|Roland VersaUV Print&Cut LEC-300|
The Roland VersaUV Print&Cut LEC-300 was finally out in late 2008, after years and years and years of uncertainty. . As you will read further on, the range of Roland UV printers have been multiplying. One of the recent models is the Roland VersaUV LEJ-640. The early LEC-300, LEC-330 and LEC-540 are basically small roll-to-roll UV printers, whereas the new LEJ-640 handles both flexible and rigid media up to.
I can symphasize and understand that it's tough for a company whose income and market share is primarily solvent ink to face the reality that solvent ink is a waning chemistry. It was probably a challenge for the UV team to obtain R&D funds from an otherwise solvent-based company.
There are now to issues to face with the Roland VersaUV Print&Cut LEC-300: can it really compete against all the excellent UV printers which already exist? And, does it work acceptably? After all, the Roland VersaUV Print&Cut LEC-300 is their first attempt at serious UV-curing. And making a first attempt with any new ink or anything new such as LED curing is an additional obstacle to overcome.
It will take material from 18.2 cm to 76.2 cm; claims 1440 dpi but does not admit how slow it is at this resolution. Gives no information how dpi is calculated (very few other manufacturers really are clear about dpi, passes, or true slowness).
Uses Roland Intelligent Pass Control which is their attempt to catch up with Mutoh's Intelligent Interweaving, since the FLAAR Report on Mutoh's Intelligent Interweaving software has been downloaded around the world by tens-of-thousands of printshop owners and managers.
Offers print and cut, which is rare for any UV printer, but the new Mimaki also offers print and cut, albeit in eco-solvent inks (but the Mimaki offers a really good white solvent ink; no acceptable solvent ink is yet available from Roland).
Weighs only 175 kg.
At ISA 2010 I could see that the VersaUV-LEC-300 was exhibited in some booths like a Clear Star, Luma Brite , and of course, Roland.
Roland VersaUV LEC-330 and LEC-540, are following versions
The Roland VersaUV LEC-330 supports a straight media path for improved printing workflow on semi-rig sheets such as card stocks and polycarbonates. The LEC-330 and LEC-540 print five colors CMYK + White ink. They also have a Clear Coat at resolutions up to 1400dpi with 6 high-precision print heads. The LEC-300 can only have CMYK, plus one white or one varnish, whereas the LEC-330 and LEC-540 can have CMYK, plus two whites or CMYK plus two varnish lines. Or, CMYK plus one white and white varnish.
Plus, the LEC-300 and LEC-330 have a print width of up to 30” (76cm) whereas the LEC-540 prints media up to 54” wide (1.4 m).
The Clear Coat was created for a wide range of special effects, matte or gloss finishes or stunning area highlights. This machine is ideal for proofs, packaging, prototypes, labels, POP displays, wallpapers, stickers, wrap, interior décor fabrics and other substrates.
The low heat UV LED can be turned on and off instantly for on-demand operation, requiring no warm up time or complex and noisy shutter systems.
Main competition will be the Mimaki UJV-160uv
The Mimaki UJV-160uv has several advantages: Mimaki has many more years experience with UV, and the UJV-160 is 1.6 meters wide. This Mimaki printer is more useful and versatile for a franchise printshop or family-owned printshop than a mini 76 cm printer.
I have inspected the Mimaki UJV-160 at three trade shows now: DRUPA, Shanghai, and FESPA Mexico.
Additional competition will be the significantly improved printers from Teckwin
The TeckThunder hybrid is now improved. The Teckwin TeckStorm dedicated flatbed prints faster and impressively better quality than the Gerber ion. In general, Teckwin printers have reached par with Taiwan and Korea, and have fewer issues than some UV printers made in the USA. I have twice been to the Teckwin factory to inspect their quality; the most recent visit was two days.
Flora (RTZ) is close, and has improved it's quality considerably (when they saw what happened to printers manufactured for DuPont, RTZ had two choices, have no more orders from any US company, or improve their quality.
The Raster Printers H700uv is a nice combo printer from Flora. I have tested this printer in the company headquarters and then did a site-visit case study. The printshop owner and printer operator were content with this Chinese combo printer because they got good service from Raster. The DEC Legend H72HUV also functions well (it is a hybrid). I tested this printer in Florida at DEC demo center already.
And at SGIA there will be many new Korean printers (which already were high quality last year).
The only company with no UV printer visible is Seiko: of course they too have UV-curing printers under development for years, but Seiko has no manufacturing plant.
Wide Format Printers