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Versa Cam...

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Post Tue Oct 21, 2003 7:28 pm

Versa Cam...

Well, went and had a demo of the Versa Camm at Digital Soloutions today in London.

I won't go into detail on the specs as they have been disscused on these boards before, but needless to say it was as advertised, a eco-solvent printer cutter. The output is REALLY good. As good a decent desk-top printer. Graduations look excellent, should be able to do some wicked 3d type effects in photoshop for vans etc.
The included rip looked quite powerfull as well.
Black type is also very crisp, even when going down to a small size.
Media width is 760mm, uncoated or coated. Banners look good to.

All in all a very good bit of kit for the money, so much so I ordered one.
Should have delivery in a few weeks.
Roland are also doing a show "special" and including a new PC worth £600 with the printer. They didnt have the specs but i was assured it will be upto the job of running the printer.

Ill let you know more on how it runs etc when it arrives
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Post Tue Oct 21, 2003 8:46 pm

Good for you Mark. Please keep us posted on your experiences with this machine. I'm sure a lot of people will be interested to hear more how it performs, the support you get and so on. :D
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Post Wed Oct 22, 2003 9:37 am

i am looking at this machine from a distance at present and noticed an advert from Signmaster selling it at £7995 Pre release sale price...
how much did Roland sell this product to you direct for if you dont mind me asking

regards

adrian
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Post Wed Oct 22, 2003 10:16 am

IM also very very interested in the feedback on this machine. but if im honest, something is telling me NOT to jump on the band wagon..
obviously i know nothing about this machine and what is and isnt based on theory. which lots of printers these days are..
if this is the next answer to outdoor printing etc with all the things its capable of. why so cheap? and lets face it.. it is cheap compared to machines capable of the same.
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Post Wed Oct 22, 2003 10:20 am

What does it do that other machines can't?
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Post Wed Oct 22, 2003 10:33 am

I've also been keeping an eye on this machine - but, like Rob and Adrian, experience has taught me to stand back and see what happens...we've witnessed the second-coming all too often.

I too have seen the £7995 offer price in the all new sign magazine 'Sign-Link' (issue 1 received this very morning!) - are Roland happy that this 'all new' machine is already being heavily discounted, even though it's not even here yet! - isn't it cheap enough already?

it'll be interesting to see what happens...

more soon

mike
Last edited by Mike Brown on Wed Oct 22, 2003 1:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Wed Oct 22, 2003 11:10 am

versa cam

I phoned up both Signmaster and Roland this morning to clarify the situation.

Roland UK are selling the machine at £8999
Signmaster at £7999

Signmaster import the machines from German Roland and do not start shipping to UK customers until Jan.

Roland are shipping to UK customers in about 10 days time.

There is also a question of warrenty issues.
As a "grey import" the uk warrenty from Signmaster may be invalid although Signmaster told me this morning that full 1 year on -site parts and labour are included in the price. Roland UK on the other hand say that this isnt the case......???

Iam not to worried about this I'd rather have the peace of mind of buying from Roland UK. I also need the machine now not in 3 months, plus the fact that a computer is included in the price I paid means Iam down £400.
I can live with that for peace of mind.

As for the whole ink-jet verses thermal debate Iam confident that ink jet is the way forward.
Dont forget that Roland have a lot of experience with inkjet. Our sister company uses large format printers and one of them is a Roland. Different specs I know but Its very reliable.
Its more about inks in my mind. Early solvent printers had a lot of teething problems with blocked heads etc due to the inks.
I think these problems have been overcome now and the machines are a lot more reliable.

My decision to buy was based on the fact that iam getting asked to produce a lot more full colour graphics. I have had to sub all this out to a 3rd party and all the hassles that entails. Jobs getting messed up, printed on the wrong material, not turning up on time etc etc.

My advice is go and see a demo of it in action.

