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If you prefer Summa over Graphtec or Roland. I'm curious why? Fill me in

Discussion in 'Summa' started by s7graphics, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. s7graphics

    s7graphics New Member

    Jun 9, 2013
    I own a couple of graphtecs and roland cutters. I have not owned a summa yet. I was reading on another post and many praises for the summa. I'm wondering what makes a Summa better then a Graphtec/Roland other then the customer service? Is it the speed? accuracy? ease of use? special functions? Somebody sell me on a SUMMA!!!
  2. Biker Scout

    Biker Scout Very Active Member

    Jan 24, 2008
    Las Vegas
    Actually, if you are just interested in a plotter, Ioline possibly has the best, well made plotters on the market. They are made in USA, and they guarantee 150 foot tracking. Wanna make your own perfectly equal width pinstripes? Ioline SmartTrac!
  3. FatCat

    FatCat Very Active Member

    Feb 12, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    If you are perfectly happy with what you have, and those Graphtecs and Rolands are woking fine, why do you need a Summa?

    Usually, people that upgrade to a better piece of equipment found that they were having issues with their current machine(s) and at some point say "I need something better". This was my scenario, and similar to many others I have heard that upgraded to Summa. I had 2 Rolands prior to my current Summa D-140. I can say without hesitation the Summa is better built, more precise and accurate. The OPOS for contour cutting digital printed media is by far the best I've used or seen. Many times I have neglected to put any bleeds on small stickers and the Summa does such a good job with tracking and accuracy that I actually got away without it showing. Plus, the 3 times I have had an issue or problem with my Summa, a quick call to their tech support placed me in contact with a very knowledgeable person who helped me resolve the issue quickly and easily.

    Please understand I am not bashing Roland or Graphtec. I know they are very capable cutters and many folks have them and love them. However, I look at the Summa like an American farmer looks at a John Deere, or how a logger looks at a Stihl chainsaw. They are a commercial grade tool that has a long history with a great reputation and they have excellent service and support in the event you ever need it.

    But again, the question is, do YOU need it? :smile:
  4. particleman

    particleman Member

    Feb 1, 2008
    I personally would never buy a Graphtec going forward. Used the FC5100 and then the FC7000 MKII for several years. My biggest gripe is the cut accuracy, I can't even begin to explain how many jobs we've done on the 7000 and had to work around the cut accuracy limitations. Don't get me wrong the cutter is really fast if you want it to be a straight vinyl cutter, but for print and cut I would not start there.

    Summa has an impressive line of print and cut machines, some of them you'll pay top dollar for but they are built really well and I've heard great things. I wish I had more print and cut experience with them, but only cut vinyl experience on the smaller d-60 and d-75 machines. Both of them I really liked.

    Interesting IOLINE was mentioned, our shop used those 10+ years and beat them up pretty good. After the 2nd and 3rd factory refurb we finally retired them.
  5. gabagoo

    gabagoo Major Contributor

    Oct 10, 2006
    Vaughan, Ontario
    Summa are the best for one very good reason...... You call the support line within warranty or out of warranty and you get someone live within seconds...this for me is is a genius marketing move and I will be a Summa supporter forever based on that. having said that my main cutter is a Graphtec FC4100 and it is a workhorse. My Summa is mainly for cutting printed graphics with the opos eye....
  6. bob

    bob Major Contributor

    Nov 4, 2005
    What are you doing that would require such accuracy? You're cutting vinyl, not doing neurosurgery or splitting atoms.

    There is one time you have to accommodate the perfectly acceptable cutting tolerances if you're contour cutting a full bleed. You always extend the image ~1/10" +- outside the contour cut path. Only a diplomate of Pollyanna U or some other flavor of fool would attempt to cut a full bleed right on the edge. No competent operator no way no how would do such a silly thing.

    Another time would be if you're cutting a plethora of small images on ridiculously long sheets of vinyl. Once again, most normal operators print as many short, like 4' or so, sheets as necessary rather than one huge sheet. Not only are smaller sheets easier to wrangle, if you manage to screw one up you haven't screwed up the entire job.
  7. FrankW

    FrankW Very Active Member

    Oct 19, 2008
    I think it depends on the application you want to do if a summa is just "nice to have" or "urgently needed". Summa have - depending on the model - some features which are second to none on the market:

    Tangential knife: Currently Summa is the only producer of roll cutting plotters who offers a model with true tangential driven knife. This have advantages in several ways, for example with thicker media.

    OPOS X: the Summa OPOS contour cutting system can use up to 128 markers to improve accuracy in difficult situations, it can compensate an eventual media bowing (smiley) effect with OPOS XY, it can do completely automatic batch contour cutting with using OPOS Barcode, it makes contour cutting of multiple copies of the same sheet really easy with OPOS SHEET MODE, and should improve accuracy on long tracks with using OPOS PANNELING. By the way the marker recognition is one of the most reliable on the market since they use a white light sensor. I know roland contour cutting well, and the Roland Quadralign in comparison to the Summa OPOS is much slower, much more difficult to calibrate and much more unreliable in marker recognition.

    There are some other accessories not available on other plotters: OPOS-CAM camera-based contour cutting system (not the same functionality as the other, but really speedy), a take-up unit for cutting long jobs or multiple jobs and so on.

