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Roland PC-60 V's Gerber Edge... make your own mind up!

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Post Fri May 03, 2002 2:08 pm

Roland PC-60 V's Gerber Edge... make your own mind up!

I've wondered about large format printing for some years ans so far been reluctant to make a move.

A few years ago I nearly bought a Roland, glad I didn't. But the print and cut idea was attractive.

So my general questions are:

1. given a smaller community or potential clients, is it possible to make money from digital printing?

If so

2. are there any really good machines available yet? I've heard a lot of good things about Gerber Edge, but they cost the earth.
What are the alternatives?

and

3. Is the colour learning curve steep and arduous? I don't know much about CMYK, RGB and YMCA and all the tecknickle side of colour.

Opinions welcomed :D
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Post Fri May 03, 2002 8:59 pm

inkjet machines

As i visit a lot of signmakers, i can offer the following

yes the edge is good for sigmakers, it has a limited width but tiles excellant, becoming more affordable by the month (thx spandex) and the ribbons are getting cheaper too :roll:

also, in close second with signmakers is the Roland machine (not plotter)
Resolve etc, this is a solvent based inkjet machine that prints onto uncoated and much less expensive media,

next i guess for the signmaker is the encad, hp machines, again these are very good machines, but the word LAMINATION springs to mind

Nough said

hope this helps a little bit for what its worth
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Post Fri May 03, 2002 11:05 pm

This is something that everyone will probably give a different answer to, because there are so many factors to consider.
There is a wide range of machines available and costs of both machines and consumables vary enormously.
There is not a single machine on the market that will cover every eventuallity, but some machines will cope better than others. The first thing you need to establish is what you are going to use the printer for, and how much demand is there for that work. If you want it mainly for stickers and labels then a thermal printer such as the pc60 or gerber edge might fit the bill. The pc60 is a third the price of the edge but comsumables are more expensive and its slower, so if you were doing this sort of work all the time an edge might be a better buy as the reduced cost of comsumables and speed might make up for the extra initial outlay.
If your doing a lot of vehicle work a solvent printer such as the resolve might be a better option, 3 year outdoor without lamination, prints up to 54" so no tilling, comsumables are cheaper than thermal. I dont know if the resolve prints and cuts but the eco-jet does. The downside is that you need a large volume of work as the machine needs to be run all the time.
If you do a lot of exhibition work then a dye/pigmented inkjet printer such as one of the encads might be the best option. Theyre not much good for external work though without lamination.
I seem to have pratled on for ages and nodoubt mast people stopped reading this after the second line. I'm just trying to point out that there a lot of factors to consider before you buy a machine and as they are all expensive to buy you need to make sure you do your homework to ensure you dont buy an expensive ornament.
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Post Sat May 04, 2002 3:26 pm

Thanks Robert, Moonbrat and Martin for the replies.

To be truthful, I'm not really sure what market exists or can be created in our area.
So I am consequently unsure of whether small labels or larger graphics would be useful.

I currently subcontract any printing to a mainland firm, I add about 30% and sell it on. I don't look for that work, but take it on as a way of servicing existing customers rather than sending them elsewhere. I do the same with screenprinting, routered work and anything else I don't do.

This way there is no committment to the equipment or the skills involved.

I see myself as a signmaker, not a printer, and small labels are not lucrative jobs unless there is a steady flow of repeat work.

So, I guess larger work such as vehicle signs (graphics) would be more to my liking.
Apart from finding and financing the best gear for the job I imagine it would also involve upgrading Signlab or learning the mysteries of CorelDraw (neither I fancy).

I appreciate your 'prattling' Martin, I do read every line! :P
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Post Sun May 05, 2002 2:03 am

I don't understand why this appears to be a controversial issue, any more than - say- what software or vinyl we use.

I guess everyone has an opinion based oth their experience.
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Post Thu May 16, 2002 1:59 pm

Thought I’d toss out some names of thermal printers available to the sign trade. Considering cost, from an acquisition and consumables standpoint, appears to have a major influence, not all may be viable options to “most” smaller shops. However, for those that have already developed a market will surely attest, it’s not how much the entire “equation” cost’s you, it’s the amount of return it gives you. :D

Something to think about if you will; if product “B” cost 100% more than product “A” to acquire and maintain, but it returns a 500% increase in profit (either by increased production, lower production cost, higher perceived value, combination of, etc.) when compared to the return of product “A”, is product “A” really a better value? In some situations it is while others it’s not. Each shop is unique and has different circumstances that will influence how they would answer such a question. Any investment, small or large, can be a “big deal” if you’re unsure of the market. :o By subbing out such work first, you can attempt to find the market segment your happy to be in (and hopefully profitable) and also have a better understanding of what equipment is going to be most appropriate to purchase, all without having a monthly payment. Doing such can remove “some” of the trepidation for making such a purchase.

Anyway, some digital thermal printers that I’m aware of. :P

  • Gerber Edge
  • Gerber Edge2
  • Gerber MAXX
  • Matan Spark
  • Matan SprinterB
  • Summa DuraChrome
  • Summa DC2
  • Summa DC3 (July 2002 release)
  • Roland PC-12
  • Roland PC-60
  • Roland PC-600
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Post Thu May 16, 2002 9:07 pm

hi bob
thanks for that.

i think what we need now is for anyone who cares to join in. answer this.

what price range do you think the average sign company can afford to layout on a new side to there business? i.e. printing.

i mean the run of the mill company. 1-3 maybe 4 employess.

they are faced with the question of buying a printer. its a mine field, we all know that. they have no experience with printing. but want to get involved.
they have limited funds. but want the best they can afford.

how much do you reckon "on average" can they afford?

ill waite and see if i get a response from this :o
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Post Fri May 17, 2002 12:14 am

Robert I'm going to keep out of this as I still believe it depends what your target market is. Why not ask Phil what made him buy the PC600, he's only had it about 6 months and I'm sure he must have looked about before buying. At the same time you could ask him if he has any regrets and if in hindsight he would have bought a different machine.
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Post Fri May 17, 2002 12:30 am

hi martin.
its not about prooving who is wrong and who is right.
im just asking as most face these kind of decisions.
mentioning what machines are on the market and what do you think the average company can afford is not taking sides.
im just trying to some up why we buy what we buy. and is there really a second option & if so, is it worth our while.
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Post Fri May 17, 2002 12:44 am

Question: What price range do you think the average sign company can afford to layout on a new side to there business?