Ill let you know how it performs when I get it in a few weeks.
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Post Wed Oct 22, 2003 12:32 pm

Re: versa cam

[quote="Sticky Mark"] There is also a question of warrenty issues.
As a "grey import" the uk warrenty from Signmaster may be invalid although Signmaster told me this morning that full 1 year on -site parts and labour are included in the price. Roland UK on the other hand say that this isnt the case......??? [quote]

Mark imports from other EEC countries are termed "parallel imports" and legally UK suppliers have to honour warranties on all products purchased within the EEC.
I think Roland UK will end up with a bloody nose if the try not to honour warranties on parrallels, a couple of years ago the whole import market for goods was stood on its head by Honda taking parallel importers of their motorcycles to court, Honda lost and were made to warranty all goods bought within the EEC and imported to the UK, something to do with a single market.
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Post Wed Oct 22, 2003 1:14 pm

I'd rather buy from Roland direct - especially for tech support and warrantee etc.
You want be sorry you bought the machine , Im discovering new applications and media to print on every day - had some fantastic results on 1mm ABS and have just printed 0.75 mm lexan , scored it and broke it out.
Robert- close your eyes , hold your nose and jump in , the finest incentive is an expensive machine sitting there and not working :)
I really was scpetical about my Soljet (same technology as Versacam) and have not looked back.
Had the Versacam been out , I would most likely had bought that over the soljet considering the price and the minute difference in print quality.
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Post Wed Oct 22, 2003 1:48 pm

Rodney...

Rodney,

You want be sorry you bought the machine , Im discovering new applications and media to print on every day -


Should that be "You DONT want to be sorry" !!

I hadnt thought about putting 1mm foamex through the machine, Iam not sure that the Versa Camm can take material that thick.

Steve thanks for the info regarding warranties.
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Post Wed Oct 22, 2003 2:20 pm

Damn those business lunches - I gotta cut back on the Chiva's:)
WON'T was the word I typed
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Post Thu Oct 23, 2003 12:00 am

I had a rep cold call on me yesterday and was flogging the versacamm from B&P Graphics. He was very knowlegable on the machine and answered every question I put to him. They are adding a twist to the tail by adding heater bars to warm up the vinyl before it prints and to dry when it comes out, also they will be suppling their own brand solvent inks and rip software. (I hope I got my facts right with my bad memory) :roll:

The price of a sq meter print workes out roughly about £5 against an industry average of about £18 so I guess with the quality of the print (1400dpi) at that price I am seriously considering getting one.

I am eagerly awaiting samples and more info from the rep.
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Post Thu Oct 23, 2003 12:31 am

Hi Rodney
How much does the Soljet cost?
Can it not use solvent ink?
What is the print/cut width?
what do you mainly use it for mate?

(hope you dont mind the questions) :oops:

The versa camm is a tease i know... i hear what you say about jumping in and i agree to an extent..
My thoughts... if this isn’t based on sales mans theory and is a great machine.
Its 30inch wide, actual print area i guess about 28" so only 6 inches wider than the pc60. (i would still say its not 3 nor that for the edge eather. just my finds/opinion though) :wink:
So its a little wider but much lower running costs & faster printing...

They claim 3 year unlamented but claimed 5 years unlamented in the pc60 when it first came out then it dropped to 3 after a sea of complaints..
Don’t get me wrong im very happy with my trusty old pc60. It’s paid itself many times and is actually running a job worth a couple of grand tomorrow for the NHS..

I’m on the volley right now. I want wide format.. 50-60 inch print and cut.
This will open a whole new end to what our company can offer our increasing size of customer.
E.g. we supply all signage for a huge fun park in Scotland.. We do everything from built ups to totem signs to point of sales and advert boards.. Wide format will eat those jobs.. Long life or not..

But i, myself, am i vinyl man i want to print my own v-wraps etc if the Roland was another 15 inch wide ide jump at it even if a about 4 grand more... its not obviously.. So do i jump to the 20 grand marks for solvent at the width i want & does the lot..
But, more than double the costs…
Or Settle for a wide format with outdoor 2-year life running small stuff that needs a good life on the pc6o and buying in the pre-printed v-wrap stuff that is coming down by the metre every week... when we need it that is..

One last thought also.. if printing vehicle graphics (v-wrap).. im thinking do I really
Need the headaches of life on jobs, customer come backs and complaints of fading or lamination coming away... should I not keep buying in this stuff from the big boys with the real machines, guaranteed life & sell to the trade at very reasonable costs?
Make the headaches theirs & let me get on with making signs.

It’s a hard one and one we must to decide in the next week. :roll:

(sorry if I have jumped from one thing to another in this post) :oops:
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Post Thu Oct 23, 2003 4:46 am

Hi Mike, Guys
With reference to your post I note that by buying with BP That They Supply You with a rip and Inks.
This then in effect ties you to them. with Roland actually based in Swansea coupled together that usually after a new machine has been out for a while other companies will start to supply
different options may limit your scope for the machine.
This is only my view and is not directed at BP as in fairness from what I have seen of the company I can only give them praise.

