 80% and reduce errors by 80% while increasing retention by 78%.  If you can reduce the time on a job, reduce errors AND reduce the costs, your clients will take notice.
But doesn’t color cost a lot more than black and white?  Recent developments in wide format technology have brought down the price of color printing making it more affordable than ever while increasing the print speeds.  If you are unsure of the benefits of color printing, though, perhaps you would be prudent to send some documents to your local reprographer and allow them to print them for you in color.  Use them on your job site and see for yourself how big a difference they can make for you.     

If you haven’t visited Repro Products lately… then you don’t know Repro Products

Repro Products

Now that Repro Products is an Autodesk National Reseller and sells Xerox equipment, many of our customers do not know our background.  With a name like Repro Products Inc. (RPI), newer clients wonder how does that relate to what they do?  In 1979, Repro Products started as a reprographer.  In this, our first blog, join us for a brief walk down memory lane to see what has changed since 1979:
  •        The Bee Gees were topping the charts and Disco was King
  •     The Walkman represented the newest “gotta have it” technology
  •       A gallon of gas cost less than a dollar
In 1979, while nothing was coming between Brooke Shields and her Calvins, we were selling drafting supplies and were a blue printer.  It has been a long time since prints came out blue.  And a lot has evolved at Repro Products – it’s a good thing, or we would be a footnote to history like the 8-track tape.
Recognizing the need to change with our customers and technology, through the years we added products and services to align with advancements that affected our design and construction clients:
  • Our experience as a blue printer provided us with a unique perspective on engineering, architectural and construction industries and facilitated our move from selling drafting angles and tables into selling and supporting Autodesk Software.  We have now been an Autodesk reseller for over 20 years and are a Gold Partner and Autodesk Authorized Training Center.
  • Although we still do a lot printing for our clients, our print shop’s production services grew to incorporate digital services including managing plan rooms, metadata entry and data mapping.
  • Clients wanted to be able to print in their offices and on jobsites.  We became one of the South’s largest resellers of wide format equipment and service. 
In the last decade there was another shift — a larger demand for half-size prints.  Although printed on 11×17” paper, a half-size print requires more expertise from a printer than producing a regular office document.  Five years ago, we expanded our decades-long affiliation with Xerox and became a Platinum Xerox Agent providing multi- function and production devices that support not only our architectural and construction customers’ drawings but also the office staff and marketing teams (and production printers) from a wide variety of businesses throughout metro Atlanta.
One part of our business works diligently with our clients helping them make better BIM (Building Information Modeling) models.  The other part still prints 2D plans.  As the two worlds become closer and closer in technology, we changed from just being in architects’ and engineers’ offices to also being out with our construction clients on their job sites.  The experience of being in the field with our clients, working with them on projects they are trying to win and seeing the end results of jobs they pushed to make come together, we realized there were still some important solutions we needed to provide.
One large hole to fill was accurate building documentation.  Our clients need it to bid a project, plan it effectively, ensure it is being built correctly and to provide a more complete deliverable to their clients.  Everyone knows that as-built drawings are a myth.  And even with BIM-enabled construction sites, the need to ensure what is being built as it is being built is important.
We knew that 3D laser scanning was the answer to getting this vital documentation.  When choosing a 3D laser scanner manufacturer to align with, we needed the technology to be accurate, easy to use and travel ready.  We partnered with FARO because their scanners fit the needs for both our own services and our clients.  We offer the FARO line of 3D laser scanners as well as scanning services for those clients who do not want to do the scanning themselves.  We also rent scanners for those in between.
Just possessing accurate data is not enough, though.  We knew we had to own the proper data capture and use workflow.  Receiving data that is approachable and usable is vital to our clients’ success.  For our Autodesk software users, we train on how to actually use the data in the software.  Our non-design clients receive an accurate 3D image file that lets them move around, see and measure virtually but with real, accurate data.
So that is 36+ years of evolution in under 800 words!  Moving forward, our blogs will be specific to our lines of business so you can get timely information on just the subjects that interest you most: Autodesk software, 3D laser scanning, wide format printing and equipment and Xerox office and production equipment.  Check back here weekly to see what’s new.