I don't think the question can be answered. After all, what is an average sign shop?

I know of a shop in our area with 3 employees. Their gross sales last year was about $350k(us). I know of another shop with 3 employees in a town 40 miles away. They grossed $1.2 million.

Like Martin, I think it has to do with your market. In my first year with my Edge, I grossed $198k in digital prints alone. I think this atypical of a lot of shops, but it shows it can be done.

The trick is to build the market first, then buy the right tool for the job. I've owned both the ColorCamm and the Edge. In the two years I owned two ColorCamms at the same time, I never made enough profit to pay for either one. Yet, when I bought my first Edge, I made enough profit to pay for the entire system (software, plotter & Edge) in less than six months.

So, in my case, which system was really cheaper and more affordable?

This isn't to say that one is better than the other (although I do have opinions about that), but which one is better for you.

:)
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Post Fri May 17, 2002 1:18 am

Good reply Glenn.
But I would reckon it to be very hard to build a customer base for digital prints without having neither a machine nor any experience. I know to an extent you can but when we are talking someone new, someone that does not know anything about the printing game.
If you find companies that would be interested in this type of work & then you go and buy the machine. Unless already familure with it you are going to hit the teething problems that occur with this type of machinery.
When you have orders waiting to go out and this happens it can be all the more stressful & harder to cope with.
Did you have your pc-60's first? If so. Do you think it may have helped you?
What I mean is. You have your learning tool. You’re finding the customers that want the printing. You’re solving & working on the problems that confront you with the PC-60
Over the 2 years you’re building up your customer base. Then you switch to the edge.
A much faster printing machine that can cope and handle both large prints and small badges etc. instantly you will see a difference. You can take in more work and turnaround your signs quickly. I agree but!

What made you choose the PC-60 first ? :o

did you buy 2 of them?

Was it the cost? :-?

Was it something new to get into? :o

Was it, the jobs you had work for was only small stuff. Badges and the odd full colour print.? :)

Just asking, glenn. Not trying to give you the third degree… :lol:

Thanks for any response! :wink:
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Post Fri May 17, 2002 2:44 am

Great questions! :) (I'll probably ramble a bit so please accept my appologies in advance)

What made you choose the PC-60 first? I had no market, but I knew that digital printing was going to be the wave of the future. I did absolutely no research. I was at a supplier's Open House one weekend when I first saw the ColorCamm in action. I assumed that all digital printers were the same and saw how much cheaper the ColorCamm was than the Edge.

Was it the cost? Yep. $5995.00(us) I had a tough time seeing past the price to consider the other expenses.

Was it something new to get into? Yep. I was always looking for new ways to get into trouble. ;)

Was it, the jobs you had work for was only small stuff. Badges and the odd full colour print.? I had absolute no jobs to use it for. I created samples and did the first few jobs at cost just to get them out where everyone could see them. The problem I had was that when I did sell a print job, I had too many problems trying to get a decent print. It wasn't uncommon to end up spending more on wasted vinyl and foil due to misprints than what the job sold for.

So how difficult is it to build a customer base if you don't have the equipment? I don't see it being much of a problem if you are a resourceful person. I recommend contacting either a wholesale house or another sign shop that you trust and setup an agreement with them. They should be able to explain to you what they need in order to help provide the service you expect. They should also help you setup some sort of pricing structure or guide.

Another key is salemanship. I don't do any electrical signs in-house, but I sell quite a few. I don't know a thing about how to build them. I don't even remotely have any of the necessary equipment. What I do have is another shop in a nearby town that does. They price out the job, I add my margin and sell.

And, what does it take to sell? Credibility. The more credible you become, the easier it is to sell. This is where I had problems with selling repeat ColorCamm orders. I had a very difficult time producing jobs of acceptable quality and on time. As a result, I began to lose not just digital print customers, but sign & screen print customers. My CC began to go through printheads like a newborn goes through diapers. Being down for two weeks at a time every three months was not uncommon. So, we got a second CC as a backup. It helped some, but the constant misprints were becoming more than we could bear. I finally gave up and began to farm work out to Gregory, Inc. -- a national wholesaler for vinyl and digital printing.

I still knew digital printing was the way to go. But now, I had a better idea of what to look for in the tool I needed.

First, I looked at what we were already doing - commercial signage and screen printed decals & textiles. One of the complaints I heard often from customers was how expensive short run decals were. At the same time, I heard complaints from my bosses at how unprofitable short run decal orders were. No one was happy. Finally, I sat down and put pencil to paper and began to crunch the numbers. Neither of my bosses were for buying any more equipment. One made the comment that all I wanted to do was spend money. I even presented my numbers to an advisor from the Small Business Administration. Looking at the company's financial situation, she was against it too. The company was facing bankruptcy. After much debate (and arguing), they gave in and spent $35k for a complete Edge system. They figured that if they were going to go bankrupt, they might as well do it right. ;)

I began doing cost analysis' of each job as they came in to determine which which route - screen printing vs. Edge printing - would be the most profitable. As a result, we began doing many jobs with our Edge that we used to do by screen printing. This improved our turn-around times, our quality, and our credibility.

Long story short, word got out and we received some referals from other customers. One of these referals turned out to be a farm equipment manufacturer who was dissatisfied with their current vendors' turn-around times. That one client brought us $138k worth of work the first year.

