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Print-and-cut opens new markets for photo

Photo Direct and Roland DG held open days in Sydney (June 12) and Melbourne (June 16) to demonstrate the capabilities of the Roland inkjet printer range.

Tracy Lints and Steuart Meers, Photo Direct, with the Versa
Tracy Lints and Steuart Meers, Photo Direct, with the 64-inch VersaCAMM VS-1.

Among the dozen or so inkjet printers on demonstration was the Roland VersaUV LEF,  which can print onto a huge range of substrates and also onto 3D objects, such as golf balls, phone covers, ceramic wall tiles – and even drumsticks!

At the other end of the scale in pure size terms was the 64-inch VersaCAMM VS-I solvent ink printer for creating signs and durable graphics, through to sheets of adhesive stickers and stick-on phone covers.

Roland was even demonstrating its recent entry into the world of digital signage, Roland DisplayStudio.

But the sub-$10K, 20-inch VersaStudio BN-20 printer and cutter would have been the piece of equipment most likely to turn the heads of photo retailers.

– ‘Would have’ being the keywords here, as not one single photo retailer attended in either Sydney or Melbourne during the half-day sessions. In what’s perhaps a sign of the financial and entrepreneurial despondency afflicting much of the independent photo retailing community, it was printers, sign-writers and graphic design studios who rocked up.

The Roland VersaStudio printer and cutter printin to a self-adhesive vinyl substrate. It delivers a lot of added capability for a sub-$10K asking price and a meagre space requirement.
The Roland VersaStudio printer and cutter printing to a self-adhesive vinyl substrate. It delivers a lot of added capability for a sub-$10K asking price and a modest footprint..

‘I thought photo retailing people would have come to at least have a look,’ said Steuart Meers, Photo Direct. ‘The people who have come along have been surprised at the equipments’ capabilities and they see what more they could offer over what they initially thought.

‘And some of those areas definitely impinge on traditional photo. It’s demand that’s there already, and that these guys seem more enthusiastic about. They become even more enthusiastic when they are shown what the printers are capable of.

‘With an Epson wide-format you can make prints and canvas,’ he said. ‘But with these you can also offer literally hundreds of trade and consumer products using vinyl, self-adhesives and fabric, as well as more conventional substrates.’

The VersaStudio is a desktop-sized, 20-inch printer that provides the ability to print, or print-and-cut on a variety of media types for signs, labels, and clothing, as well as producing high image quality and graphics for both indoor and outdoor applications. The ECO-Sol solvent ink used with the Versa Studio will resist fading outdoors for up to 3 years.

roland-productsThe printer/cutter combination is ideal for short runs or one-offs, fully completing custom print and cutting jobs without requiring a huge investment.

And with printing resolution up to 1440dpi and a range of advanced print technologies, image quality from the VersaStudio is up to photo specialist quality.

Key features:
– Prints on paper, canvas, photo paper, clear vinyl;
– Prints from 5.9-inches to 20.3-inches widths;
– Handles substrate thickness to 1mm;
– CMYK + metallic silver for over 500 metallic colours;
– CMYK + white ink for brighter graphics;
– Roland ECO-SOL Max ink is scratch and chemical resistant, suitable for indoor and outdoor applications. It offers excellent color gamut, and crisp text;
– Automatically cuts printed graphics per specifications (no repositioning), saving time and increasing productivity;
-Windows compatible VersaStudio software;
– Roland Color System and Roland Texture Library which can produce 1000 spot colours and 70 textures;
– Equipped with VersaWorks RIP, an Adobe Postscript 3 RIP compatible with Windows operating systems.

A sheet of stick-on phone covers from the VersaCAMM VS-1.

Steuart Meers identified local retailers as a new market photo specialists should be pursuing with the expanded capabilities of a printer-cutter like the VersaStudio.

‘Photo stores don’t have to go very far for customers for signage,’ he said. ‘With retailing overall in a bit of a slump, everyone’s in the same boat. Because people aren’t buying there’s a need for POS signage, window displays, etcetera. But for some reason, photo stores don’t see themselves as being part of that.

‘There’s also a housing boom going on.The home decor market is another emerging area which photo retailers can participate in if they have the right equipment,’ he added.


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