Rob
Have you had a good look at Mimakis Machine. we are at present researching with the same Thoughts for an edge replacement and this machine is looking rather Good at the moment
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Post Thu Oct 23, 2003 6:15 am

Mike - DONT use proprietory inks and RIPs , the WASATCH RIP that comes with the versacam is really very very powerful - you are not likely to get better.
The machine does NOT need heater bars prior and post printing , the prints come out dry almost 95% of the time , the only reason extra heater bars are added will be for a non Roland inkset - using a non standard inkset means all the nice profiles for various media that Roland have developed and that work real well will be negated
Apart from which unless they have extensively tested the heads with this inkset you might have big problems down the line - ink costs are negligable in the scheme of things - savings here might cost you a ton in the future!!!!
I know of lots of ppl that have tried other inks in their machines (albeit not the versacam , but they use the same Epson heads) and have had to replace pumps , heads etc.
I would be VERY wary about buying a modified machine!!!!

Robert
The Soljet Pro II ex is around $30k - it does use solvent based inks combined with an inbuilt heated platten (about 40 degrees c) , it prints 54"
I use it for a myriad of things , on paper I do posters , photograpghs , in store display , architectural plans , certificates , self adhesive labels , id cards , billboards , point of sale displays even wall paper etc etc
On vinyl , I do decals , billboards , vehicle wraps , vehicle graphics , rosette inners , medal and trophy inserts , badges , keytags , school signs , signage , window splashes , liscence disks , wine bottle labels , asset register tags , point of sale , shelf talkers , see thru window graphics (micropore stuff), millions of domed decals and like applications. Prototype packaging (paper card and vinyl)
On banner , well I do banners ;) (and some flags - those small ones ppl wave at rallys as well as stage backdrops for theater and other events
On polyester cloth we do flags , backdrops etc
We also print on 0.4 to 1mm styrene directly as well as 0.9mm abs for stiff dsiplays and vacuum formed stuff , I print on 0.75 mm lexan and score and break it out.
I have sprayed metal , 0.5mm aluminium with clear laquer spray and printed on that - in fact anything sprayed with clear laquer can be printed (must try some on formica)
then there are all the blockouts and backlit stuff for light boxes etc , clear films , we even print on cold pressure laminating film doing watermarks for security lamination
I have printed on some really esoteric stuff , like spectrum light anti tamper proff foils meant for lasering , even tried on some engraving laminates with some success.
the choices are actually endless , I have had a parade of vinyl and paper and digital media reps in here leaving samples and I'm bewildered with the choices ,
There is a REALLY nice media available , a reusable sticker - you can take it on and off about 400 x before the backing loses tackiness on a sort of thin banner type material , lots of interest in that.
Flexface , floor graphic stuff and so it goes on.
Not everything prints to the best quality the machine can attain , but I am really rediculously fussy , looking at output with a 20x printers loupe , often stepping back a foot or 2 brings me into perspective , cos a 1.2 x 2 meter abs panel is not meant to be viewd from 1 ft - the output is more dotty than printing onto lets say premium polymeric vinyl , but its perfectly acceptable , and vibrant. the Soljet is really a machine that competes wih others that cost a LOT more a year ago , there is lmost nothing you can't do that the big boys do , cept you can do it better and often a lot faster without dismantling the machine on a daily basis - I would hate to apply or handle a 3.5m wide piece of vinyl:)