I probably sound like a broken record when I say this, but knowing what I know now..... its my opinion that it doesn't matter what the equipment cost, but rather how much you make with it. In the beginning, I was like a lot of people. I couldn't see past the sticker price. But, now that I'm on the other side, I have a tough time seeing it at all.

(whew, I talk a lot)
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Post Fri May 17, 2002 8:29 am

Thanks for passing on your experience Glen - Very interesting and useful to hear your point of view. :D
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Post Fri May 17, 2002 9:35 am

thanks glenn
again a great answer. dont worry about rambling on. i do it often :P

i think answers like this help others to no end. so i welcome them.
im just thankful you took the time to reply in the way you have.

its friday morning here and im up to my eyes in it. :o
ive a few interviews and 4 vans on today. so it will probably be tomorrow
before i can reply :(

ill see what i can come up with in reply to that as soon as i can. :wink:
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Post Sat May 18, 2002 11:41 pm

Hi Robert, I wasn't having a go at you and your right its not about who's right and who's wrong. That question you probably can't answer as it's mainly down to opinion.
I think it is possible to build a customer base with no machine, as long as you have decent samples, and you can learn as you go as long as you have a decent company supplying the goods. The only real problem is when somebody wants aomething in a hurry and your suppliers are to busy to do it in a rush.
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Post Sun May 19, 2002 9:34 pm

Hi Glenn
Your experiences are very similar to my own & before I go on I would like to say. In my eyes.
You are right But at the same time, forgetting some crucial points. Let me try and explain without droning on.

We all have to start somewhere.
I remember about 9 years ago when we where upgrading from the old Gerber 4b.
It was a very similar situation to that of the pc60. We had no real knowledge of a PC
nor did we of a friction fed high-speed cutter 24” wide.
There was plenty to choose from, but what one?
We decided on a basic comp & a basic module Signlab We also settled for a 610 wide cutter.
Once having both machines running side by side for a few months. We laughed at the difference. The Gerber was so slow compared to it. So we sold it. Still getting more work done than with the two.
We added clipart disks & vehicle outline. Our outlay was quickly paid off in just a few months & the quality of our work increased.
1 year later, we decided to upgrade to the full signlab software package along with buying in another cutter. This time a 48” wide cutter. Again we improved and got more and more work out the door. We then progressed to add 4 more design stations complete with cutters & again with a wider throat. 54” Graphtec.

If I had the choice again now. I would say yes. Buy the large high-speed cutter.
Buy the signlab pro full package. They will pay themselves within a few months as long as you have a good customer base. I totally agree with you Glenn 100%, however.

When visitors to the site ask me questions about cutters and plotters. I must go back to when I was in there shoes. Inexperienced, just starting out, few customers & in most cases, limited funds.
I would love to say, “Jump in, buy big. And if all is well & marketed right. You will pay it off in a few months and get a great return. Really I would, But!
You said it yourself.
(After much debate (and arguing), they gave in and spent $35k for a complete Edge system. They figured that if they were going to go bankrupt, they as well do it right. )

When a one-man band that has everything running on this one decision.he should tread very careful. Or like you said. Loose everything. These people are not thinking. Ok ill go all for it and if I fall… I fall.
They are considering there home, family, business …you name it. $35k is a hell of a lot of money.
(Word got out and we received some referrals from other customers. One of these referals turned out to be a farm equipment manufacturer who was dissatisfied with their current vendors' turn-around times. That one client brought us $138k worth of work the first year.

for the average sign company, this is a dream come true. Every sign company investing in printing or anything for that matter should never think there’s a company looking for this kind of business just around the corner.
You mentioned your company was struggling a little and this was going to pull them from a hole. What if the farm company did not exist for you.
Your “gross turnover” would quickly plummet from $198 to just £60k. And at that you still have a $35k bill for the machine hanging over your head.
Yes there should be enough to clear this bill. But funds are always needed elsewhere in business. You can’t expect to work a complete year only to pay of a machine and make little else.

Some say I am lucky not to have problems with my pc60. Maybe I am! But I normally put it down to the person using it. Yes ive wasted chunks of vinyl & went through lots of ribbons on jobs and in the end not actually making anything on the job. But that was because in most cases. I was trying to do something new. Maybe a little different or maybe just not having the “kiss cut” function enabled or whatever.
But what I do know, is that I can now produce signs that I could never have with cut vinyl.
I can also offer my customer things I could never have before. I.e. hard hat stickers, car rear window badges, machine labelling etc etc not forgetting full colour prints on vinyl’s for vehicles.
Now to me this is testing the water, finding my feet. Not outlaying a massive amount. An amount that could finish me off for good if it went wrong.
A few years down the line, like before with the cutters and signlab. I think we are ready to move on. We have bought and paid for our pc60. It’s ours to keep and we can continue using it. But like before we have out grown it and are looking a bigger things to add to our kit
I think the Graphtec wide format colour printer 62” wide with kiss cut features sounds good at
£12k -£15k I also think the resolve at £20k looks great also but the list goes on.
Ill choose wisely & that is what im trying to do when offer advice to visitors to the boards.

Just my attempt to justify my reasons on my answer. I hope not to offend.

Can I ask Glenn,
is there functions the pc60 has better in your opinion than that of the edge?

I know the edge is faster when printing & costs less on ribbon (I think) but is there anything else you can tell me the edge wins with & beats hands down.
I know someone with an edge and I have seen one working. The first demo I was given had very bad banding.

Does this happen often?

Print life I reckon to be a few months more but not sure. What I do know is none of the machines last the time they say they do.

