Star product: Roland DG VersaUV LEJ-640FT

By Simon Eccles, Monday 12 September 2016

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A versatile workhorse for those with do-it-all requirements.

star-roland-versauv-lej-640ft

What does it do?

It’s a large-format (1.6x2.5m) heavy-duty flatbed inkjet printer with UV-LED cured inks. It has a fixed bed with new multi-zone vacuum technology. Roland DG says it can print on virtually anything that’ll fit into it. The list includes acrylic, metal, wood, plastics, leather, ACP (Dibond and the like) and Foamex board, also less conventional objects such as golf balls and tablet cases. 

The Roland Eco-UV ink set includes white as well as a clear ink that can be used to build up textures. 

When was it launched and what’s the target market?

It was launched earlier this year, at Sign & Digital UK 2016. Mark Elvidge, Roland DG UK’s business development manager for textile, co-creation, flatbed and retail says it’s difficult to pigeonhole the printer, “thanks to its accommodating design and versatile Eco-UV ink.” He lists a wide range of potential uses, including “users of small-format UV object printers who need to increase output; signmakers who wish to print directly to boards; industrial marking or branding of large or heavy items; companies looking to add special effects, textures or embossing to offset or screen-printed items; and embellishing of products such as interior decor or custom furniture.”

How does it work?

It’s a multi-pass inkjet printer with the print engine forming a gantry that moves along the fixed bed. The 1,606x2,490mm bed supports media weighing up to 100kg, so stone, wood or metal is feasible. Head height adjustment can be automatic (via sensors) or manual, with a crash sensor. 

The bed has four vacuum zones and one half can be printed while the other is being prepared. A portable ‘handy panel’ unit lets the user control the printer while walking around it. It has a status display and colour-coordinated buttons that match the main panel. It includes a laser pointer to set the start point on the media. 

How does it differ from previous models?

The LEJ-640FT replaces the earlier LEJ-640F flatbed, which needed a separate compressor and did not feature the handy panel or the paired motors. 

How fast/productive is it?

In high-speed mode a full bed takes about 20 minutes. In production mode it’s 40 minutes and in high-quality it’s just under an hour. That’s approximately 12m2, 6m2 or 4m2 per hour, which is significantly less than the alternatives.

Elvidge says: “From our testing, in just under an hour it’s possible to print any of the following: over 1,900 golf balls, 375 smartphone cases, 50 customised A4 hardback books or one 2.4x1.2m sign board.”

Roland’s Windows VersaWorks Rip has features for nesting and tiling jobs, and to set up white and gloss effects and textures. Mac users can opt for RolandPrintStudio with ICC profile creation and white/gloss generation from artwork. 

What’s the USP?

The range of media and applications, says Elvidge. He cites the weight capacity and the head height for media up to 150mm thick – many rivals max out at 50mm. 

He says: “So whether you want to print on the thinnest proofing stock for packaging, a 10mm board for a display or a piece of furniture or wood at 150mm high, the LEJ-640 gives you the ability to do so, all in one machine, and with no reduction in quality.”

How easy is it to use?

The handy panel helps a lot, says Elvidge: “Even if you have never used a Roland DG printer before, within a few hours you will be fully familiar with all the controls you need for production.”

What training and support is offered?

Installation and on-site training are handled by Roland DG staff. There’s a nationwide team of service engineers. 

What does it cost?

The list price is £64,999 including a one-year warranty. The EUV4 ink costs £99.99 for a 500cc cartridge. 

What’s the sales target?

“There is no upper target,” says Elvidge. “The versatility our flatbed can provide to businesses, and all the extras, means that it appeals to a huge audience.” 


SPECIFICATIONS

Bed size 1,606x2,490mm

Max head clearance 150mm

Ink Roland EcoUV LED curable

Max resolution 1,440x1,440dpi

Colours CMYK plus white and clear gloss

Throughput High-speed mode: 12m2/hr; production mode: 6m2/hr; high-quality mode: 4m2/hr

Footprint 3.1x3.5m

RIP Roland VersaWorks or RolandPrintStudio

Price £49,995 including 1 year warranty

Contact Roland DG UK 0845 230 9060 www.rolanddg.co.uk


ALTERNATIVES

Mimaki JFX200-2513

Faster than the Roland, but Roland says its machine is more versatile. The fixed bed is a bit smaller. The UV-LED ink set optionally includes white, but not clear/textured. Maximum media thickness is 50mm. Optionally available with new LUS-120 inks as well as hard or flexible UV types.

Bed size 2,500x1,300mm

Max head clearance 50mm 

Resolution 300-1,200dpi

Colours CMYK plus white or primer (optional) 

Throughput 25m2/hr (300x450dpi, six passes)

Price £59,995 with 2 year warranty, 8x1litre ink cartridges and vacuum pump

Contact Hybrid Services 01270 501900 www.hybridservices.co.uk

Canon Océ Arizona 4x0 GT

Not the cheapest of the Arizonas, but the 4x0 series are available with options for white and clear, which the new 1200 family isn’t. 2.2m roll feeder is optional. 

Bed size 2,500x1,250mm

Max head clearance 50.8mm

Resolution 1,440dpi, greyscale

Colours CMYK, light cyan, light magenta, white and clear

Throughput express: 32.8m2/hr: production: 24.5m2/hr; quality: 14m2/hr; fine art: 11.3m2/hr; high definition: 5.9m2/hr

Price From about £120,000

Contact Canon UK 0870 600500 www.canon.co.uk

EFI H1625 LED

A hybrid rather than a fixed flatbed, this UV-LED printer fits below the high-end Vuteks in EFI’s lineup. It handles roll fed media plus rigid boards. 

Width 1.6m

Max sheet size 1.6x2.5m

Max head clearance 50.8mm

Resolution 300dpi, 600dpi, 900dpi and 1,200x600dpi, 8 greyscale levels

Colours CMYK plus dual white

Throughput CMYK: 42m2/hr (halved with white)

Price £79,995

Contact CMYK UK 0118 989 2929 www.cmyukdigital.com 


USER REVIEW

“It gives us the range to print on metal as well as PVC. We get great quality, and we don’t have to wait on or worry about outsourcing. We are running it pretty much all day, five days a week” 4.5/5

James Atwood graphic artist, Impact Sign Company, based in Hillsboro, Oregon

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