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what are the limitations of the Gerber Edge?

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Neil Churchman

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Post Thu May 21, 2009 10:22 pm

what are the limitations of the Gerber Edge?

I've a limited understanding of digital printing and have been told that the Gerber Edge machines were very good.

Would anyone be able to tell what sort of print quality you get from these machines, and if there are any limitations with the colours printable or can any PMS / CMYK colour be acheived.

Also is is possible to print a colour image on clear vinyl and back it up with a white background?

I understand that these machines run with cartridges, and wonder if you are tied to buying these from Spandex (like the old fashioned sprocketed vinyl with the extra sprocket hole that you needed for the 4B machines)

We need a printer for quality smaller images rather than high output large format, and I'm not sure if the Edge ticks these boxes.

Finally, as these are Gerber machines, is it safe to say they run with Omega software or do they need a printer version rather than a plotter output version?

Any advice or moans about this method of printing would also be appreciated.
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Dave Bruce

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Post Thu May 21, 2009 10:33 pm

Hi Neil,

I have been using the Gerber for some years now and find it indispensible. I have been printing the usual car stickers both self cling and adhesive, which are printed on clear then white printed behind. I did a big job using gold ribbon (which solvents cannot print) onto brown banner vinyl and the results were brilliant.

For printing spot colours they a great but the resolution using CMYK is not as good as a solvent, having said that the distance you normally view the images from makes this differnce insignificant. I use Signlab to run mine but have Omega software to run it if need be. I use a GSX15 plotter with the Gerber to contour cut any stickers.
I buy my ribbons from Printone at a very good price, also get vinyl from them.
Hope this helps.

Dave
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Colin Crow

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Post Thu May 21, 2009 11:30 pm

Like Dave, we find our edge indespensible even though we also have valuejet. When we started digital printing with our edge we used it for everything including large digital cmyk prints which are just joined as panels. For spot colours even the best inkjets struggle to get the same solid colours and the whites, chromes and specialist medias make selling the higher cost output relatively easy as it has a high value look/feel.

Other than this, its worth remembering that when starting in digital its likely it will take a while to build up enough work to keep your printer working every day. This is no problem for the edge as there are no inks to dry up and no cleaning cycles to worry about. Its probably the easiest way to get into digital and very few people part with them even when they buy bigger printers.

Additional colours can be created by combining two spot foils as most are translucent which save costs and problems of CMYK. Its also possible to create other effects over metallics and even apply matt coatings.

Downside can be complicated files with multiple spot colours, overlaid in the correct order and with bleeds to allow for slight misregistration.

Best results for us are with Europoint Oracal 651 and 751 vinyls with either gerber carts from spandex or print one, signfoil (best white) or Duracoat (Hexis) refills.

Colin
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Jason Xuereb

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Post Fri May 22, 2009 8:51 am

Is there any benefit of the Edge over the Summa?

Or down it come down to preference?
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Colin Crow

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Post Fri May 22, 2009 10:13 am

Third party refills make edge slightly cheaper to run, many more spot colours and specialist coatings available for edge, initial outlay is less (usually), but crucially for us, the Summa suffers from banding at 100mm intervals due to the lapping of the foil. This is a built in feature to prevent the possibility of white stripes appearing if each run isn't perfectly aligned. Its more noticeable on some colours than others but for our solid colour work it was unacceptable. I also suspect that it will cause problem with the mirror foils as it not possible to print on top of the mirror so lapping would be a problem?

I know the DCs have their own advantages, (width, print & cut etc) but the edge is a little more flexible and attainable.

Colin
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George Zerbino

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Post Fri May 22, 2009 10:50 am

Hi Neil,

I'm with Colin and Dave on this one, been using Edges for 14 years or so, and find them indispensable.

Pros:
Durable printing, ready to use immediately after being printed, with no real need for lamination.
Spot colours, a good selection available from various suppliers, plus the ability to overprint two colours to achieve a third one, and all solid.
You can indeed print white, and it's also possible to do double sided decals as well.
Versatility - can print onto loads of different types of materials (transparent spot colours onto reflective, reverse-print colours and white onto clear self-cling, single or multiple spot colours printed onto coloured vinyls, I do a lot of chrome printed direct to black vinyl - try that on a solvent printer).
Easy to run, no real maintenance other than keeping the machine clean. Don't use it for months, then turn it on and it works first time - again, try that with an inkjet.
No fumes, smell, mess.

