Sign & Digital Graphics

October '19

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • October 2019 • 49 "In addition to the wide-format printer, the shop will need a computer and software to design and run the printer. It can take some time to become proficient in using these programs and we highly recommend attending a train- ing class or seminar to become more effi- cient. This can save hours on the learn- ing curve, and if it is a group setting can allow the beginner to ask questions on many topics with more experienced users in the room. Of course, most machines will come with a warranty and yes, it is needed. In fact, many extend this insurance against machine issues. The more business you get, the more the printer will be used and at some point it may need adjustment or repair and since it is the life-blood of the shop, warranties can make this affordable and efficient." What are the pros and cons of available ink types they can choose from? "With so many technologies to choose from, it's best to weigh your options based on what you expect your focus will be," Valade. "Traditionally, users looking to have a well-rounded offering of applications will choose an eco-solvent printer or printer/cutter to get started, as they offer the most commonly requested applications, like outdoor signage, post- ers, banners, apparel heat transfers, and labels/decals," he adds. Valade points out that Roland offers some outstanding entry-level eco-solvent inkjets, including the Versa E X P R E S S R F -640 printer and the TrueV I S S G series printer/cutters, offering excellent image quality, reliability, efficiency and ease of use at affordable pricing. "For users looking to get into a less traditional but fast-growing market such as product personalization/customiza- tion, UV or dye-sublimation inks allow for wide range of unique applications that can differentiate a PSP from the competi- tion. We are seeing a general trend where users start out with eco-solvent devices/ inks for the versatility and, as they start to understand other applications custom- ers are asking for, expand into one of the other technologies," he reports. Rugen points out that ink types, in part, determine the kinds of applications that can be made with a wide-format printer. "Eco-solvent has been the long time favorite for most startups because of the diversity of materials that be used. One drawback is that the ink uses a solvent to disperse the ink and time is needed for that solvent to vent away before laminating. A big advantage of eco-solvent is its outdoor durability; many applications can last for years. Latex ink has become popular of late because the ink is cured upon leaving the printer and thus can be laminated immediately. One drawback however is that the ink resides on the surface of the printable materials and many times an adhesion optimizer must be used to assist in ink adhesion. In addition, most of this type printer require high heat in order to cure the latex and that can limit the types of media that is compatible with those heats." He says that UV curable inks are cured using an LED light, so they are instantly dry. "In addition, there are numerous applications for both roll-to-roll and rigid materials. Some printers called "hybrids" can even do both types of Images courtesy of Roland DGA.

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