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  • What brand of printer are you running?

    Posted by David Stevenson on April 26, 2023 at 9:03 pm

    Hi,
    Interested to see what brand of printers you guys & gals are using for vehicle wraps.
    We’re currently running 2 Rolands, a VG2-640 & an Rf640 but are having terrible issues with both printers regarding how tacky the adhesive is after print. We’ve tried everything under the sun to try to solve this but to no avail. They both run extra colours eg. red, green, & orange which has made it impossible to find the correct profiles for the materials we’re using.
    We’ve tried Avery MPI1105, Oracal 3951RA, Metamark MDC-B, & 3M IJ280 and all materials even after weeks of drying are incredibly tacky and don’t handle anywhere near how they should. We believe it’s something to do with the new Roland inks as we never had a problem with our old XR640.
    We’re intending to replace the RF640 with a new machine of a different brand (possibly Epson) but would like a few options first as to what machines others are using for printed wraps.

    Many Thanks, David

    Ian Jenkin replied 1 month ago 11 Members · 14 Replies
  • 14 Replies
  • Robert Lambie

    Administrator
    April 26, 2023 at 9:17 pm

    Hi David

    What is your core business? Signs, Printing, vehicle graphics and wrapping or a mix of all of them?
    What type of vinyl cutter do you have?

    Just trying to get a feel for what you do, mate.

  • David Stevenson

    Member
    April 26, 2023 at 9:30 pm

    Hi Robert, we produce a mix of everything from books, business cards, posters, fliers, etc on our Xerox Versant 80, to signs, stickers, vehicle graphics & wraps, etc on our Rolands. Running Roland Gr640 & Summa S Class 2 cutters along with a 12 tool CNC router and 900×600 100watt laser cutter, + an Epson sublimation threw in for good measure! Jacks of all trades and pretty good at most thankfully lol

  • Robert Lambie

    Administrator
    April 26, 2023 at 10:19 pm

    First of all, Roland solvent printers are tried and tested workhorses. I have always been impressed by the colour output and the range of machines on the whole. combined RIP, onboard cutting blah blah.
    I had a list of Roland printers and vinyl cutters over a 20+ year period.

    I began to drift when I began using a third-party, UV lightbar on our printer. same machine, different ink which was UV cured. I loved it, and from then on I began to lean away from our solvent machines.

    Due to a new contract, we won for wrapped I decided to move to HP Latex. 18 months later, bringing in a second latex printer and getting rid of the Roland machines altogether.

    We also had a UV flatbed printer with ONYX RIP. So we basically run the HP machines using the same RIP.

    We are predominantly a “sign and vehicle graphics” company that also does print. So I am not looking for mega-fast printers with ultra vibrant high-resolution prints with white ink options etc. Brilliant if the machine can do it, but for me, I want a decent speed, good quality, durable and stable ink, that is ready to roll when it comes out of the machine. HP latex does that for me!

    Every machine has its pros and cons. You have to select one whose cons do not hamper your day-to-day business.
    i.e. there is no point in having a super fast printer when the prints cant be used for a few days. Understandable, but pointless. ( and I have been in those shoes ).

    I have attempted to buy another HP several times in the past 18 months, but I have been holding out for a variety of reasons, nothing to do with the printer, I have decided to make another significant purchase, so I will address the printer buy soon. I have had some demonstrations from Perfect Colours and have been Speaking with Darren Walker, who sold me my previous two latex.

    Regarding the Epson. I have heard nothing but great reports about these machines from several companies I know of. However, regardless of the claim that they are latex, they have solvent content and no matter what is claimed, that should be outgassed when it comes to wrapping.

    I just want to throw in something that I do, even with HP latex prints.
    “Every” print, regardless of the machine or ink type, should be left as long as possible before lamination. However, something I came up with and HP has agreed with me personally, on my practice, when I put it to them in Barcelona.
    If you laminate any prints, including HP latex print and intend on using it to wrap complex/deep “recessed” panels of a van. Allow for a “bonding period” For me, this is all belt and braces practice, it’s not stipulated by manufacturers. purely a Rob Lambie thing that I have preached for years now. Basically allow as long as you can for the prints to bond to the laminate in a warm room or simply sit the coiled roll next to a radiator or whatever, for 30+ minutes, just long enough for the heat to travel through the material.
    Think about applying a vinyl graphic to a van. it will stick, but equally, you could pick it off quickly because it takes time to build up its bond. This bond accelerates with heat and time. So it’s a good habit to form.

  • Jamie Wood

    Member
    April 27, 2023 at 7:11 am

    We use Epson SC S80600 machines, which I have to say, are excellent bits of kit. If you are sticking to to solvent machines, they are probably the best currently available. Print quality is top notch, and price isn’t too bad either. The only issue, is that you do have to have an engineer to change any significant parts, so if you like to tinker or fix yourselves, it may not be the machine for you. We got round it by having an ink contract with Epson, which includes a maintenance contract for the duration of the ink contract, for no extra charge. We are about to extend our ink contract, which will update the maintenance contract for an extra 2 years.

