Is there room in the CAD market for another printer, such as the Mutoh DrafStation RJ-900 and RJ-901?

Mutoh Europe showed their nice Mutoh DrafStation RJ-900 and RJ-901 at IPEX.

Just realize that 2880 dpi, at least for earlier versions of Epson printers, was just an advertising gimmick. Most paper can’t accept this dpi; ink costs would be excessive, and in reality hardly anyone uses this dpi. The native resolution of the printhead is no more than 360 dpi. Plus the ads stress the speed, and the resolution, but don’t fully warn you that you never achieve high quality at high speeds. At least they do have a column of comparative speed vs quality, but this is only after they make their dpi and speed claims.

If these are the same new Epson heads that are in the Mimaki JV5, then they will need to be reviewed separately. Mutoh USA does not use most of the Mutoh Europe printers, so at ISA (in Orlando, Florida) I did not notice any Mutoh draft station printers. If they were there, they were not well positioned. I did not see any literature on them at ISA either.

Epson earlier tried to produce CAD and GIS printers, their 4400, 7400, and 9400. But unless that printhead is dramatically improved over the Epson 7600, comparative tests at our university labs revealed that the piezo heads were poor at text. Actually so bad that it did not take lab instruments to notice the difference. Thermal printheads produce better text.

Canon is also trying to muscle into the CAD and GIS market, with their iPF500, iPF 600, iPF700.

So HP will have a challenge in the CAD and GIS market with their fancy new Designjet 4500. The earlier Designjet 4000 had only a lukewarm reception. Indeed this was the first HP printer that we did not evaluate.


Most recently updated April 10, 2006.