The PC60 fades into insignificance next to a soljet - I have 2 running alongside my sollie and if I could retire them , I would , they are mainly used to print gold onto dark substrates for badges which get domed , a sort of legacy thing. I print colour onto gold and silver shiny foils and actually get a far better effect doing the reverse to what the PC 60 does. The problem is that the shiny polyester foil type vinyls have to be coated to accept even the solvent inks - not a problem here in SA as we have our own coating plant. In fact anything that cant be normally printed on with a solvent based inkjet can be coated and then printed as the soljet can print on uncoated or coated - so your choices get even wider.The output is not as robust as uncoated where the inks penetrate the vinyl as the ink sits on a coating , but its rare to print on coated anyway.
There is only one fly in the ointment I have come across and that is that certain very thin conformable polymeric media curls on the backing when very small stuff is fully printed with a heavy ink coverage and then cut , Im talking tiny decals here and changing medias stopped it.
Cheaper vinyls dont print as well as good stuff - goes without saying.
Also an inkjet wont print thru a piece of stuff on the vinyl , so one has to wipe the vinyl to get rid of big dust specks etc prior to printing , but you do that in a far more rigourous way with your pc60.
Nice thing with this machine is you can print , laminate and then the machine reregisters itself for a cut.
Its also a very nice vinyl cutter , fast etc. The soljet prints real fast too.
Costs of ink should be around GBP 1.50 per sq m - Our local agents say that you can average 550sq m for a full set of inks (12 cartridges - of 220ml per cart costing about gbp 800 per full set - you can buy the carts individually - the printer has essentially 2 sets of full colour heads printing in tandem to give it its speed.)
Im sceptical so double up or even triple up on that figure for my costing , so I come to about gbp 4 per sq - and thats being VERY overconservative - its most likely less than that in real life - but even so , its not a ton of money compared to a pc 60 which can go to about gbp 100 per sq m if you do a 4 colour print with a spot metallic (10 sq ft per sq m)
An Edges output cant compare at all - its nowhere near the quality and it cant even come close to the detail you can get on a soljet - a soljets output compares to the best quality you can get on a top of the range deskjet using the top of the range media - sometimes even better. Thermal guys will be running scared with stuff like the versacam or soljets out there - and they gonna come up with all sorts of reasons why thermal is superior etc - but to be blunt , it just aint so !!!

The ease of use of these machines is one of the factors that come into play.
Design in whatever package and export to EPS , if you have colour calibrated your monitor , you see what you get , RIP and print. You can print from the application directly , but doing the settings that way is a schlep

The RIP is VERY potent , but still easy - press print , or should you wish , tweak the settings with control of just about every aspect of printing and some you wont have thought of , it even has a nesting function to fit all your various shapes as best it can into the material. You can tell it to print double or even triple density for backlit stuff , you can tell it to cut , overcut or cut 10x on the same lines should you wish , how much vacuum to apply to the material being passed thru , it's endless - Im not sure whether the versacam rip has all these features , its the same RIP but most likely has some features removed , never played with it long enough to check all that.
As to life of graphics , fading isnt an issue , what is, is mechanical damage to the graphic
This applies to any print system. In terms of use of the machine , vehicle wrap graphics really play a small part for me , I have so many other applications that thinking the soljet is just for that type stuff is very limiting. In that market you face guys with Arizonas and the like that print on a cost + x% factor - kinda like selling bananas by the pound
I get the business second time round when the graphics fail or the colours dont match or the output looks grainy - then our pricing isnt questioned and the customer is happy to pay for my minimum 720 dpi photorealistic output , laminated with the correct stuff and printed on the correct stuff.
Most of my digital printing artwork is not originated at me on the bigger side of things , I get a lot from ad agancys etc. Even stuff you wouldnt think would print well in terms of graphic resolution usually surprise me on the soljet - they come out better than expected.
Its amazing to watch costomers faces as they see the machine at work - as the picture "develops" in front of their eyes.
For that amusement park - you will be swamped - you can tackle just about anything they throw at you!!!
One job alone on our side paid for my whole machine , the local Red Bull agents here supply those can shaped fridges to shops etc , They balked at our initial quote of GBP60 per fridge to print on matt silver vinyl (1.6m x 900 mm) and than apply to 1mm abs and then to laminate with a cold pressure film , these are wrapped around the fridges for the branding. They imported 750 fridges that were branded oversaes - all with the incorrect colouring and the print started rubbing off in days (the fridges get wet etc) We got the job to fix em at our original price!!!We were the ONLY local company able to match the red bull red!!!

