Posted in Case Studies on June 29th, 2016

Service, quality and reliability

McPhersons Document Solutions Ltd is a family run document management and scanning bureau with experience going back to 1972. Their reputation is for service, quality and reliability and they require equipment which supports these three points.

McPhersons have used Colortrac scanners to manage their large format jobs for many years. They recently upgraded their scanner and, due to their previous great experience, knew they would purchase a Colortrac scanner again. Steven McPherson explains why they chose a Colortrac SmartLF scanner as their latest addition, “We never know what a customer will ask us to scan, so this scanner is great. It is wide enough for all jobs, comes with powerful software so we can edit the images, is incredibly accurate when customers bring technical drawings and also reproduces colour brilliantly.”

Steven continues, “The other benefit of the Colortrac scanner is its speed. In a document management bureau time really is money. This scanner is incredibly fast and that really helps us turn jobs around without compromising on quality. Colortrac was the only solution with the right combination of quality, stability, flexibility and price.”

McPhersons were able to really test out their scanner in March 2016, when they were approached by Albi Taylor, a graphic facilitator, about an event she had graphiced for Career Ready in Scotland.

The document – 42 inches by 18 foot

How to scan a 18 foot by 42" documentCareer Ready is a UK wide charity linking employers with schools to open up the world of work to young people. As the latest cohort of Scottish students approached graduation, Career Ready wanted to record this event and highlight the students’ great achievements.

To Career Ready’s delight, Depute Chief Executive of Perth and Kinross Council, John Fyffe, offered to sponsor a piece of art to celebrate this event. At this point, Albi Taylor was commissioned to produce the artwork. Albi is a well-known graphic facilitator, who uses words and pictures to record an event in real time.

Albi produced an amazing 42 inch by 18 foot (1 m by 5.5 m) image which delighted Career Ready, all the students and employer supporters. The challenge was, how could they possibly share this image so that it was more widely accessible?

At this point, Albi approached McPhersons, a family-run document management and scanning bureau.

“McPhersons had scanned my artwork before and the quality was always great. However, this was on a different scale,” Albi explains. “I wasn’t sure if they would be able to scan something so large but they did an amazing job and I was delighted with the result.”

Two challenges – physical and digital size

McPhersons had two key challenges to overcome in this job. The physical size and the resultant digital file size.
Taking the digital file size first, this can be reduced in two ways. Firstly, by looking at the resolution. Secondly, by using compression. Colortrac scanners will always produce 1:1 images. That gives the greatest accuracy. To give control over file size, Colortrac’s specialist scanning software, SmartWorks TOUCH and SmartWorks Pro, both allow users to set the resolution manually. Options range from 100 dpi (dots per inch) to 1200 dpi. Normally, lower resolutions of around 200 dpi are adequate to get a really great image at a reasonable file size your computer can manage.

Colortrac software also gives the option of saving files to one of fourteen different file types. PDF is the most popular file type. For a job such as this, however, JPG was recommended as it has the highest compression.

After deciding the resolution and file type, McPhersons needed to consider the physical drawing. Due to its large scale it required careful handling. Colortrac scanners have motorised rollers so that documents are always fed gently through the scanner. This was particularly useful with such a long document, as any drag could have affected the accuracy of the digital file. To ensure the document was handled carefully before scanning, McPhersons used four people to feed the drawing in, with a table to stabilise it.

The result

Career Ready Scotland 2016

Career Ready Scotland 2016

Albi Taylor and Career Ready were both delighted with the result. As Anne Wexelstein, Career Ready’s Director for Scotland, explains, “Our students have worked so hard. It is great that they can now appreciate this lovely artwork, which celebrates their achievements, captured forever more, with their own digital copy downloadable from our website.”

* For an overview of all Colortrac scanners, see our Large Format Scanner Overview.

McPhersons Document Solutions Ltd
Albi Taylor
Career Ready