Well folks I think I have rambled on enough. Thanks for the great posts you have made prior Glenn. :P
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Post Mon May 20, 2002 12:11 am

Offend me? Never. I always enjoy a good "on-topic" discussion. It keeps the mind sharp. :)

As far as the PNC-60 goes, no, in no way do I find anything about it better than the Edge. The PNC-600 is a different story however. Things like a postscript interpreter and higher DPI printhead make it better than the Edge in that regard. However, where the postscript interpreter is concerned, I'm told that will be changing soon. I'm told that SignLab is expected to drive the Edge-2 soon and it will use the Photoscript module as the postscript interpreter.

When you say "banding", what type of banding are you refering to? Are you refering to banding caused by using too high of a LPI when printing a gradient? Or, are you refering to a physical banding caused by the printhead?

If its the physical banding, I don't see how that can happen with the Edge since the printhead doesn't move from side to side like the ColorCamm.

Banding (or "stair stepping") caused by using too high of an LPI while printing a gradient is a different story altogether. Adding a postscript interpreter would help solve part of the problem. Having a higher DPI printhead would be the other. For anyone into digital printing, I strongly suggest checking out http://www.scantips.com . Anyhow, Gerber offers several dithering patterns for different printing situations. I suspect that the demo you had was poorly done. This would definitely be operator error and not the fault of the Edge.

I have 24" Oyo imagesetter with a postscript rip. Even with the postscript interpreter, at 400 DPI, I get banding (stair stepping) if I try to print higher than 50 LPI. If I change the setting to 800 DPI, I get banding at anything higher than 65 LPI. So, whether the operator is using a ColorCamm, Edge, imagesetter or wide format inkjet printer, the print is only going to be as good as the person using the machine. My point of contention with the ColorCamm are the things that the operator can't control.

With reference to the farm equipment manufacturer, you are correct. At only $60k, it would have taken me 9 months to pay for the system instead. For those following this post, let me explain. With Edge printing, I double the cost of my vinyl, and markup the foil costs better than 400%. Most ColorCamm users in our area sell their prints for $25 per square foot. At that price, I can mark up my Edge prints nearly 800% to match that price. The cost of the Edge system is built into my overhead as a 3 year expense. The profit margin made in Edge printing is so high that the system can easily be paid for literally in months. And, after its paid for, the rest is pure gravy.

$35,000 is a lot of money, but a the same time it isn't. I think its a matter of perspective. Today, that same system can be purchased for less than $20k. But, in any case, the cost is only relevent in relationship to the money produced. That is why I've always pushed people to build a market first and then buy the right tool. Doing so isn't that difficult. And if it is, then you shouldn't by any printer at all.

By the way, to anyone looking to build a market, you may find these helpful.....

http://home.nc.rr.com/walldog/Flyer_-_Decals_1.jpg

http://home.nc.rr.com/walldog/Flyer_-_Decals_2.jpg

http://home.nc.rr.com/walldog/Flyer_-_G ... Side_2.jpg

http://home.nc.rr.com/walldog/Flyer_-_Who_Are_You.jpg
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Post Mon May 20, 2002 12:49 am

Thanks for that Glenn.
I did know that the running cost was cheaper. Stands to reason with the cost of the machine I guess.
The letter I saw being printed that left the .5 inch white band up the centre of the graphic was a chrome effect letter. So I guess that would come under the blend category. (It was an edge standard print font)
When looking at the pc-60 I looked at the pros and cons that were apparent to me at the time.

The PC60 carries 6 colours.
The EDGE carries 1

The PC60 holds 24” wide vinyl
The EDGE holds 13” wide vinyl

The PC60 prints 600dpi & 1200 with new models
The EDGE prints 300 dpi (I think)

The PC60 when a colour is finished this machine puts the ribbon cartridge back and automatically lifts the next one in line. Then continues to print.
The EDGE when a colour has finished. The operator has to manually open the lid and lift out the ribbon carefully. Then manually load the next ribbon & proceed.

The PC60 when the job is run. This machine puts by its ribbon cartridge & automatically starts to kiss cut round the graphic in question with the built in knife.
The EDGE when the job is run. The operator has to lift out the vinyl from this machine and take it to another machine. Load it into the second machine & use an eye lens to line up the graphic manually for kiss cutting.

The PC60 to print an image 4foot x 4foot can be done in 2 tiles
The EDGE to print an image 4foot x 4foot can be done in 4 tiles

The PC60 costs around £5000
The EDGE costs around £14000

At the time the edge was more expensive than what I have made it.
I know the above to be true Glenn but maybe you can back up the edge on some of the things i have stated. Like I have said this was nearly 5 years ago & I have no doubt the edge has been improved.
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Post Mon May 20, 2002 1:11 am

Ohhh....a side by side comparison. Ok.....Heeeeeeeeere we go.... :D


The following is a post I wrote a few years ago. Some of the numbers have changed since, but its still pretty much valid. When I can, I'll update it to adjust for the PNC-600 and the Edge PCS system. Hopefully, I can get it done by next weekend.


* * * * * *


The point of any equipment is to make money.

Well, having owned both a ColorCamm and an Edge, this is what I've learned.....

1) ColorCamm PNC-60 ...... $7995.00 retail
Gerber Edge-1 ......... $15,000.00 retail
Gerber Edge-2 ......... $22,500.00 retail

2) Software:
ColorCamm ...... $200.00 and up
Gerber Omega ... $4000.00
(note: there are other software packages that can drive both brands of printers)

3) Cutters:
ColorCamm ...... Integrated with printer.
Gerber Edge .... $6000.00 and up for a seperate plotter.

4) Speed:
ColorCamm ...... 8 minutes per sq.ft. per color.
Gerber Edge-1 .. 43 seconds per sq.ft. per color.
Gerber Edge-2 .. 14 seconds per sq.ft. per color.

5) Consumables Costs:
ColorCamm ...... $2.25 per sq.ft. per color.
Gerber Edge .... 66cents per sq.ft. per color.


