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Roland VersaCamm

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Adrian Howard

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Post Tue Sep 16, 2003 7:20 pm

Roland VersaCamm

has anybody heard or seen this new machine in the UK yet.

http://www.rolanddga.com/products/printcut/versacamm/

it seems from the US site to be very good, and priced at under £10k
and cheap running costs.....interesting times ahead
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Phill Fenton

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Post Tue Sep 16, 2003 7:37 pm

That seems like a very interesting machine, although I haven't yet heard of it in the UK.
(oops - It's actually featured on the UK website:-
http://www.roland.co.uk/gr10/dg/versa.asp)

Funnily enough, about 15 months ago a Roland engineer told me there would be a solvent inkjet on the market soon priced on a par with the colorcamm but with much lower running costs.

If it's as good as it says - this will certainly interest me :D
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Steve Thurlow

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Post Tue Sep 16, 2003 8:12 pm

Hmmm looks like an interesting machine, but I bet when it's available in the UK the dollar sign will be replaced with a pound sign = £15,000 + VAT, (:)

Steve
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Mark Candlin

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Post Tue Sep 16, 2003 8:28 pm

looks like a ..

I went and saw a "uniform grenidier" printer at BP graphics recently and was told the "jnr" version will be out this Christmas. The machine was effectivley a modified Roland of some sort. Price was quoted as around 10k. Its a eco-solvent print and cut, same specs as the VersaCAMM I think. I got hold of some samples and I got to say the quality is excellent.
Ink cost is about £3.50 per square metre.

Gotta say Iam tempted to get one when it comes out.
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Lorraine Buchan

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Post Tue Sep 16, 2003 9:22 pm

Mark,

I'm also having a look at this machine soon too - but i posted a bit on it before i knew what it was, and apparently there is a deal where you don't pay for the machine - you just need to buy two sets of ink per month, though the disscusion is who much your actually gonna use it, to get throught that much ink??
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Rodney Gold

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Post Wed Sep 17, 2003 6:01 am

I have seen the Versacam and had some experience with it and its a real little gem - its really affordable at about R100 000 here and R12 = GBP1 - so Im sure it will be under 10k.
I have its much bigger brother - the Soljet Pro II.
Its a 4 colour machine , not a 6 colour , doing CMYK - it prints to 1440 dpi , but in reality the profiles only go 720 x 1440 - one would very seldom use the 1440x1440 mode anyway - the reason it doesnt use 1440 x 1440 is that it uses a new inkset and heater - and 1440x1440 deposits too thick an ink layer for it to dry properly. I might be wrong here , there might be upgrades to the RIP etc
It's not a blindingly fast machine , the big soljets print about 4x faster. This is not a problem unless you are pumping out huge amounts of graphics.
Inks are the same as the other rolands and cost about $75 a 220 ml cartrige.
We work on about 200-250 sq m for a 12 cart inkset - so I would imagine that one would get about 80-100 sq m for a 4 colour set , IE about 800 sq ft for $300 - about 40 pence per sq ft and that is conservative.
You can expect to print round 2-4 sq m an hour at a medium to highish resolution - cutting is pretty fast too and very very accurate.
You can actually print , overlaminate and reload (the machine works it all out for you) and then cut.
The 4 colours vs 6 are not much of a problem unless you are doing "art" type printing , colours are nice and vibrant , blacks are black and not muddy

What can it print on - well most uncoated vinyls , most papers , most self adhesive papers , some Canvas , most fabrics and poly weaves , some holographic foils , some really exotic subtratres like laserable spectrum lite foils , clear vinyls , backlit , most banner materials , scrim banner , fire retardant banner , plain banner , perforated films , some cold laminating films , acetates etc.
Results are variable on uncoated media , depending on the profiles used , a lot of stuff doesnt have a profile and one has to fiddle - using rolands coated media gives better results than uncoated in terms of smoothness of print. This too is pretty academic unless you use a loupe to examine the print (I do!!)
Most stuff comes out dry to the touch , some are slightly tacky , but dry in a few minutes , unlike the older rolands whose prints came out quite wet.
It is a very dandy affordable machine and is going to shake up the industry a bit - it empowers those thatr dont want to spend $30k on large format to compete in the industry.
The RIP alone , which is a Wasatch RIP is excellent - one of the best around , its quick and has some great features and albeit it's not the FULL wasatch rip (being customised for roland) it has most of the features.
There is a nesting feature that will optimise print material , it takes the various shapes you cut and fits them as close together as possible to conserve space.
The machine is maintenance free to all intents and purposes , you just clean it - no flushing pipes , messy inks etc etc.
It doesnt have a network card , but a USB port and on big big files , this slows down tranmission a little , but its not a problem (It might be if the machine printed faster)
Its as good as just about any large format printer and a lot better than some at 5x the price. It's obviously not meant for digital shops that churn out 100's of sq meters a day - the smaller size also makes handling rolls of media easier.
One thing I didnt look at was whether it can adjust head height to print on media up to 1mm thick like the bigger machine does , the specs dont indicate a material thickness.
Im not a roland agent , and in fact am sort of wary of roland promises but this looks ok to me - I am not sure what place the roland PC60/600 will have with this product out ?
I would take the Dealer a CMYK image and a "spot" colour image and ask them to print for you to see how the solid colours are printed , their accuracy and how it handles shading and fades on the CMYK image.
I think its worth a look and is a better bet overall bang for the buck , than the bigger machines , its limitations vs them are not worth 2-3x the price.
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Rodney Gold

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Post Wed Sep 17, 2003 6:28 am

I forgot to add this
durability : on uncoated media you tend to destroy the vinyl when scratching with a sharp object to get print off , uncoated vinyl also withstands the wet finger rubbed vigourously overt the print test - some solvents remove the print instantly (citrus oil cleaners are deadly) - as to UV stability , well most inks are uv stable for their rated life.
If I was doing anything like vehicle wraps , I would use some sort of lamination or coating , same with anything that will be handled a lot
On Coated media (and it DOES print a little better on coated) the media and coating will determine the resistance to damage - some are hardfy and some are VERY fragile.
If the print is tacky when it comes out touching it reduced its gloss , but doesnt smear it much. , some Medias actually dont work very well , like the shiny silver polyester vinyl or reflective vinyl , however even if the print is slightly wet or slightly pooled (IE cos its wet it sort of clumps a little) it still does dry pretty durable if not messed with.
One thing is that the RIP on my big machine has a 2 and 3x overprint function for backlit stuff - IE a much denser ink laydown - this doesnt work as well as a single strike (normal) as it tends to blur the detial a little , I am being real niggly here , but its there.
As I was writng this post , I tried a print on sparkly lamination film , a sort of cold pressure lamination matt film with a slight sparkle used to finish prints , it worked beautifully - Im sure there is some sort of application for digital printing on laminhation films? If I can print onto something using the soljet , it can be printed using the Versacam - same rip , same ink , same heater technology.

Not sure whether it would work with the hot films tho

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