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Digitization Equipment- see it in person first

by on October 3, 2012

With the new fiscal year coming around, our lab is looking at new equipment. We are looking at grants to fund a large format scanner, and looking for future equipment we might want.

With high end digitization equipment, it’s always best to see the equipment in person. This is especially true if the equipment has “automatic” functions of any type. You want to get a feel for how big, how easy, and how fast the equipment actually runs. Stats can only tell you so much. Demo’s are good in a pinch, but really it’s best to see the equipment in real working conditions when things are not perfect. This also means you get a chance to talk to someone who’s used the machine a bit and they’ll tell you it’s quirks.

So, when you’ve narrowed down your search to a few machines, it might be worth the few thousand to send someone to another organization to see the equipment in person. Venders will usually give you a list of people they’ve sold their machines to.

If you can’t see the equipment in person, a good phone call to someone who works with the equipment all the time can suffice. Let them talk as much as they want. The best phone calls and emails about equipment covered the same topics. Here’s a quick guide in asking about equipment:

  • Tell them what you are planning to do. What does your project look like? What do you have to scan? What’s the end product?
  • Tell them what equipment you are looking into, and why you are contacting them. You may be talking to them about scanner X, but you may say your also looking at scanner Y because they may have knowledge of scanner Y.
  • Ask if, in their professional opinion, the equipment is right for your project.
  • Ask what problems they have had with the equipment.
  • Ask what problems they have had with the company (Warrantee, maintenance, etc)
  • Ask what the equipment’s limitations are.
  • Ask what the cycle time for the equipment is (How long does it take to complete an item).
  • Ask them if they have any other recommendations for equipment.

And ask any other questions you may have. Let the person talk as long as they want. What they will probably give you is context. Their digitization works a certain way that will probably be different than yours. You will need to know how their process is different so you can tell if something works well for them because of their setup and not because of the equipment.

 

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