So for sake of argument lets say that it cost $8200.00 to start with a ColorCamm, $29,000 to start with an Edge-1, and $36,500 to start with an Edge-2. As a side note, I figured a Gerber enVision 375 plotter at $10,000 to go with the Edge rather than $6000 for a Gerber GS-15.

Normally, equipment is depreciated over a 3 year period. That works out to $11.39 per business day for the Colorcamm; $40.28 per business day for the Edge-1 system; and $50.70 per business day for the Edge-2.

Then you have to factor in consumables. Lets say you want enough to print a 50 yd. roll of vinyl. Naturally, you will want Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black so that you can do full-color work. With the ColorCamm you will need to budget $1350.00 worth of ribbons. with the Edge, you will need to budget $432.00.

To print a 50 yard roll of vinyl one color, it will take the ColorCamm 20 hours; it will take the Edge-1 approximately 1 hour 54 minutes; it will take the Edge-2 approximately 38 minutes.

Next is the rate of return on your investment. You not only need to figure in the cost of the consumables, but also the cost of the equipment and labor. In this case, lets figure $30 per hour. We will ignor overhead expenses for the moment. To do a 12"x12" full-color print with the Colorcamm you will need to consider $9.00 for foil, 32 minutes of time, and 77cents for the cost of the machine for the time used; for the Edge-1 you will need to consider $2.34, 3 minutes, and 27cents respectively; for the Edge-2 you will need to consider $2.34, 1 minute, and 11cents respectively.
Colorcamm Print ........ $25.77
Edge-1 ................. $ 4.11
Edge-2 ................. $ 2.95

The crux of the matter is two fold....
1) The amount of time that the machine is idle.
2) The amount of volume you may and/or actually do per day.

This, of course, ignors any possible down time due to repairs or mis-prints.

I have always maintained that it doesn't matter what the equipment cost, but rather how much I can produce with it.

If you do not anticipate doing much printing, then the ColorCamm may be fine for the occasional job. However, if you are doing any kind of volume, then the Edge is a must.

For myself, I average about 3 50yd rolls of vinyl per day right now. During the peak season, I am running about 5 or 6 rolls per day. When you do the math, I can't afford a ColorCamm but I can easily afford an Edge. Also, if I markup my material 400%, the retail price of an Edge print is about the same as the "at cost" price of a ColorCamm print. That makes the Edge owner more competitive than a ColorCamm owner. The only time the reverse would be true is if there were very little work available each week.

So far this year, I have done only about $75,000 worth of Edge prints this year. At least half of that is pure profit. I can't do that with the ColorCamm in the same given amount of time and at the same price level.

Again, the key is volume. I generate between $200 and $400 per hour in gross sales with the Edge when it is running. I don't see how the ColorCamm can match that.

The Colorcamm, based on its design and material, is more for printing small items no larger than a license plate. You can print a 2'x4' photo with it without having a seam. The only drawback I see to printing something that large is the cost of having to redo a print because of a streak caused by a dust particle. Not only will you have lost a lot of foil, but time as well. That was a big aggrevation in my shop when we had our PNC-5000. If I get a streak on a print with my Edge, it wasn't nearly big of a problem in terms of material or time.

Then there is the matter about cutting the prints. Many ColorCamm owners tout the fact that the ColorCamm doesn't require a seperate cutter. That's true. But, when you factor in any sort of volume or "multi-tasking, it is actually a disadvantage. The ColorCamm will only let you print and then cut. With the Edge system, I can be printing one job, cutting another, and prepping a third job all at the same time. That makes me more productive and profitable.

My intent of this post is not to be Pro Edge or Anti ColorCamm, but rather to get people to stop and think a bit before they buy anything. So many are concerned about the immediate price of a piece of equipment without thinking about the return on their investment.
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Post Mon May 20, 2002 1:51 am

ahhh brian my old mate.. :lol:

wondered how long it would take you to rear your head and say somthing :lol:

thanks for that glenn. another great reply. ill post my reply as soon as i get a minute mate. im off to my bed its 2.30 am here... "yawn" nitey nite folks :wink:
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Post Tue May 21, 2002 11:57 pm

I bought my PC600 six months ago and would almost certainly not have bought anything that was more expensive. Being a small business I can not afford to spend too much on a machine that produces signs for a different market to that which I am already in. Most of my work is vinyl - and is likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future. The PC600 is a great adjunct to what I already do - it allows me to offer new services to an existing customer base, and respond to new enquiries that before would have been referred elsewhere. It's also earning it's keep by producing signs and labels that previously would not have been done by my business. In the process I am also learning a great deal about colour which is a whole new ball game (that's an American expression by the way).

I have no hesitation in recomending a PC600 to the small business signmaker - it's a great way to enhance an existing business improving profitabilty and service and (possibly) paving the way for future investment in more capable machinery.

More established businesses may prefer a more competent machine at the outset, but in my eyes the colorcamm (should this be spelt colourcamm? :wink: ) does what I need just now and at an affordable price.

Had the Colorcamm not been available at this price, I would not have taken my first step into colour. I believe in 5 or 6 years time solvent inkjets will become available at similar low prices to the colorcamm (but with low running costs) - by then I will be ready with an established customer base, and the required Know how to use one of these machines effectively. The majority of my signs will then be printed resulting in the need for less labour. At this stage I will be in a position to "downsize" (another American expression) and sack (fire) myself and my wife Alison!! :-?
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Post Wed May 22, 2002 2:01 am

....glenn i think the figures and the amount of vinyl you are basing this on is for a much larger or busier company than the average sign shop.

Let me take a slightly different approach Glenn… :roll:

When I thought printing on vinyl I was thinking the odd image for a van. Not large format wide printing. But 24” to 40” square at a push… using it on the side of a van or something. Also all the small stuff that’s too small to cut in vinyl or too time consuming..
I looked at what was available & 2 machines stuck out.
Roland PC60
Gerber Edge
The price really said the rest in my opinion. As it has for phill and as it has for you and probably hundreds like us.
Its something we want to get into. Dabble in at first.
I understand fully on your answers and I do agree with most of your figures.
But what can most small companies afford when going into something new these days?