I think , baring in mind what you do , the versacam will be limiting , especially the speed and width.
You dont get a 2 year life with the soljet , it will equal and exceed the PC60's output - you just CANT scratch the print off - you will destroy the media before doing that on stuff like vinyls , on ABS , obviousy with enough force and a sharp blade one can do damage.
You can do JUST what the big boys do and even better with a soljet concerning wraps - your biggest problem is going to be lamination
If this is a major part of your business - you have to laminate vehicle graphics with cold pressure lamination (or a new product , a 8 mil hot melt called micronex which is conformable and totally chemical resistant - made by GMP) and will have to get a serious machine that can do 1.6 m wide or so , we bought a GMP machine that has twin sets of rollers , does hot , cold , mounting to 15mm thick , encapsulation etc , needs 2 ppl to work it , but we dont only do our own work on it we do contract lamination too , its a nice profit centre in itself. Lamination is actually more difficult than digital printing.
You will move far beyond making signs - as I say , thinking that way is very limiting , you will essentially become a reprographics house , extending services to customers in areas you havent dreamed of - you have to market tho - do a portfolio first .
What I have done is position myself right at the top of the market - making colour matching and superb quality my prime concerns and charging a lot to do the job right on the right stuff - profits are high , we lose the occasional job on price - but I don't quote per sq ft on jobs - if asked , I just tell em we dont work that way. You dont buy a car per pound of metal!!!
Dont bank on making profits for the first month or 2 , if you do , good and well. There is alos another issue you will have to consider - 1.2m wide rolls of media , 25m in length are not cheap , you need a decent inventory (tho you dont have to use 1.2 wide , you can use any width) and you are going to have to spend a little on both medias and nks fiddling on various media as well , treat this fiddling as school fees. We viewed out first set of inks (we got a partially used set and 2 new sets with the machine) as "disposable" and "experimental"
If you finance the machine , view the payments as another salaried worker in terms of monthly expenses tho it will do a lot more than the worker could- it's a large chunk of cash to outlay and it's a frightening prospect - however as I said before , a $30k machine sitting doing nothing is a powerful incentive to find work for it.
I wouldnt buy a machine like this if you dont already have some form of market for its output - if you have never done digital printing and think by getting a machine like this you will print money , you wont or you might take a long time to get there.
Im pretty sure that within 3-6 months of buying the machine , the next best thing to sliced bread in digital printers will be out there - a 5m wide UV curable flash printer that can print the tops and sides of loaves of bread in 2 seconds at a cost of 1 penny per sq meter and will bake the bread first before - don't worrry too much , I dont think there will be many advances that are radically better then what the soljet can do that soon , barring the ability to print directly on very thick media.
Wow - this sure is a long post!!!!
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Post Thu Oct 23, 2003 8:43 am

Geez, that was a long post - but very very informative Rodney thank you. You seem to be the one in the knowledge with the digital stuff all round here...l :o

Gav
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Post Thu Oct 23, 2003 11:22 am

thanks Rodney for the info

Rodney,
Thank you once again for your very informative post.
Where do you find the time?
With my one finger typing that last post would have taken me hours!!

By the way how long does it take to apply all that gold make-up in the morning??
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Post Thu Oct 23, 2003 12:35 pm

I get to work round 5 am and have broadband - so am logged on most of the time. It took about 15 -20 mins to type with 2 fingers , but I'm fast ;)

I devote about an hour and bit per day checking and replying to mails etc and I head a team of around 25 ppl most of whom can carry along by themselves in respect of work. What I do is deal with the bigger customers , investigate new processes , fiddle with new stuff and get it right , come up with ideas and concepts and then pass it all down to the others once I got it taped. Generally I can do what any of my staff can , but obviously not as good as them cos they get more practice than I.
Some days Im incredibly busy - others I just sit here and dream up new stuff.
Thing is , none of you in the UK is competiton to me , thus I'm prepared to share. I see how hard you guys try , and how most of you are service client oriented and really think that that's the right way to go and I admire you all for the effort you put in. I like the sense of community here.
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Post Thu Oct 23, 2003 12:51 pm

thanks for an excellent reply rodney.. ive been on the phone all morning regarding these machines..
the ones i am considering is the versa cam and a laminator.
or
the grandair 54" sol printer.. seems to be beating all others in its class just now.. i also have an option to upgrade it with a laminator also if i feel the need..

have you or anyone come across it ?

thanks in advance :wink:
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Post Thu Oct 23, 2003 2:43 pm

