The introduction by Roland of its metallic ink into dedicated print-and-cut systems has been welcomed by companies wanting to extend their product offerings within the sign, display and specialist digital sectors. Both the original SolJet Pro III XC-540MT and the more recent VersaCAMM VS-640 have been designed and manufactured specifically to incorporate this important new addition, as well as white, making them integral and reliable elements within these wide-format systems.
Roland recognised that in order to remain competitive, its customers from all sectors needed to offer fresh and innovative ideas to their end users. The addition of wide-format print-and-cut solutions designed to handle metallic and white ink formulations has resulted in a new breed of applications which benefits from the broad palette of more than 500 vivid, glittering colours as well as a highly opaque white.
The first company to invest in the Roland VersaCAMM VS-640 was Reddhart Graphics, who signed the order immediately after this machine was launched in the spring. Purchased from Roland specialist reseller PrintMAX, this solution's metallic option was instantly acknowledged as being vital to the Essex-based print service provider's growth plans.
Reddhart Graphics supplies a broad range of print-related services, including offset litho, including a vast array of wide-format output ranging from point-of-sale materials, through displays and posters, to more unusual jobs such as guitar wraps. Managing Partner, Steve Hart, believes firmly that the compact and versatile print-and-cut VersaCAMM VS-640 was the right machine to drive his company forward into more innovative applications, with the addition of metallic and white inks adding to the high quality of its CMYKLcLm eco-solvent inks.
"The quality is pretty amazing," explains Hart. "And it's all the more so when you consider that it's coming from a 1.6 m wide-format printer. Some of our clients are especially sensitive to colour accuracy but the VS-640 satisfies them. We produce posters and point-of-sale graphics for make-up brands where skin tones and colour have to be spot on."
Unattended production has proved to be another bonus for Reddhart Graphics. The company can leave a job running with the knowledge that, when it is complete, Roland's integrated OnSupport system will send out an e-mail notification to a remote computer or mobile phone. This feature also reports status updates, such as ink-low warnings, as Hart confirms. "This is a remarkable development in my opinion," he says. "Overnight production is routine now; it really works wonders for us when we have delivery deadlines looming."
Another enterprising business to have gained instant rewards from the addition of metallic and white ink is Leeds-based Awesome Merchandise. Formed five years ago in a student bedroom, this company concentrates on the creation and production of badges, stickers, promotional items and displays and has grown to become one of Europe's largest producers of bespoke products.
Specialising in print runs from one-offs to hundreds of thousands, Awesome Merchandise uses a variety of creative techniques according to the type of job being produced. Whilst higher volumes are catered for using offset litho or screen-printing, the demand for smaller and personalised applications has driven the growing requirement for digital options. However, the installation of a Roland SolJet Pro III XC-540MT has also helped Awesome Merchandise by expanding the opportunities which can be turned into print.
"This new print-and-cut solution has helped us almost double our product range," claims managing director, Luke Hodson. "Its versatility and quality means we have been able to add many new products to our catalogue, including wide-format posters and billboards, custom-cut stickers and garment transfers."
Hodson opted for the 1.37 m Roland SolJet III XC-540MT not only for its metallic and white ink capabilities but, also, because it is an integrated print-and-cut machine. "This was our first wide-format purchase and, although there were cheaper options on the market, the Roland system was the only which really stood out," he says. "This investment means that we can be ever more creative in our offerings to customers and, in the future, we plan to open up new revenue streams, including vehicle wraps and graphics as well as point-of-sale applications."
Roland DG's technical director, Brett Newman, emphasises: "The use of metallics is here to stay and, with Roland technology, users are assured of absolute compatibility between printer and special ink formulations. These print-and-cut solutions are engineered specifically to accommodate both metallic and white inks to ensure that absolute consistency and quality are assured from the very first print onwards."