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Advice on LEJ-640 Flatbed

Discussion in 'Roland' started by biggmann, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. biggmann

    biggmann Member

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    Brantford Ontario
    We are thinking about getting a new flatbed printer and did some research and saw a HP printer at the sign show and was considering that one but after hearing bad reviews on it decided to stay with Roland and have researched the LEJ-640 and it looks good but I would like some actual user reviews on it, their thoughts and input. We would use it for coplast, crezon mainly and roll to roll vinyl. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
     
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  2. WI

    WI Member

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    Nov 7, 2012
    First things first:

    It will NOT print a full 4x8 panel without some serious tinkering. We've gotten close to a full 96" run with a sled on the front and the back, but without that kind of serious fiddling, you're going to have to settle for 46" by 92". Max.

    This printer is HUGE. I mean absolutely HUGE. You add the tracks on the front and back for printing on panels and its footprint is close to 12' x 20'. Seriously. Also, transitioning from roll printing to panel printing is a process of about seven steps, but it's really not all that bad once you get used to it. Storing the hardware on the other hand is a serious pain in the ***.

    This printer sucks down ink like nothing I've ever seen, and I've been doing this for a while. We've been dealing with a major event this past week, so our usage has been heavy, but we blew through three 220cc Magenta catridges in a DAY (those are like $100 a pop). Also make sure that the people who sell this printer to you actually keep the ink in stock. After the first day we had it set up, our 640 was down for about three or four days because our distributor didn't have the ink in stock. The excuse was that they don't like to keep the stuff on hand because the shelf-life of UV ink is only about three months. Yes, hell was raised.

    Buy the air-cleaner. It works great, and without it, the stink this thing puts off will cross your eyes, and probably make you sterile.

    There is NOT a USB port on the back of this machine. Ethernet only.


    Now, the good stuff.

    The print quality, even on high-speed, is pretty damn good.

    Speaking of high-speed, on the fastest print mode this thing will hammer out a 4'x8' image in a shade less than twenty minutes. We plowed through what used to be a twelve hour run in a half a day with this printer.

    If you're printing designs that are not full-bleed, it's actually fairly reasonable with ink usage. I got a set of six 22x28 Sintra panels out of it in about 6ccs the other day. Not as frugal as an inkjet, but we're also not paying for decal material, laminate, or the labor to do anything beyond cut them apart.

    Versa Works is simple. It's not a jangled-up mess like Onyx and it doesn't have the two or three huge irritations that RasterLink does. This is, admittedly, the impression of someone who's only used this software for a few weeks, but so far so good. I'll let you know more once I really start messing with the white and the gloss inks next week.


    TL;DR:
    There are some gotchas, but if you've got the cash, it's a buy.

    *EDIT*
    With a belt-feed (which you cannot get aftermarket, a printer like this either is or isn't belt-fed) you apparently CAN print a full 4'x8' sheet edge-to-edge-to-edge. However, ask your dealer about this, and have them do a demo before you buy based on that qualification.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
  3. Coloradosigns

    Coloradosigns Major Contributor

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    it's....really...really..slow
     
  4. ChicagoGraphics

    ChicagoGraphics Major Contributor

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    Watching paint dry is quicker then that machine!!
     
  5. insignia

    insignia Very Active Member

    I can't imagine how unproductive 133 s.f./hr would be, and I'm assuming that's in some sort of "production" mode that's marginal print quality... How slow is it when printing at a real-world sellable resolution? We're running coro at 4 minutes per 4x8' sheet on our CET and I swear to you sometimes we still can't keep up, and we're by no means a big volume shop.

    I get that it's an affordable way to step into flatbed printing, but I'm looking at the specs and I'm not really seeing many positives there...

    -slow
    -cartridge-based ink supply
    -not field upgradeable
    -only prints up to 1/2" thick
    -slow
    -pinch-roller feed
    -26lb board weight maximum
    -slow

    Heck, the pinch-roller feed alone would be a deal-breaker for me.

    I have to assume that by making this purchase you're intending to use this as a tool to increase your volume of work. My prediction is if you get too much busier this will become a major bottleneck in your workflow really quickly. This is critical. Don't make a buying decision based solely on your workflow today. Any flatbed printer is no small purchase, don't buy something that you can't grow into. Plan for future demand. If you literally do no work right now at all that's one thing, you've got some expansion room that this machine may allow for, but if you have any existing market for this work as it is my gut says buying this would be a mistake.

    Up your budget $20-$30k and step up to a real industrial production-oriented machine. Even if you don't need that kind of capacity at the moment, spending that money now will save you many times that much in the near future.
     
  6. 858Graphics

    858Graphics www.858graphics.com

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    Apr 4, 2009
    san diego
    Stay away from the HP machines, they are terrible and almost impossible to get support for.

    The Rolands may lack features but are rock solid and the support is unmatched.

    Just my 2 cents, from a guy that owns Roland and HP machines :)
     
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