Robert , google doesnt come up wiith any references to a grandair 54" sol printer - is this perhaps not a rebadged Roland , Mimaki , Mutoh etc?
Is it not the Grenadier? This is a rebadged Roland soljet with different coloured covers pumps tubin etc, afaik , lorraine on this board once posted something about it. (http://www.bplightbrigade.com/html/unif ... adier.html)
I wouldnt buy a modified or rebadged unit - espeically one not running approved inks , many horror storys abound around modded units - if it was suitable for a modded output to true solvent inks - why didnt the OEM do it?
I have read the stuff on their site - and cant really comment on what they have done to the machine , they admit it is a Roland
http://www.bplightbrigade.com/html/gren ... cover.html gives you more info.
I suppose it might be like buying an AMG modded merc ?
At the time it was launched , roland had not got their EX upgrade (solvent/heaters) out - I would rather go with the OEM Roland product , but this is just my opinion , and as we all all know , opions are like a/holes we all have em and they all stink :)
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Post Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:54 am

Hi Rodney
I’m having a giggle here.. You’re right it is the grenadier and not grandair.
I guess I picked the English accent up wrong on the phone. Funny, it’s always them telling me they don’t understand my accent. “Right mike”
Anyway
What happened Rodney was I went on the phone and called round various suppliers for info on the versacam. The real reason for interest was the life outdoor.. Other than that I would have went for a Graphtec 60” wide for advertising, print and cut options and at an excellent price.
The life thing is maybe a bit more important with some of my customers than I first thought so I did some calling.. The ones I called praised the versacam machine to no end. Other than it’s a bit slower, therefore the print has better chance to dry. The width for me is the cruncher… so I started to ask about the soljet and costs etc.. They all said same as the versa camm excellent machine low running cost blah blah blah. They mentioned the mimaki machine and how it prints direct to Foamex etc.. Great machine.. I thought also.
Amongst them all telling me about this and that “they all kept saying but… have you heard of the grenadier?” I said no.. Each one then sang its praises and spouted all the capabilities it has.. Years warranty as standard and so on.. Ex-amount of machines out churning out great work on banners, mesh, clear focus, v-wrap etc etc with 3 year outdoor warranty unlamented.
They gave numbers of their existing customers to call and ask how they find the machine.
Print head costs about £400 and they have never changed any yet.. (New machine on market though I guess) They say if maintained properly they expect 18 month on a heavily used machine. The machine complete with rip, stand, the whole thing infact comes to £21000 I can get an excellent 60 inch wide laminator also thrown in for a total of £25000 if I feel I will be producing long term vehicle wraps that is. Price per square metre I think was £2ish. (print substrate not included)
The way im thinking is.. This will do everything I want from exhibition work, point of sale right to the v-wrap.. The bulk of v-wrapped vehicles is short-term promotion anyway and never go on for more than a year or so.. If I get the odd faded panel or logo then at £2 odds I can live with to replace.
It will print 28 square metres an hour, infact it does all the same as the soljet of course as it is really one of those anyway, but modified like you say. B&P are a big company and with many years experience. If we decide to go for it I would be sure to have some guarantee in writing before paying anything. The fact you have alerted me the possibilities of faults on a modded machine, I will certainly ask for guarantees tomorrow. Thank you!

All that aside I don’t beleave in wrapping any kind of vehicle with severe bends and recesses with a laminated print so I think I would tend to risk the 3 year unlaminated print life and hope it holds out. With the above in mind that I meantioned regarding v-wraps being temporary anyway. 1-2 year promotions etc.. do you do much vehicle printing / v-wrap Rodney? If so how long do they normaly require your guarantee on the prints life? What do you offer etc by way of exterior life?

Thanks for any replies!
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Post Fri Oct 24, 2003 5:17 am

Hiya Robert
There is an issue with solvents (true solvents that is) that has not been covered - you cannot run a solvent inkjet without some serious extraction , the solvent fumes are very toxic .
The Grenadier sounds like a great machine if all that is said is true.
Im just very wary of buying modified stuff - so take my comments in that light .
PS 28 m2 per hour is only avialable on banner which has a special high
speed mode.

I do a fair amount of printing/wraps for vehicles , however its almost exclusively for other sign guys so dont apply it etc , for wraps I print on 5-7 year polymeric conformable vinyl and laminate with Micronex which is a hot melt conformable laminate that is chemical resistant etc - it actually stretches with the graphic when heat is applied and is cheap - under GBP1 per sq meter and doesnt affect print "look" (like matt or gloss does) , requires no webbing on the laminator and is a doddle to apply on large areas but requires a hot roller machine (its suitable for vinyls as the temperature is way less than traditional hot melt lamination) I use the micronex for tons of stuff - fabulous product indeed.
Be aware , lamination is not that easy especially big areas - lots of things can happen to ruin your print - don't cheap out on a laminator !!!!
You can use a liquid lamination after applying the print too - I don't use liquid lam so cant tell you anything about it.