Cons:
Size limitation - only 299.7mm printing width, no limit on length other than roll (50m?) & foil size (91m depending on colours).
Resolution - 300dpi or 300x600dpi.
4 colour process - because of the resolution, cannot match inkjets for clarity.

Cheers,

George
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Neil Churchman

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Post Fri May 22, 2009 7:20 pm

Thanks guys for taking the trouble to reply - some good explanations there.

So I take it the Edge will not print tints or graduated colour logos, and only does spot colour.

Still sounds like a great piece of kit - hoping to get my hands on one in the not too distant future (and so the screen printing bench becomes redundent :( )

thanks again for the answers

Neil
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Post Fri May 22, 2009 7:26 pm

gerber will do tints, and very good at it. it has no problem with gradients either but you do need to know how to get the best from it
Peter
Last edited by Peter Normington on Fri May 22, 2009 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Colin Crow

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Post Fri May 22, 2009 7:26 pm

No, tints are easy including graduations if you have the software (we use signlab) but due to the limited dpi the dots are noticeable. However, we produce several products that use this process and if you want to see examples just pm me and I will point you to our website where you can see images.

Colin
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Neil Churchman

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Post Tue May 26, 2009 9:20 pm

Thanks for your replies guys - still wondering if I will be able to take a customers pdf logo file and directly output it through an edge machine and get the correct colour tints/shades as per the original file. Perhaps I'm expecting too much and this type of digital output must be done with a solvent printer only :roll:
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Jason Davies

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Post Tue May 26, 2009 9:39 pm

Hi Neil, I think your asking a bit much of the machine to match it up at this level, you also need to think about the cost in terms of running these machines, they have as mentioned many positive points but if you are hoping to do what a solvent printer does at twice the speed and coverage then unfortunately it will be too costly.

These are fantastic machines but now quite specialised.

Regards

Jason
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Colin Crow

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Post Wed May 27, 2009 12:19 am

Neil

You will have two options for matching a customers logo;

1 - use CMYK foils to replicate the colours albeit with a dot pitch much greater than that of a current inkjet printer or

2- convert the colours in the customers file to spot colours and attempt to match with available foil colours or duotones using 2 or more foils overlaid.

The method will depend on the suitability of the logo for conversion into spot

Both have been used successfully and its also worth remembering that even colour matching a customers logo on an inkjet can be troublesome with differing medias and profiles.

Colin
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Post Wed May 27, 2009 12:43 am

gerber have a pantone matching system, but based on overlaying several spots, its a bit antiquated but then who can print the majority of pantones on an inkjet anyway?

Colour management really is a nightmare,
Peter
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Fred McLean

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Post Wed May 27, 2009 9:00 am

Spectratone i think was the name of it Peter,i do have a colour sample chart somewhere
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John Cooper

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Post Wed May 27, 2009 9:17 am

There is of course a method for creating a Spectratone chart here:

http://www.gspinc.com/downloads/video/s ... chart.html
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Colin Crow

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Post Wed May 27, 2009 9:47 am

From memory the the full official spectratone catalogue was around £300 from Spandex when I bought my Edge. The only problem being that to make every colour in the book meant you had to have a huge array of foils and you could guarantee the colour you really needed would require a new weird and wonderful foil (kumquat, beige and aqua seemed to feature a lot!)

Signlab also has a feature for producing you own simple 100% on 100% swatch for all available colours but its very time consuming in swapping the foils and uses quite a lot foil in the process. Its also out of date the minute you buy a new colour foil but its a start. I think the spectratone catalogue has every available option of foil but also at differing percentages for each colour which makes quite a difference. Again signlab can produce a two colour swatch from any two colours on the palette with 5% variations and this was the easiest way of matching a specific colour. I have loads of these squares hanging up waiting for future reference!

Colin
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John Cooper

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Post Wed May 27, 2009 10:05 am

Colin Crow wrote:From memory the the full official spectratone catalogue was around £300 from Spandex when I bought my Edge.
Colin


How fortunate I was to get this catalogue when I purchased my FX! Phew :D

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