  • David Hammond

    Member
    April 28, 2023 at 12:23 am

    I’ve had similar issues with our VF2.

    Extra heater and drier unit helped a little, but its still wasn’t 100%

    I eventually bought a spectrometer off ebay and did some linearisation of the profiles…

    however I think the biggest change I’ve made is reducing the ink limits in the profiles, total ink on some was around 230% we’ve reduced those to ~180% with not real noticeable colour variation.

    The other thing I’ve been doing is outgassing rolls on their end, loosely coiled. For wraps I have built a cupboard with fan to increase airflow.

    I’ve printed and cut some vinyl this week, that was problematic for me, and I’ve not had the same issues.

    Another obvious thing to check is that you’ve set the printer settings in versaworks to “use printer settings” rather than use default media, as you have set the heaters on the machine, but VW will override it to lower temps

  • Simon Worrall

    Member
    April 28, 2023 at 4:13 am

    Quite recently got an HP latex 335 to replace my ailing Roland sp540v.

    The prints are much better, faster, and dryer.

    BUT loading this thing is an endless nightmare. You got to kneel down, put the vinyl onto a shaft, feed it through a tight and difficult bend, which usually peels back the vinyl from the paper and makes it grab onto the rollers and ruin the first 30cm or so. Then, when you finally get it loaded, you have to feed through about half a meter of vinyl or the heaters will make the print curl and touch the top, ruining the print, and/or make the head smash into the curled vinyl. Restarting is another ten minutes, and another wasted load of vinyl. And half a meter before the end of the roll the printer will stop to let you know the vinyl is finished, so those endrolls and offcuts that used to be useful for small jobs…into the bin.

    If you want to use the take up roller, thats another meter or so of vinyl wasted, and another really tricky feed

    Frankly, this is a wonderful printer that is NOT designed very well.

    The Roland? I could print a very small offcut, and have it up and running in minutes, although the print quality was not so good. it couldnt print greys and some other colours properly.

    • Martyn Heath

      Member
      April 28, 2023 at 4:30 am

      Interesting to hear some honest, working feedback ๐Ÿ‘ regarding your change to hp

    • Jeff

      Member
      May 1, 2023 at 10:39 pm

      switching from a back loading solvent machine to a front loading hp latex is different mate, but you will get there. when you look on the grand scale of things in comparison the latex is hard to beat.
      the front loading improves the tracking of prints over a long distance.

  • Dan

    Member
    April 28, 2023 at 8:30 pm

    Epson S60600 here and I love it.

    The 80600 gets better colours but mine does everything i need. I looked at the new Rolands recently and the print quality looks great compared to when I had my vsi-640 but mine gives me a great print so I canโ€™t complain.

  • David Stevenson

    Member
    April 29, 2023 at 8:45 am

    Thanks for the replies folks. Interesting to see what others are doing. We’ve bit the bullet and our new Epson SC S80600 will be delivered in a few weeks replacing our Roland RF640. We purchased Onyx a few months ago but have never really got round to learning how to use it so there’s a bit of a learning curve ahead. All we have to do now is remove part of a wall to get the new printer into the print room as it’s too wide for the door!!!

  • Robert Lambie

    Administrator
    May 3, 2023 at 12:18 pm

    Hi Simon
    It is probably because you are used to a rear-loading printer and the HP Latex is a front-loading printer, mate. Takes a bit of getting used to.

    However, the machine can be pushed against the wall out of the way and saves a lot of space, while rear-loading machines can take up a fair amount of extra space.

    The newer models of HP latex do not have the spindle to feed through the core either, they just have holders that push in from each side.
    I believe feeding the vinyl through and out the front of the machine is HP’s way of making sure that tracking is set up perfectly for roll-to-roll printing, because once the machine is loading, you will see the laser detector is checking it has been loaded accurately or it will give you a possible skew notice/tolerance, in case you are running a long print, this is a warning but you can also accept if just running a short print run.

    When you are using the take-up system. Just pause the machine for a few seconds and tape the print to the card tube when it reaches it, and unpause it and it will continue without any waste.
    It is also possible to do it while it prints without pausing but takes a bit of getting used to.

    the printer can print with zero waste as it leads in, it should really only be “certain types or brands” of media that may rise due to the heaters and fans. I think this has also been improved in the newer models, but I haven’t yet upgraded.

  • Leslie Anderson

    Member
    May 5, 2023 at 9:22 am

    I have an HP Latex 360, it is the only machine I have owned so I can’t compare it to others, but I have never had any problems as such. ๐Ÿ˜‡

  • Pane Talev

    Member
    May 5, 2023 at 9:37 am

    Mutoh XpertJet 1641SR. (my third Mutoh)

  • Ian Jenkin

    Member
    May 5, 2023 at 10:16 am

    Hi David,

    We run a HP360 Latex and a Epson Surecolour S80600, which covers most bases really.

    We take delivery of a new HP800W on Tuesday, so will be interesting to see the changes from the 360.