Many years ago, you couldn't buy a copy machine with an automatic document feeder. It was, as I called it, "one on and one off", meaning you could only place one document at a time of the glass platen. What a drag that was, right?
Back in the day, there were no automatic document feeders, just a platen (glass table) that you would place the original on, and then make the copy of the document.
It was not until a few weeks ago that I was prompted by a client to investigate a Contex HDiFLEX scanner. The HDiFLEX is not your ordinary color scanner, in my opinion it's a throw back to old analog copier days but with really awesome scan technology.
The Contex HDiFLEX, the system has a stationary platen that allows you to place a document as large as 18 x 24. The 18 x 24 inch platen comes in handy for the color scanning of marked up check plots (12x18). In addition the HDiFLEX will also scan a 24 x36" maximum image with multiple scans. Contex includes scanning software that can enable a "stitching" of the 24x36" inch document. Basically, you're scanning one half of the document on the first scan and then the other half with the second scan. The final scan is one 24x36" document. Thus, you don't need to invest in a 36 inch wide scanner, as long as you don't have a bulk requirement for 24x36" scans.
I was also pretty fascinated that the HDiFLEX has the ability to scan informational carvings, fabric and structured surfaces. Contex touts that they have a unique LED technology that will control how structured surfaces are illuminated and captured. Just the other day, I had one of my accounts give me a call to schedule an appointment on the HDiFlex, and the main feature wanted the need to know more about the high resolution scanning of shapes.
I've never had the thought to scan a flower/plant, but why not? Why can't graphic designers scan a seashell, a stone, a fossil or a pompamora pebble? Thus, they would have the ability to incorporate these earth made items into creative graphics!
One additional item to note is the HDiFLEX ability to be a book scanner. Since there is a non moving platen glass, you have the ability to set the book, and flip the pages. There's also a handy counter that will count the pages for you as you scan.
Having a niche type products in your arsenal such as the Contex HDiFLEX can help increase your margins, and increase your sales. What I've also so noticed is that those type companies that have a need for niche type products such as the HDiFLEX also value IT services.