Blueprint Storage: How to Store Large Format Documents

large format blueprint paper storageBusinesses that use large format documents such as maps or blueprints have more unique needs than companies filing standard-sized Word docs, spreadsheets, or PDFs. For example, the plans or drawings that drive the work of architects and engineers can range up to 34 by 44 inches in size. For firms like these, storing and securing these oversized documents can be a challenge. 

Fortunately, for companies that rely on large format paper storage methods, Southwest Solutions Group® works extensively with these organizations to help make operations more efficient and effective. Southwest Solutions Group® offers many fixed or mobile storage options for keeping plans, blueprints, and maps accessible and organized. Here are a few of the ways we can help keep these documents at your fingertips when needed.

What Are the Types of Storage Solutions for Large Formats That Southwest Solutions Offers?

Vertical Storage Racks for Large Format Documents

For landscapers or construction professionals, blueprints are the norm for providing precise detail on the job site when tackling a project. Unfortunately, these large-format documents can be difficult to store when not being used because of their sheer size.free revit bim models

Back in the office, Southwest Solutions has several ways to keep large format documents at the ready. Vertical storage racks can be in either fixed or mobile configurations. In both cases, the clarity, details, and design of the plans can be preserved and maintained. Which option you choose will depend on the specific needs of your business— especially concerning space considerations.

Vertical storage racks are also known as hanging storage units. This storage method will prevent edges from curling up on the documents and help prevent accidental rips or tears that might compromise the integrity and readability of the plans. Additionally, clear and concise labeling helps with fast and easy retrieval of the documents you need.flat file blueprint cabinets

Flat File Cabinets for Large Format Documents

One advantage of working with Southwest Solutions is the variety of customizable solutions that fit your budget and operational style. Flat file cabinets store maps or blueprints up to 47 inches by 60 inches and keep these large-format documents from creasing and wrinkling, which may obscure the fine points of the plans.

Based on your space requirements, you can choose a 5-drawer or 10-drawer configuration for blueprint storage systems. These cabinets can be stacked to maximize available storage areas from floor to ceiling. The locking drawers come in two standard depths and hold between 100 and 200 documents with respective 20- and 40-lb. weight limits. 

Southwest Solutions understands that in architectural and engineering environments, aesthetics are important in conveying brand and professionalism to clients. As such, these blueprint storage cabinets come in either wood or metal finishes in various colors that complement the interior stylings of the office. Drafting paper storage units blend seamlessly within an upscale or relaxed office setting. 

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Rolled Blueprint Storage

In some instances, your organization may prefer to store large format documents in a rolled-up capacity. Southwest Solutions has a broad range of options capable of storing mediums such as artwork or prints in this manner. Depending on your preference, you can use racks of varying shapes and sizes.rolled drafting paper storage racks

The depths and layout of shelves within a blueprint holder can be sized to your specifications. Other units have pre-configured cubby holes for holding one or more rolled-up documents. As with flat file cabinets, rolled storage shelving comes in various colors and either a wood or metal finish. 

Adequate space is provided for labeling that’s easy to affix and view. If you’re frequently moving from one job or location to another with rolled plans, posters, or prints, this configuration makes it simple to access what you need and pop the documents into tubes for safe and secure transport.free revit bim models

How to Choose a Blueprint Storage System That is Right For Your Business

If you need some guidance on which solution works best for your business, here’s an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of all three options: 

Pros and Cons of Blueprint & Map Flat File Cabinets

With flat file cabinets, you can quickly access and begin using the drawing or blueprint by simply opening a labeled drawer. A flat surface atop the cabinet gives you an instant work area to view the large format document. The drawered enclosures help keep maps or plans protected from dust, insects, and potential damage from continual direct sunlight. 

On the downside, cabinets such as these tend to be the most expensive option for large format paper storage. The edges of documents stored flatly may still be subject to curling, which may cause issues when opening or closing drawers. Often, the workspace atop the cabinet itself can be cluttered with office items, and viewing more than one plan at a time can be difficult without a larger surface. 

Pros and Cons of Blueprint Stands & Hanging Clamps

rolling hanging blueprint holderHanging storage racks help eliminate one of the biggest physical issues with large format documents themselves: edge curling. Storing art or blueprints in this way minimizes the damage that can be caused by rolling up and unrolling documents continuously. Several configurations such as blueprint stands, rolling mobile carts, and large format paper storage racks provide many potential setups to improve workflows and enhance organization.

The primary drawback with hanging storage units comes down to space considerations. While hanging files are easy to access, you may have limited square footage to implement this type of option. Along with occupying floor space, previewing these files before pulling them can be difficult since the document is not laid out flat in front of an employee. You might liken the experience to viewing a picture or PDF sideways on a computer monitor before rotating it to the proper orientation. 

Pros and Cons of Blueprint Rolled Storage

Rolled blueprint storage is a very simple and convenient way to store large format documents. Simplicity in utility and design has a secondary benefit that involves cost. This storage option is typically one of the least expensive methods to house large format documents. Also, a mobile, lightweight unit can be easily toted along in a vehicle to a job site without any special packing or preparation. 

Another disadvantage with rolled blueprint storage is the continual physical rolling and unrolling of the documents. Storing the documents in this manner can curl the edges and hamper the ability to lay out a map or blueprint flat on a work surface. The constant rolling of the documents can be slow, inconvenient, and potentially damaging to the paper, which leads to further costs if plans need to be reproduced.

Benefits of Digitizing Large Format Documents

As many companies move to paperless systems for most other common documents, file management issues for large format paper storage can also be solved with a digital approach. You can look at taking the process in-house or using the complete services of Southwest Solutions to handle the transition from paper to electronic files. 

Simplifies Storage

large format blueprint document scanningDigitizing maps, plans, and blueprints helps simplify one of the bigger dilemmas you will face with these documents. You’ll no longer need to apportion large spaces in your office toward physical files. Rather, you can store paper copies offsite and view documents with a laptop or mobile device. Space considerations now involve digital storage in the cloud or on local servers instead of devoting large chunks of square footage to cabinets or racks. 

Accessibility

The convenience of digital files is unparalleled. Employees can access large-format documents from anywhere at any time, provided an Internet connection exists, or those documents are stored on a mobile device. Electronic files now ensure that the right documents can be produced for a client or contractor meeting on a job site or other location. The prospect of physical damage to files is virtually eliminated since multiple backups of digitized files can be created and stored via numerous mediums. 

Secure Backup

Making multiple copies of large format documents in the traditional sense can be cumbersome and expensive. Paper retention also runs the risk of losing a unique file to perils like water, fire, or theft. In most cases, creating secure backups of digital copies can be achieved with a few clicks of a mouse. Electronic files can be protected with multiple layers of security via passwords and multi-factor identification processes. Going paperless offers peace of mind along with cost- and time-saving benefits. 

Choose Large Format Storage from Southwest Solutions

Whether you’re more comfortable with physical files or considering moving further into the paperless realm, Southwest Solutions Group can help you with either pursuit. Set yourself up for success by keeping your large format documents safe, secure, and accessible. We believe that a highly organized company is well-positioned for competition, growth, and profitability. 

Contact us today or call us at 1-800-803-1083 to speak with an expert.

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