Signs of the Times - June 2013 - (Page 14)
Darek Johnson is ST’s Senior Technology Editor/Analyst.
Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Darek Johnson
Desktop Printers for Signmakers
Multiple-use desktop printers can add to your profit column.
Building a printer with cheap plastic is like stuffing a
burrito with boiled carrots – both will quickly disappoint
I don’t recommend often and desktop printers. The
ones I’ve seen break
consume too much
ink. You might see buying a cheap desktop printer
like buying a fastidious show dog – the delicate kind
that looks great, but eats pricey food and hides from
Oppositely, professionally-engineered, productiontype, desktop printers have stamina, resilience and the
ability to produce profitable products. Further, they’re
generally larger – some are tabletop, not desktop sized
– and better constructed than their box-store cousins.
Additionally, they’re designed by engineers who develop
tough, durable components that provide value, income
and long-life machines for signmaking buyers.
A desktop printer capable of producing high-quality
prints can add to shops’ profits by allowing its designers
to produce gorgeous, sales-presentation illustrations,
but some production-grade, desktop printers reach beyond
this scope by producing saleable products. You could
see these as a separate profitmaker for your shop.
Notably, both Roland DGA, Mimaki and several others
have recently designed, manufactured and introduced
product-producing, profit-making desktop printers for
signmakers. I’ve outlined these below. I’ve also added
information on DCS and Condé desktops.
Roland DGA Corp. (Irvine, CA), says its 20-in.-wide,
VersaStudio BN-20 desktop system is a profit-producing,
integrated, printing and cutting package. You can use it
as both a signmaker and T-shirt press, because it features
your choice of Roland’s award-winning, mild-solvent
inks – Eco-Sol MAX ink in CMYK, CMYK+Mt (metallic
silver) or CMYK+W (white) – and various media. It
also streamlines production by automatically contourcutting printed graphics.
The VersaStudio uses the same print technology as
Roland’s VersaCAMM VS series. Its gold-plated, piezoinkjet printheads create up to 1,440-dpi (using variable14 SIGNS OF THE TIMES / JUNE 2013 / www.signweb.com
droplet technology with seven droplet sizes) images,
which coordinate with the firm’s Intelligent Pass Control™
technology, to produce photographic-quality images. It
also features Roland’s automated, ink-circulation system.
The software package comprises Roland’s VersaWorks®
RIP, R-Works Design and a Windows driver; it’s compatible
with Windows® 7, Vista and XP operating systems and
supports such software as CorelDRAW® and Adobe®
For T-shirt imaging, Roland recommends its HeatSoft®
transfer material (ESM-HTM2) and polyester transfer
mask (PGM-PTM). Both are specifically designed to
work with Eco-Sol MAX ink for print/cut inkjet transfers
to cotton or cotton blend garments.
Mimaki USA Inc. (Suwanee, GA) offers its new,
UJF-6042 (A-2 size) tabletop-model, LED, UV-curing
printer that supplements the company’s UJF-3042FX
and UJF-3042HG (A-3 size) line of tabletop printers.
Notice the term “tabletop” because these industrial-grade
printers, which are set with LED UV-curing lamps, are
larger than the average desktop printer. The 1,800 x
1,800-dpi JF-6042 accepts media up to 24 x 16 in. and
5.9 in. thick. The 1,440 x 1,200-dpi UJF-3042 accepts
16.5 x 12-in. media up to 5.9 in. thick. Both use variabledot printheads to apply LED UV-cure ink that, Mimaki says,
is applicable for various media, including coated paper,
cast-coated paper, leather, acrylic, wood, metal and glass.
All UJF models feature Mimaki technology that
regularly circulates the white ink; an automatic, inkjetprimer function that applies primer on selected areas;
a reverse-print function that automatically allows overand under-print functions; and a nozzle-recovery system
that temporarily covers any clogged nozzles with normal
nozzles. Three ink choices allow hard, soft or weatherresistant applications.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - June 2013
Signs of the Times - June 2013
Profiling Media for Purpose
Sign Museum News
Enter ST’s 7th Annual Vehicle Graphics Contest!
The Reality of Your Surroundings
The Great ’scapes
Digital Printers at ISA
It’s a Jungle in Here
Signs of the Times - June 2013