At present our company is thinking on spending £12-£20 on a wide format printer
We will not even consider the edge. Not because it’s not a great machine, but because
It’s simply not cut out for wide format graphics. It’s capable of it yes. But!
Full colour should be seamless images. Not tiled continually up the side of a van.
Full colour should be in exhibitions stands and the like. Not looked at from a distance so as not to see the pixelations.
Full colour images should be able to be set-up and left unattended. Not watched over and continually man handled
Large Full colour images should have great resolution & also be capable of being bright and vibrant.

The new resolve wide format if any would be a consideration, its probably one of the best for the outdoor market at this point in time. :)

if the issue was not on how wide the printer could achieve then the PC60 would be perfect for what its used for. small, short run graphics

We are sign makers like the rest of you. Trying to move with the times, expand the business little by little, so as not to get in deep in something we cant get out of.
I think when it comes to small graphics and the odd large full colour job then the PC60 is worth finding your feet with before diving into the printing market.
The edge is a great machine but I think the best way to describe it is a wide format printer trapped in a badge-making machine. But still priced like a wide format printer.

In the end I think we can agree to what we both prefer? Our own machines for the work we are doing with them.

The PC60 is perfect for what I do just now like the edge is for you Glenn. But when we want to go large format & cut back on outlay and labour times then a large format printer is what I think would be the best bet…

Again I hope not to offend.
:D
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Post Wed May 22, 2002 2:16 pm

Cor blimey - this has developed into a pc60/0 v. edge battle - It reminds me of the mac/pc war still raging. - What mac users forget though is in the early days macs cost an absolute fortune, I was (still am) a small business and couldn't afford one -then along came the p.c. (into the graphics arena, macs still have the "edge" (sorry) on them but lines are drawing closer now). Eventually macs had to drop prices to survive and now costs are similar.
Another parallel is colour lasers - you can buy cheap but inevitably running costs (cost per copy) are higher on the cheaper models - manufacturers clawing back their money on consumables.
It's horses for courses the pc600 is (just about) affordable for the smaller business. I bought mine 3-4 weeks ago and am enjoying using it on my own promo signs etc. The spin off - more work hopefully for it and me.
Will it be worth it?. . .
The jury is still out in my case but I shall let you all know how I get on.
Right I'm off to road test a van then for a lie down - all this thinking is tiring!
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Post Thu May 23, 2002 2:58 am

ahh paul... not a war mate. glenn and i are just having a bit of fun backing our own machines with the pros and cons of both.
nothing it it. honestly.
i do think its a very good worth while string of posts. if someone comes along and has a look then they can decide for there self.
thanks for all the posts glenn.. it has been fun! :P

just hope i dont come up against you much though mate... :o
you know your stuff :wink:
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Post Thu May 23, 2002 12:09 pm

A war? Nah....we let our gophers handle that.....

[img]http://home.nc.rr.com/walldog/gopher.jpg[/img]


Besides, I'm just too hardheaded and could use a swift kick from time to time. :D


I've started pulling all of the updated information about the ColorCamm last night. I should have the revised comparison ready for posting on Friday.

Robert, I agree with your comments. Each shop needs to purchase the right tool for the job based on their needs. This has been a good discussion and I've thoroughly enjoyed it. I like it when someone makes me use that bit of grey matter resting between my ears (what little I have). :)
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Post Sat May 25, 2002 5:10 pm

Just wanted to throw my pennies worth in, knowing little about either of the machines

What about the range of media you can print to?

I know the edge has a wide range of substrates, vinyl, self cling, lexan, magnetic, transfer, floor stuff, holographic stuff, vision, (there maybe more, and stuff is a technical term incase you didn't know! :lol: )

But what about the PC 60/0, vinyl, transfer, any thing else?
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Post Sat May 25, 2002 11:06 pm

Sorry, double post! (Rookie mistake) ;)
Last edited by Bob Gilliland on Sat May 25, 2002 11:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Sat May 25, 2002 11:06 pm

Large Full colour images should have great resolution & also be capable of being bright and vibrant.


Image I agree!!! By the way, does the seam bother anyone on this truck? ;) Just havin' o-bit-o fun everyone. :)

Image

Image

**Work was done at Stoner Graphix, Harrisburg, PA (previous employer)**
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Post Sun May 26, 2002 12:37 am

The Tanker truck's brilliant Bob - Tell us how you did it then?
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Post Sun May 26, 2002 4:51 am

I'm late, I'm late. My appologies. I spent Friday and Saturday working on networking our shop computers and I screwed something up. :(


Anyhooo.....Here are the revised numbers. I had hoped to include Summa's new DC3, but some prices have not been released yet. The following numbers are based on the US dollar and the imperial measuring system (metric still gives me a headache :-? )




ColorCamm Pro PC-600
- Retail price: $8995.00us
- Max printing speed: 6 minutes per sq.ft per color (9.8 linear inches per second)
- Cutting speed: 8" per second.
- Ribbon/Cartridge price: Spot Color - $20.00us; Process Color - $15.75us
- Ribbon coverage: 8 sq.ft.
- Ribbon cost per sq.ft.: Spot Color - $2.50us; Process Color - $1.97us




Edge PCS system (Edge-1, Omega software, GS-15 plotter).
- Retail price: $16,000
- Max printing speed: 43 seconds per sq.ft. per color
- Cutting speed: 4" per second.
- Ribbon/Cartridge price: Spot Color - $98.00us; Process Color - $108.00us
- Ribbon coverage: 165sq.ft.
- Ribbon cost per sq.ft.: Spot Color - 60cents/us; Process Color - 66cents/us.




