What do sign shop owners reveal to Nicholas Hellmuth about their experiences with the Roland SolJet Pro II FJ-540, Roland SolJet Pro II EX SJ-640, SJ-740 EX, Roland SOLJET PRO II EX SJ-1000 EX? Print

Roland makes a solidly constructed printer. We know because we just visited three sign shops and asked them how their Roland SolJet printer was performing. But our site-visit case study involves other aspects of the inks, substrates: we ask what colors are troublesome to produce; we ask about head strikes, banding, adhesion problems, and a lot that you might profit from taking time to read about in our FLAAR Reports.

When a printer is weak at something, a new ploy of advertising agencies is to try to dazzle the readers with misleading claims that the printer is actually best at these features. So if your printer is slow you claim it has “blazing speed.” If your printer is weak at blue or cyan color gamut, then feature blue and cyan in your advertising and say how good you are at these colors.

So we visited three sign shops that had Roland SolJet printers. We asked them what colors were not possible to print with Roland inks. We got the truth.

We also asked them about the fumes emitted by the supposedly “eco” inks. You (and your nose, and your health) will be surprised at the results from actual print shops that have installed “mild” solvent inks.

Why does no one else tell you this? Because they are selling printers. FLAAR is a research institute at a university. We don’t have to sell printers, or inks, or media, or RIPs.

Instead we provide truthful information, now available in a comprehensive suite of reports on the Roland SolJet wide format inkjet printers.

If you seek the “blazing speed” that some printers’ ads claim, then you might want to learn about the Encad NovaJet 1000i. This printer is fast enough to use as an offset printing machine.

Yes, we visited a multi-million dollar sign shop in Ohio that has six Encad printers, including two new Encad NovaJet 1000i. They can print up to 1000 copies of signs, posters, or banners and earn enough profit to pay for the printers within a few months.

Roland Soljet eco solvent printer
Here is Nicholas inspecting a Roland SolJet eco-solvent printer in Thessaloniki, Greece. Since Dr Hellmuth is asked to lecture on digital imaging all around the world, he has also undertaken site visit case studies of Roland printers in Mumbai, India, in Guatemala City (Central America) and in the capital city on the Island of Malta
Roland eco solvent inkjet printer in Saint Luis
Professor Hellmuth inspecting a Roland SolJet eco-solvent printer at a sign shop.

Does this mean we recommend the Encad over the Roland? No, we are not here to sell any one printer over the other. Our role is to reveal the true benefits and downsides of all wide format printers so you can reach an informed decision. If a printer costs thousands of dollars, surely it makes sense to invest some due diligence and acquire the FLAAR Reports before you possibly make a mistake for the wrong reason.

You can read about the facts yourself, since FLAAR checked out this sign shop and wrote up a site-visit case study.

We also have reports about Canon, ColorSpan, Mimaki, Mutoh, and Gandinnovations. We cover UV-curable flatbed printers too.

But first, learn about the Roland SolJet. Maybe this printer is what is best for you and your print shop? We asked the sign shop owner whether he was content with his purchase and would he recommend the Roland SolJet printer to others? But you won’t know for sure until you can read what other end-users say about it. So far, when we ask, all we are told about are problems with eco-solvent inks: they don’t stick; they are wiped off with alcohol wipes; you need costly coated media, etc.

This is not our FLAAR evaluation, this is the voice of people who use these printers or others who ask about these printers. We find this sad, because Roland itself is a reputable company. The managers are all hard-working. We don’t understand why they went with this pseudo-solvent ink that Mimaki was daring enough to admit three years ago would not work whatsoever.

But now things are improving for Roland

We always try to find a bright side, namely that the new third-generation eco-solvent ink is not as faulty as the first two generations. And, even Roland is getting away from eco-solvent ink. At the Dubai Middle East ’06 sign printer trade show we got to see the new generation Roland printer, the AJ-1000.


FLAAR Reports on mild & lite-solvent printers
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Most recently updated February 16, 2006.
Previously updated Nov. 3, 2004. First posted September 27, 2004.