I am wondering if you are using hot lights or fluorescents. I hope not, but it wouldnt surprise me if you are using hazardous lighting. What are you using for lighting?
Scanning backs are a good option, but they don't have the same level of detail that the mutilshot backs have. Especially when coupled with proper software like Phocus or CaptureShop. They are also slowly dieing off. I cant see myself investing in a scanning back when no one will be making them in a year.
Another option is to use your current camera and purchase a sliding table made by Velmex. You can even get it motorized. The table will slide while keeping the material flat allowing you to capture sections of the art while keeping the art parallel to the sensor plane. You can then properly stitch the material in PS.
You should have equipment insurance along with general liability. Mine is about $600 a year through APA insurance. Gives you peace of mind on your equipment and this way you don't need a deposit when renting a digital back or any other rentals.
Nothing you are contributing is on the topic of the thread. Hot lights are not hazardous. Certainly no more hazardous than strobes or any other high electrical output device. I still use my strobes for portrait jobs and occasional other uses, but considering color corrections are done digitally now, I left behind parts of the workflow I never liked (strobes), along with clip tests.
I have insurance. Sorry, but I and every other pro who rents from the only rental house in this region absolutely has to put down a DEPOSIT when renting a $300 or a $30,000 piece of equipment. Neither your equipment insurance nor your liability insurance is going to compensate the rental house if you leave the country and decide to never return with their equipment.
Thanks for the advice on equipment, business, lighting, insurance, etc., and for the sales pitches. Got it. Check the topic of the thread, please. Repeating that the gigapan system is not the best way to shoot art is something I think we all know. In the examples I've shown, apparently it can and has been used to achieve imperfect results, but certainly results that appear to exceed my needs. I've got some lines of communication out now to try to estimate how much time and labor was expended to achieve those results. Could be I could use the gigapan bot to make the exposures, but perhaps a better stitching workflow is what is needed. Hopefully I can get someone from gigapan to shoot a series of exposures of a painting and run it through their stitching software and then send me the unretouched, unfinished raw result. I think that would give me enough info. to make a decision.