Luminate has installed a Roland DG Soljet Pro 4 XR-640 large-format printer-cutter to enhance its prototyping capabilities beyond silk screening and litho wet proofing.
The printer was installed at the prototyping and pre-press specialist's Croydon, south London, base in early February following a revamp of the factory layout. It was supplied with Oris FlexPack Web System proofing software and cost in excess of £60,000.
While its capability to print digitally onto a wide range of media will mean it can replace an old imagesetter that was responsible for making silk screening stencils, the Soljet will enable Luminate to expand beyond silk screening into a wider gamut of digital prototyping.
Production director Des Kane said: “With our new machine we can keep up our old services, printing silk screens onto colour film, but the Soljet means that if a client wants a wine label, a polythene bag, a box, or anything else, we can swap the materials out for mock-ups.
“Friends in the sector had been to Germany and told us about the Roland’s capabilities and we found ourselves that it does indeed have an edge on what else is on the market by about five years. The two big ways it will benefit our clients is through speed to market and cost.
“We see a market for entering the middle ground where smaller creative agencies cannot necessarily afford a wet proof but would still like to see their artwork represented physically. I think there is a demand in that middle ground, and we are happy to invest in the best to deliver that to our clients.”
Luminate’s new 1.6m-wide Roland DG Soljet Pro 4 XR-640 has two inline, mirrored printheads, integrated printing and contour-cutting technology, and Oris Extended Gamut XG inks consisting of CMYK, orange, green, white and metallic. It prints at a variety of speeds up to 49.1sqm/hr for banner applications and 21.6sqm/hr on vinyl.
The printer can take media up to 1mm thick with liner for printing at 0.4mm or 0.22mm without liner for cutting. Max cutting speed is 600mm/second.
It led to a complete reorganisation of Luminate’s factory floor, which includes five Screen lithographic flatbed proofing presses, a Heidelberg Suprasetter, embossing, hot-foiling, guillotining, UV exposure and a full repro unit. Future investments are likely to include a shrink sleeve unit, according to Kane – who runs the firm with print director Kev Neath.
A team of nine staff makes up Luminate, though plans are afoot for the firm to hire new starters for positions in reprographics, print proofing and finishing.