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  • Wrap Printer, prints directly onto the vehicle body and tyres, Thoughts?

  • Robert Lambie

    Administrator
    May 6, 2021 at 12:24 am

    You may have spotted the most recent news feature on our homepage, “The Art Robo” which is basically aimed at vehicle wrapping, amongst many other possibilities.

    Now don’t get me wrong, there is a list of pros and cons, and It is also nothing new as I remember the “DiVinci digital Wall Printer” from around 10 years ago, which looks very much the same as this with some modern-day features added such as the variable head height adjustment as it prints and so on.

    Interested to hear your initial thoughts on this?

  • Martyn Heath

    Member
    May 6, 2021 at 5:10 am

    From the vehicle side of things, I can’t see one reason why this would be a better option than a wrap. Direct to the vehicle is permanent which people very rarely want in the advertising trade. Also what happens when the printer has a blip and has an error? Your vehicle is ruined? or it needs to be cleaned off with special chemicals and start again?. Seems like a much riskier option when there’s nothing wrong with the current method.

  • Jamie Wood

    Member
    May 6, 2021 at 8:59 am

    Looks like great fun cleaning it off with solvent.

  • Kevin Mahoney

    Member
    May 6, 2021 at 9:16 am

    Could be a great little sideline in spray tanning if nobody wants to let you spray their new 60 grand van!

  • Simon Worrall

    Member
    May 6, 2021 at 10:47 am

    It’s only a matter of time before one of these is built that can follow all the curves on a vehicle body, as well as flat areas. And it will do it faster, better and cheaper than wrapping by hand. And it won’t pull out of the creases. You just need a printer head on a well-trained robot arm and some clever software.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by  Simon Worrall.
  • Pane Talev

    Member
    May 7, 2021 at 1:50 pm

    I personally don’t believe in non laminated print. No mater what “they” say.

    There is so many things that can go wrong here.

    Nice video. But not impressed by what it has to offer.

  • David McDonald

    Member
    May 7, 2021 at 4:31 pm

    As Pane mentions so many things that can go wrong, as with all printing, and then clean and start again, likewise durability would be a huge worry.

    I cant see a wide market for these as surely they will be very very expensive. The only big advantage being the corrugated bodies that would take an age to wrap (or just couldn’t be wrapped) and I don’t think I’ve ever come across one . I reckon we can wrap a clean flat sided trailer body faster than it prints them and strip them again faster than cleaning with solvent – how many trucks would you have to do before the saving in vinyl and laminate justified the investment. Also what about using the system where the truck sides have a perimeter frame that a banner is tensioned in place (cant remember the name) – surely these are a much better solution and have an even better economy when designs on the sides need changing often and quickly.

    Its got “I wish we’d never invested in this” written all over it.

    To be fair there was an earlier video doing the round many years back where some other company had created the same type of printer for vehicle sides – it looked really really poor, whereas this version does seem like proper kit, albeit the overall concept seems so obviously flawed.

  • Richard Wills

    Member
    May 7, 2021 at 4:43 pm

    I can imagine a van manufacturer getting these in for their fleet customers. Apply graphics (variable data very much an option), followed by a stop off in the spray booth for something like a top coat (oh, they have a machine that can put on a top coat, very precisely). What happens at end of contract, I don’t know, but perhaps part of the service is an automated cleaning, or at least a cleaning with the correct solvents, before the vehicles are sold at EoL.

  • David Hammond

    Member
    May 7, 2021 at 5:17 pm

    Not worrying about it… yet.

    A few things… I’m assuming the truck will need to come to the printer, rather than printer go to the truck, if you can take the printer to the truck how long will it take to set up, ready to print?

    What about accident repairs? Can you just reprint a part of the design, and the same issue as above, does the vehicle need to go to the printer?

    End of lease/finance agreement, how easily does it remove, what long term damage? Looking at the video it appears the trailer has vinyl applied before printing, I’m guessing to aid removal.

    Not knocking the technology, but I can’t see a wide uptake. For fleet operators looking to reduce costs there’s a company who now 3d scan a vehicle, and produce a “wrap” in kit form, but eliminating the need to ‘wrap’ no recesses, similar to the chapter 8 kits. I can see far more advantages to their system, than direct to vehicle print.

  • Chris Wilson

    Member
    May 7, 2021 at 6:56 pm

    I heard/read it’s $250,000. Fair bit of cash.

    They could of put a bit of casing on it to make it look pretty. Looks cheap without a shell.

    Curious though, those with flatbed printers, do you not buy a specially coated ACM and the likes for the ink to bond? Have they just left out the vehicle being primed with coating first? And I dunno about you guys but often longs part of a vehicles can be cleaning them.

