Despite the ever expanding use of increasingly sophisticated technologies such as BIM and augmented reality in the AEC sectors, printed materials will continue to occupy an irreplaceable role in the workplace due to the natural predilection of designers, builders and engineers for handling hard copies of key documents.

This is demonstrated by the growing popularity of printing within the global AEC sector, in particular the use of colour printers to produce facsimiles on paper of the complex and intricate documents that today’s designers and engineers can generate using the latest software.

According to data from the International Reprographic Association (IRgA), printing in the AEC sectors has been on the rise for the past several quarters, with a strong emphasis on colour in CAD and colour graphics, as well as wide-format technical printing. In sharp contrast, monochrome CAD and small format printing are both on the wane.

The prime drivers of growth in colour printing within the AEC sector are the increasing complexity of modern designs and production of a greater number of designs in colour, primarily due to the increasing use of BIM during the development process.

This necessitates the production of colour hard copies of design files generated using computers in order for them to be intelligible to other stakeholders either in the office or on the building site.

Over half of respondents to InfoTrends’ survey of LED customers in the United States expected colour prints to rise over the next several years, with purchases of wide-format colour multi-function printers set to increase. Conversely, monochrome LED devices used that have traditionally used for printing CAD line drawings are on the decline despite their speed and economy.

Users are instead opting for colour printers when the time comes to procure a replacement, while printer manufacturers strive heighten the appeal of these devices by improving their speed as well as cutting down on ink costs by area.