Edge-2 premium system (Edge-2, Omega software, enVision 375)
- Retail price: $35,000
- Max printing speed: 14 seconds per sq.ft. per color
- Cutting speed: 33" per second.
- Ribbon/Cartridge price: Spot Color - $98.00us; Process Color - $108.00us
- Ribbon coverage: 165sq.ft.
- Ribbon cost per sq.ft.: Spot Color - 60cents/us; Process Color - 66cents/us.




As a general rule of thumb, there are 240 business days in a year. Most equipment is depreciated over a 3 year period.

Daily cost (numbers do not cover finance or tax fees)......
- ColorCamm Pro PC600: $12.49us per day (note: this assumes owner already has software such as Corel Draw or SignMate).
- Edge PCS system: $22.23us per day
- Edge-2 premium system: $48.62us per day

Cost to print one 50 yard roll of vinyl one spot color (price does not include cost of vinyl).....
- ColorCamm Pro PC600: $2.50 x 150ft. = $375.00us
- Edge PCS system: $90.00us
- Edge-2 premium system: $90.00us

Time to print on 50 yard roll of vinyl one color......
- ColorCamm Pro PC600: 15 hours 0 minutes (does not include the time necessary to change the 19 ribbons).
- Edge PCS system: 1 hour 54 minutes
- Edge-2 premium system: 38 minutes



Profitability.....
- Lets assume that you have an order for a pair of 12"x24" magnetics to be done in full color. How profitable would it be using either machine for the time used assuming the project sold for $200.00us and your hourly shop rate is $60 per hour? These numbers do not cover the costs of magetic material or the time spent cutting it to shape.

* ColorCamm Pro PC-600:
- Print Time: 1 hour 36 minutes = $96.00
- Ribbon costs: $43.00us
- Total costs: $139.00
- Profit: $61.00

* Edge PCS system:
- Print Time: 12 minutes 30 seconds (additional time added to manually change cartridges) = $12.50us
- Ribbon costs: $6.88us
- Total costs: $19.38
- Profit: $180.62

* Edge-2 premium system:
- Print Time: 3 minutes (additional time added to manually change cartridges) = $3.00us
- Ribbon costs: $6.88us
- Total costs: $9.88
- Profit: $190.12





Now comes the argument that the ColorCamm cost less on a daily basis in case you don't have much business. Lets take a look at that using the same scenario. Lets assume you only do one of these jobs or something similar per day.


* ColorCamm Pro PC-600:
- Print Time: 1 hour 36 minutes = $96.00
- Ribbon costs: $43.00us
- Total costs: $139.00
- Profit: $61.00
- Daily Cost of Equipment: $12.49
- Total Profit: $48.51

* Edge PCS system:
- Print Time: 12 minutes 30 seconds (additional time added to manually change cartridges) = $12.50us
- Ribbon costs: $6.88us
- Total costs: $19.38
- Profit: $180.62
- Daily Cost of Equipment: $22.23
- Total Profit: $158.39

* Edge-2 premium system:
- Print Time: 3 minutes (additional time added to manually change cartridges) = $3.00us
- Ribbon costs: $6.88us
- Total costs: $9.88
- Profit: $190.12
- Daily Cost of Equipment: $48.62
- Total Profit: $141.50

Please note that none of these numbers include the time it would take to cut and apply the vinyl graphics to the substrate.


Now, some may want to argue that they only do one of these types of jobs per week. OK....


* ColorCamm Pro PC-600:
- Print Time: 1 hour 36 minutes = $96.00
- Ribbon costs: $43.00us
- Total costs: $139.00
- Profit: $61.00
- Weekly Cost of Equipment: $62.45
- Total Profit: -$1.45

* Edge PCS system:
- Print Time: 12 minutes 30 seconds (additional time added to manually change cartridges) = $12.50us
- Ribbon costs: $6.88us
- Total costs: $19.38
- Profit: $180.62
- Weekly Cost of Equipment: $111.15
- Total Profit: $47.24

* Edge-2 premium system:
- Print Time: 3 minutes (additional time added to manually change cartridges) = $3.00us
- Ribbon costs: $6.88us
- Total costs: $9.88
- Profit: $190.12
- Weekly Cost of Equipment: $243.10
- Total Profit: -$52.98



So, what do I conclude from this? If a shop still doesn't have much work to do, the Gerber PCS system is still cheaper and more profitable to own than the ColorCamm. When there is any sort of volume involved on a regular basis, the Edge-2 system would be the better way to go in spite of the higher daily costs.

:)
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Post Sun May 26, 2002 11:14 am

Glenn - very informative post - the only thing I would say in the pc600 defence is that from my point of view is I don't actually stand over the machine for any length of time while it's working as a one man bander I tend to be doing other things so the cost per hour becomes a little more relative to the user. Not that I want to get into an argument as I'd lose anyway but for occasional use - its got its plusses. If I'd needed it every day I could probably have afforded the edge anyway.
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Post Sun May 26, 2002 11:37 am

Hi Lorraine
I reckon the pc60 can print onto all the same stuff the edge can.
Cant see there being a problem with any of them.

You say magnetic can be printed onto direct from the edge! Maybe so, as it is thin enough & probably smooth enough, but.
I personally would never try this. Magnet wipes chips of there memory!
I once had a sales man that said he installed computers and cutters in anchor magnets
Premises (about 6 years ago now). He said they had to have a room with specially constructed walls around it to stop the comps being damaged.

As for the rest of the substrates? I’m guessing but I reckon all the substrates you mention must be sprocketed to begin with before printing with the Gerber edge.
Were as the PC60 is friction fed. So this should not be a problem in anyway…

Something I never mentioned before and I don’t think Glenn has is this. The PC60
Has limited tracking distance. It’s never been a problem as it’s not for printing huge
Lengths of graphics. The edge is sprocket fed so it can cope with much longer prints.