    In 20 years though am sure we will all have one.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by  Chris Wilson.
  • Colin Crabb

    Member
    May 8, 2021 at 8:22 am

    This system is not aimed at Vehicle wrapper or signmakers at all. Huge piece of equipment that needs to be on a production line, massive set up costs etc etc

    Its been developed for the motor industry, as part of an idea to allow customisation at point of sale – order your new van, either online or in store, supply or and upload the graphics etc and as part of the production line this system will then apply your graphics to your chosen vehicle, as part of the ‘optional’ extras package (Some places will already offer signwriting to vehicles as part of the sales package, this is just the next step).

    More money for the manufacture and keeping you loyal to them, and I’d guess a trade in deal at the end of the finance term, because you cannot remove the graphics, so who wants to buy your second hand vehicle!

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by  Colin Crabb.
  • Gordon Smithard

    Member
    May 8, 2021 at 10:58 am

    I know it’s a different thing altogether but I remember about 40 years ago when vinyl cutters starting making an appearance, signwriters were saying how sticky plastic won’t last, and how difficult it is to change fonts (early Spandex machines), effects/ shadows were impossible etc….technology moves on at a remarkable pace.

  • Robert Lambie

    Administrator
    May 11, 2021 at 4:55 am

    @MartynHeath

    Your correct Martyn, general blips of everyday printing happens. The difference here is the canvas is 13.5m x 2.6m. Imagine the time required to recover from a miss-print three quarters the way along the side of an arctic truck?

    @Simon-Worrall1 @gordon-smithard

    I totally agree that it is only a matter of time. Is this one the solution? Definitely not, but it is the route things are heading and it will be perfected one day.

    @pane-talev1

    You are correct mate, Ink durability on a vehicle is always an issue that must be considered when prints are on a vehicle. However, lots of promotional wraps do go out without lamination or are liquid laminated to reduce costs on bulk installations.
    An additional staggered head jetting a topcoat protection would probably help here. Similar to the old Gerber edge had the thermal ribbon top coat shield option.

    @DavidHammond

    I think you are correct David. There are so many different surfaces on vehicles. A primer of some description would be required. But as I mentioned to Pane, all they have to do is add another staggered head that lays down some sort of primer as it prints, similar to what the HP latex does with its optimiser head, while it prints.
    I did see

    the company that promotes themselves as “revolutionising the wrap industry”. I found that a pretty naive statement to go public with when all they are doing is 3D scanning the vehicle to create vector templates. Something that has been getting done for a while now by graphics companies for chapter8 chevron kits, wrap kits etc.

    @David McDonald
    I agree David, myself and a lad can completely wrap a truck trailer at this size in about 3-4 hours with very little setup or prepping required. The setup of something like this alone cant be fast or simple.

    @Chris-Wilson2
    £250k, That is a hefty price tag and no ink purchased yet!

    @Colin-Crabb-1
    I am not sure if you listened to my podcast interview with regards to vehicle manufacturers, Colin. ( https://bit.ly/2PIBs27 ) This is exactly where I see this type of thing heading. But I reckon they are still a couple of years away yet!

    I have no doubt they will already have these machines actually operating and doing this sort of work somewhere, even if only testing. However, at a glance, we have all, already pointed out just some of its limitations and areas for things that could go wrong!

    I do not see any of us having to worry about this type of thing, anytime soon. But I do like to see where technology is heading. And as said, it WILL get there and us sign makers will lose a chunk of the market when it does, as will the vinyl manufacturers on the vinyl.

    There is a printer I saw about 7 years ago. It had fixed print heads the full width of the gantry of the machine and the media moved under the gantry printing metres, full width at a time, in seconds!
    If this same scenario was used up the side of a truck, rolling along the side of the truck in a track, like a car wash does. They could print the full truck both sides in one go, in a few minutes!

    Staggered-heads could be laying the primer base and liquid laminate top-coat.

    The key could be in the top-coat protection. Once the vehicle is having the graphics changed, it could be sprayed like a drive-thru car wash would with soap, but with a chemical that breaks down the topcoat and left to sit for a period. Then starts the car wash side brushes taking the whole thing back off. Ready for the next print.

    Obviously, we are seeing this from our experienced views and opinions, and rightly so! but the reality is that one day this will be an option.

  • Colin Crabb

    Member
    May 11, 2021 at 1:38 pm

    @RobertLambie Apologies, I haven’t had time yet to listen! I have friends in R&D so hear things, but have to be careful what I say at times 🤣

    I saw a demo once Rob of the fixed head machines – they used ‘memjet’ technology where media travels at speeds, ink just drops. We had a test unit here for label printing, 12″ wide print head with media moving through it at high speed. Interesting system, but the heads ultimately proved troublesome.

    And as for the future – Digital signage on vehicles has been tested already……..

  • Peter Cassidy

    Member
    May 14, 2021 at 9:54 am

    like everyone else, i see a list of issues from this setup, but one thing for sure. this is a glimpse of where it is heading. 10 years from now and this will be the norm for trucks. not so sure about smaller vehicles though.

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