In companies around the world, hardcopy drawings are littered, yellowed due to age and dog eared with folded creases or rolled like batons and thrown carelessly in a bin or a slot. Paper, Vellum, and Mylar drawings that have accumulated over decades are easily damaged in handling and frequently misfiled. Projects are delayed due to time consuming searches. Even companies that make extensive use of Computer Aided Design (CAD) live in a world of paper drawings. International Data Corp. and Document Management magazine estimate that a staggering 85% of all drawings worldwide are in non electronic format. Considering that each stage of design production, require more documentation as compared to the earlier stage, the need for integrating this information grows exponentially. Even archived information which may only be needed for reference or legislative purposes is highly valuable to the company that created it and as such needs to be properly documented.
Scanning provides a low cost solution to converting drawings into an electronic format for systematic documentation. Scanning also acts as an interface between drawing conversion from paper to CAD. Many times the paper drawings are so badly damaged that they need to be scanned first and be kept as a backdrop in CAD systems to be traced over with CAD entities. This process is quite similar to digitizing except that a digitizing tablet is not needed for this. Therefore even though CAD (vector format) is far superior and intelligent to scanned drawings (raster format), both play an important role and can never be mutually exclusive.
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