    On cause because I like Summa very much is that I work at a summa dealer and been a summa supporter for nearly 17 years now :D .
  8. tomence

    tomence Very Active Member

    Feb 10, 2009
    After a year or so of using my Summa D75 series which is the lowest model you can buy from Summa, i am not very impressed, used to have graphtec FC8000 and FC700 and i really liked the small detailed cuts that Graphtec can do but not the Summa. I don't know why everybody says Summa is better over Graphtec i don't see it. Going back to Graphtec. My production time slowed down since i bought the Summa.
  9. particleman

    particleman Member

    Feb 1, 2008
    Why do you assume I'm talking about atomic accuracy? I'm not. A cutter is useless if it won't cut predictably accurate, at best horribly frustrating to use day to day. We would cut entire 54" x 150' rolls of vinyl decals with borders/bleeds in 3'-6' sheets and toss out a lot of random sets because of inconsistent cuts. That is what I'm talking about. Trust me I don't need a lecture on how to setup a bleed.
  10. Asuma01

    Asuma01 Member

    Nov 19, 2013
    Bend, OR
    I love our Summa S140 T series. It was a huge upgrade over our Graphtec.
    The tangential cutting is a must have. Yeah its a little slower but we love the accuracy. Especially when it comes to small fonts and such. Plus the tracking is always spot on.

    Only thing I wish it handled better is sandblast mask.
  11. Bly

    Bly Very Active Member

    Mar 9, 2004
    We love our D160R.
    OPOS is easy and accurate.
    Sure it's not great at 2mm high text but who makes money cutting that kind of stuff?
    I just tell clients we don't cut anything under 10mm.
  12. ProColorGraphics

    ProColorGraphics Very Active Member

    Apr 1, 2009
    My FC8000 was a total POS!! My S140T hasn't missed a beat!
  13. Ditchmiester

    Ditchmiester Active Member

    Mar 24, 2011
    Oswego, IL
    I feel the same. I hated the days I had to use my FC8000 and since I got my S2 T Series I want to use it as much as possible.
  14. Robert Gruner

    Robert Gruner Member

    Mar 6, 2012
    houston tx
    Vinyl Cutters peeked 10 years ago. The typical sign shop went from cutting adhesive backed vinyl for making banners to digitally printing those banners. The typical sign shop's vinyl cutter has been relegated to die-cutting decals. That said, at the peek, the Summa Tangential Knife vinyl cutters were the BEST and the most EXPENSIVE. The Summa cutters were built in Belgium where the Euro was under seige by the Yen. Very nice Japanese cutters from Graphtec, Roland, and Mimaki were selling for as much as 30% less. Nothing much has changed the past 10 years. The end user is going to get what he pays for. Today, I would encourage construction companies that plan on cutting large quantities if prismatic film or other business models where adhesive backed vinyl was being cut for long periods to purchase the Summa T Series vinyl cutter; likewise, I would encourage sign shop owners planning to purchase a vinyl cutter for die-cutting decals digitally printed to look to the considerably less expensive Graphtec, Roland, or Mimaki cutter.
  15. chester215

    chester215 Just call me Chester.

    Sep 29, 2011
    Naugatuck, CT
    We have both an Ioline and a Summa d140R.
    We use the 10+ year old Ioline for everything but contour cutting.
    Our Ioline is a simple, easy to operate cutter and will cut under the end pinch rollers which the Summa ( and possibly others ) will not.

    I stand corrected.
    See next post below.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2014

    PHILJOHNSON Sales Manager

    Jul 23, 2010
    Seattle, WA

    I just wanted to clarify that you can in fact cut over the pinch wheel locations with Summa cutters. Summa cutters have a feature called "extended load", which allows users to set their origin point all the way to the edge of the material. So, if you have a 48" cutter, and load a 48" wide material, you are able to cut the full 48".
  17. Pat Whatley

    Pat Whatley Major Contributor

    Sep 29, 2003
    Wetumpka, AL
    Because Roland sucks. Period. 10' tracking was almost impossible on our three Roland plotters and cutting pressure was iffy at best. The only thing that was worse than the Color Camm we bought from them was the service and support on the machine. One of the happiest days in the shop was the day that first Summa box showed up on the delivery truck.

    I'm sitting here watching one of my Summa plotters that has one plastic end cover busted off, the other one is held on with strips of tape, covered in paint and grime and is halfway through cutting 100' of 1" letters without a hitch. This thing has been beaten and abused and still just hums right along doing its job perfectly every time. At the rate its going it will never have to be replaced but if it does I'm not even looking at another company.
  18. Asuma01

    Asuma01 Member

    Nov 19, 2013
    Bend, OR
    From my experience even the summas cant cut prismatic effectively.
  19. chester215

    chester215 Just call me Chester.

    Sep 29, 2011
    Naugatuck, CT
    Sorry, I misspoke.
    Thank you for the correction.

    I do not remember if it is each job or every time you load a roll of material you need to go into the keypad and change the setting to extended load. We originally planned on using the summa for everything when we purchased it, but we change rolls of material on almost every job. The Ioline we have is just simpler and quicker to set up, just put the cutting head where you want to start and press one button to set it.
    I have been told in the past by summa that you cannot set it for extended load for all jobs by default.
    Maybe some day they will update their programming.
    Don't get me wrong, the summa is still a good cutter and tech support is excellent, it is just the one thing I have found that doesn't work well for me.
  20. splizaat

    splizaat Very Active Member

    Sep 19, 2007
    Pac NW
    Is this even true on an older D60???

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