As for your post bob. Nice one mate, excellent work.
I take it from what I can see in the picture you printed the graphics onto reflective vinyl?
As for the join. Yes you’re right I don’t think it’s an issue here as there is only one join (I think) but I can see it. You can see the gradient change a little across the whole graphic. Like I said I don’t see it being a problem, but! Give it a few months. Waite
Till the vinyl shrinks that little percentage. You will then be left with a dark grime line all the way across were it has shrunk.
Now take that into consideration when an edge has had to tile 3 & 4 times to create the images size.
Like you said bob. Just a bit of fun. :P I’m just sticking my bit in again mate. :)

Glenn! Ill reply to yours as soon as I can get a second to think about it mate .. :wink:

p.s. liked the gopher :lol:
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Post Sun May 26, 2002 1:25 pm

Robert,

I've tried printing on magnetic material with our ColorCamms, but neither they nor the new PC-600 are designed to handle the weight. I was also concerned about the magnetic field effectinig the equipment. So, I contacted the equipment manufacturer and the materials manufacturer. Both said that there was very little chance, if ever, of the magnetic material effecting the equipment. The magnetic field is just too weak. The only thing they warned of was not to lay a floppy disc on top of it for a period of time.
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Post Sun May 26, 2002 1:35 pm

yeh your probably right glenn.
i never tried it to be honest. due to the memory wiping thing i mean.
i was told this by a salesman like i said. and i guess if the computers are in a facory that makes the stuff then the the mag field would be much greater.
if it can wipe a disk then i think i would rather stay on the save side of things just in case. but another point i did not take into consideration. (the pulling power of the machine)
i guess the gerber cant take it then, can it? or is there a sprocketed magnetic available..
what about the other substartes lorraine mentioned. can you get these materials sprocketed at that width for the edge mahine?
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Post Sun May 26, 2002 2:38 pm

Edge printing onto both magnetic substrates from Gerber (GerberMag and AutoMag) is SO MUCH nicer with the Edge 2 and enVision plotter. Back in the Edge 1 days I swore off (and at) magnetic sales. No so with the new combination. Opened up yet another revenue stream. If still doing a “standard” 12” x 24” magnetic, I do prefer to print a vinyl decal then apply to magnetic stock. Smaller stuff or things with a unique contour shape, bring it on, I’m ready! :o

All materials running through the Edge are going to require that the linear be sprocket punched in nature. As Lorraine mentioned above, there are numerous substrates to choose from. And as much as Gerber would like you to use their material only, other manufactures have thermal ready substrata to use in the machine as well. :D

Phill,

Tanker truck is nothing more then Spot and Translucent colors printed on Avery Engineer grade reflective White vinyl. Customer wanted something a little different and we attempted to deliver. This truck is on the road a lot so we strived to get something readable during the day and at night. Customer balked at the price at first but then saw the “value” the more discussions went on. Customer has informed on more then one occasion all the complements and other “notices” the truck receives now.

Robert,

Without a doubt the seam is going to be visible with reflective material at night, however, it’s not very distinguishable during day light hours. Seams are what you make them out to be. If they are a big deal for you, chances are it will be an issue for the customer as well. Certain designs lend them selves to being “seamed” then others, and the experience level of the designer can play a major part in it as well. I’ll go snap a picture in the near future of this same truck and we can all see what, if any, factor shrinkage has played. I’ve been involved with paneled jobs since 1996 and I can say without hesitation that shrink back has not been an issue in most instances.

All that being said, I wouldn’t want to use an Edge to consistently do complete wraps of cube style vans . But then again, I don’t believe it is marketed as such a device either. Glenn’s numbers appear to be very solid IMHO, but there are times when I do recommend the Roland machines instead of a Gerber system. Like stated elsewhere, each machine has its place. There are many unhappy ColorCamm users, guess what, there are a few unhappy Edge owners as well. :cry: I perceive these two machines as serving two separate markets. Unfortunately, because they both use thermal printing technology and are “similar” in size, most attempt to lump them together in apple-to-apple comparisons. (Manufactures and end users) I believe this to be very detrimental and confusing to the uneducated end user market place. Speak to anyone that has owned both machines and I believe “big picture” wise they will confirm that each machine serves different purposes.

Wasn’t it much easier when you just took the lid off of a can of that liquid colored stuff? What do they call that stuff again??? :lol:

Educational thread everyone! Thanks.
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Post Sun May 26, 2002 8:42 pm

Hi bob
I know what you mean about seams. But! Way back when we had an old Gerber graphix 4b we had a certain customer. This company was huge & we did about 5 trucks a week for them. As we had not long started & this was the biggest customer we had. Every job we did the guy would say brilliant guys thanks… then shake his head and smile pointing to our seam… or should I say seams… some of the logos were 4-foot high ovals. Anyway 3 month later a new registration came out and with it a load of new trucks. We did 2 of them then nothing. A few weeks later a truck passed me completed with logos done in one peace.
We went back to them asking why. They said they liked our prices and the work we done. Unfortunately the single panel logo was much more professional looking & had a better finish. He said if he gets anything smaller we will get it but thought he better leave this work to the bigger sign company.
We were gutted. We used better vinyl, gave better prices & did the work as soon as they wanted it. But still we lost out.
After that, we decided to get a wider cutter. It was 24”. We then moved onto a 48” and then to a 54” wide. This way we know we can’t be outdone on something as silly as a seam join. Not only this the vinyl costs less as its not been slit & because you’re buying slightly more you get a better discount.
Now with that in mind, I would not like to ask for far more money on a print and then give it with a seam. It may be a preference of mine but faced with a customer that gets his work done in one peace and then try and convince him to start using you as his supplier for signs. But giving him it with a seam. I reckon he would stick to the company he had. :(

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