Guarantees on prints are problematic - I warrant any print to 3 years regarding fading - laminated or not - however the issue with prints is more complex , for example a print on 230gm matt paper would never survive water , unlaminated banner flapping in the wind will subject the print to mechanical abraision and so forth. One has to qualify the guarantee.
The issue of outdoor life is a minefield. No one can actually say what it will be as most of these machines are pretty new and the tests are conducted by the various mnfgrs to various standards. Acclerated uv tests are generally used under ideal conditions , but who is to say one testers level and exposure is as good as anaother and lots of other factors arent considered , like air polutants , smog etc etc.
The way the Soljet prints is that the inks "melt" into the vinyl due to the solvent and heat action - the solvents used are not toxic or that agresssive (like a true solvent) and thus the heater bars are required.
Of course ANY cleaning with any solvent can destroy the prints - meths , alcohol , benzieine etc and even some cleaning fluids like windowlene etc.
You can wrap a laminated print around bends if you use the right lamination. I would give NO garuantee whatsover - no matter HOW the print was printed on unprotected vehicle graphics!!!!!!! You have no control of how the customer treats it.

In essense you can really only offer any warrantee that is realistic if you laminate and apply the stuff - IE you have total control and have protected the graphic against every known and unknown process/chemical etc.
Lets put it this way , if you offer a guarantee on your thermal prints unprotected and have no problems or comebacks , you can offer the same on the inkjets output on the same media.
The best test of a print is the "wet finger rub" , wet the tip of your finger and rub the graphic like crazy - you will soon see whether it smudges or runs and how much abraision it takes before damage etc.

What I would do is take the same 2-3 file to both Roland and BP and take your own different medias you want them printed on and ask both to print the graphic at the best mode and the high speed mode.
Compare the 2 (albeit differences in rips etc will most likely be evident in the print) and test them in every way - take a printers loupe to look at them , take them off the backings to see if the printed area is puckered and that the print can be applied. We generally apply prints on uncoated media (large areas that is ) wet with a felt squegee if its on a flat surface like perspex etc. Look for obvious banding - take a mixed vector and raster file , look at large areas of solid print for evidence of dropouts , uneven coverage etc - check colours - take a file with a known colour for this.
The RIP software is vital to the machine , seriously , go for the best RIP as this is the heart and brain and can make or break the print. Your machine will become a boat anchor without the correct rip , like having the best 3d nc engraving mill and having chipped or broken cutters - your output will be doo-doo. You can run a pc60 etc without a rip or even with a rudimentary RIP , but this is not the case with a large format digital print - I cannot emphasise how important the RIP is.
The Roland ships with the Colorip Rip which is actually a Wasatch (one of the best) and there are always updates etc on the Roland Site (firmware too) that you can download
It's real life output that counts , I looked at some other machines , their print quality , speeds etc and was underwhelmed - I was stunned at the rolands quality and ease of use but then again , fine quality printing is the majority of my work and is not that vital for vehicle wraps which are not meant to be viewed at close range. (I am however of the opinion that if you CAN do the quality at no extra effort or little cost - do so)

This is not really appropriate in your case , but my machine with 3 inksets and lots of rolls of media and a 2 year unconditional service agreement came to R255 000 and the pound at the time was about 12:1 - so essentially it was GBP22k.
I got it at that price cos I let the Roland guys unpack it and have it on a demo for a show before I took possesion.
Im in South Africa where there is a wierd situation here in that Roland has dealers and sells direct to consumers - Its a small country so choices are somewhat limited and the amount of machines sold here is too - lots of competiton as well. I chose to buy from Roland as they have a really good tech guy in Cape Town and buying thru an agent would have meant another step in any chain to roland - the agents deals were no better anyway and I have been dealing with roland direct here for ages .
<<

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Joined: Wed Aug 20, 2003 12:57 pm





Post Fri Oct 24, 2003 5:09 pm

Hi you two of the large post's!
I'm not going to compete - just throw in a bit or two - I believe the Grenadier and it's brothers/sisters are re-badged Rolands.
I read all the info with great interest!
Best Regards Dave Standen

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