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Looking for a new printer....need your opinions

Discussion in 'Digital Printing' started by gabagoo, Oct 8, 2019.

  1. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

    Jun 13, 2013
    We are in the midst of making a purchase decision and probably have similar needs and preferences. Trying to decide this week and already had narrowed the field until we got news today that the only Mimaki dealer in our half of a huge state does not recommend their products and has expressed strong recommendations even in this thread for ONLY buying latex. Now multiple posters here have diametrically opposed opinions on latex and HP, so how does somebody like us decide?

    Our expected volume of printing is expected to go up due to growth and the retirement of our now obsolete flatbed printer. We thought about doing a lamp/ink conversion on our flatbed now that gerber has washed its hands of the equipment, but it doesn't seem like its money well spent. That being said, we're never so crushed or doing last minute jobs that our workflow is impacted by print/cut jobs going back on the Roland we have for cutting. I'm assuming the uptick in speed ANY printer will have over a 10 year old Roland is substantial?

    We have a 48" plotter with OPOS which really can only cut to 46.50", so in many cases our print/cut jobs often extend out to the edges of our 52.50" print area on the Roland. Frequently losing 4-6" of print/cut capacity seems like a substantial loss of capacity and waste spread over many years.

    As far as your concern about the cost of latex heads for an HP, they are dirt cheap compared to other solvent brands and changed out as simply as pulling out an ink cartridge and plugging in a new one. I know that entire mindset feels foreign to many of us and I'm doing my best to not let my past experience or bias influence me, but so far it's been really difficult to ignore the much more frequent consumables cost of latex from an environmental standpoint. I'm sure the inks are more earth friendly than solvent, but we are wrestling with other issues as well.

    Roland appears to be moving towards a place where owners can't do ANY maintenance or even minor repairs themselves even after the warranty expires and will be expected to wait until a certified Roland tech arrives to save the day. Even for just a wiper or damper change. With our "local" reseller of several brands being over a 2 hour drive away, we want to heed so many folk's advice on that point, but their track record on reliability even just as a sign supply vendor has been spotty. They admit they have had staffing issues, but I'm not sure if that extends to the Roland service tech department.

    Compounding these decisions is the similar pricing for equivalently featured machines. If one jumped out as a huge advantage in features, cost, ease of use and productivity, it would be much easier to choose.

    Good luck on your choice. I hope it is easier to arrive at than ours has been.
  2. CanuckSigns

    CanuckSigns Very Active Member

    Nov 11, 2008
    Take a drive down here and I'll show you our epson, might even buy you lunch!
  3. Jun Lanon

    Jun Lanon Member

    Oct 9, 2018
    I use Stratojet Hawk e72. It works well for me and the cost it efficient. The show in Dallas will be in 2 weeks.
  4. White Haus

    White Haus Formally known as RJPW..........

    Apr 6, 2018
    Which inkset are you going with? We went with LUS170 CMYKlclm and LUS200 WW. Happy with the unit so far (print quality and speed is awesome) but need to get some proper profiles made for onyx so we don't have to deal with Rasterlink anymore. Man....I guess I was spoiled with Versaworks because Rasterlink is painful to learn/use. Haven't done any vehicle graphics with it yet (is LUS170 ok for simple wraps, just not 3M MCS like 200 series?) but have ran a few wall wraps and banners, and it prints like a champ. Take up is solid too I have no problem walking away from it after sending down a long job, which is more than I can say about our Rolands.
  5. Christian @ 2CT Media

    Christian @ 2CT Media Major Contributor

    Jun 15, 2009
    Mesa, Arizona
    The LUS170 is universal for us, we don't need the 200 since we have latex but we are considering the 200 white (more opacity it seems like) and 170 clear.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Christian @ 2CT Media

    Christian @ 2CT Media Major Contributor

    Jun 15, 2009
    Mesa, Arizona
    We grew our business from our Garage over the last 10 years on the backs of HP Latex Printers. In our 10th year of business (June of this year) we surpassed $9 million in lifetime sales, The first 2 Million, 3 years of business was on our L25500. Latex is a great technology, and I don't understand why all the hate on the technology and I really don't understand the concentration on graininess or lack of a huge color gamut? With our latexes, we have served many large color-conscious clients with no problems and continue to serve many of them.

    No Latex isn't perfect, no tech is, and HP leaves a lot to be desired as of the last few years when it comes to service... this was easily solved by us with partnering with the right distributor who has teeth with HP to get us taken care of. Even with that said we are actively looking for a non-HP solution, just nothing for us is competitive yet.

    Take this with a grain of salt and for what my experience is worth to you.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. TomK

    TomK Member

    Sep 22, 2015
    Latex 315 owner here, I jumped on the grain train when it came out. My next printer will be an Epson, unless something new comes out before then.

    The printer works OK for far distance viewing, anything close up and it is fugly as all get out. If stickers are something you do a lot of with close up viewing, run far away.

    Don't even get me started about the crappy support either.

    Like others said, attend the show in Dallas but I would also make sure you take YOUR files to your dealers and print samples on material that you normally use. Trust me, you'll see the difference between what your files look like on the HP Grain Train Latex stuff vs something like the Epson line.

    Don't drop $10K or more on something you don't have your files printed on, that was a huge mistake I made. Test drive it, and not with just the samples HP or Epson will give you, they are worthless.
  8. heyskull

    heyskull Very Active Member

    Sep 2, 2007
    Just scrapped an old JV3 I had in storage for if my Mutoh died.
    I'm currently thinking about just staying with Mutoh. As after 12 years of ownership and only one head change it has been a brick with only minimal maintenance and still prints as good as the day I bought it.
    My ex-boss upgraded to a HP latex and seems only to have problems with it.
    He now wishes he had listened to me and stayed with the solvent ink jet machines as he is constantly replacing heads and seems to waste lots of material just loading it up.
    Gagaboo I thought you were a Mutoh owner?

  9. gabagoo

    gabagoo Major Contributor

    Oct 10, 2006
    Vaughan, Ontario
    No sorry, never had a Mutoh.... I like the sound of an Epson, but I figure I have maybe another 4 or 5 years before I decide to pull the plug and they are pretty pricey. If I go with a Mimaki I think I get a decent deal with trade in, although I have no idea why they would want an old clunker. I'm not rushing into anything yet as mine still works although it limps a bit.
  10. BigfishDM

    BigfishDM Merchant Member

    Jun 22, 2009
    All Over
    I sell them all, GO LATEX! Come say
    For shiggles, would you send me a few of your files that come out fugly and let me see if I can have a better profile built for you or something. I have done so much printing with Latex and have only been stumped ONE time when it came to improving someones output and that was some funky pastel colors. Latex is a great machine for up close graphics like Point of sale displays, and anything I can think of that would be considered up close viewing.
  11. jpescobar

    jpescobar Member

    Jun 5, 2016
  12. premiercolour

    premiercolour A Mutoh, Mimaki dealer for sales and services

    I wouldn't find an as close dealer to you as possible. That dealer can refuse services to anyone. Find a reputable dealer closest to you. We had to take care a few messes out here in Los Angeles. Proud to say. We are a smaller scale dealer but reputable in honesty and services. Strong tech services and fast turn around ordering parts process. Order by 10 am pst for same day shipping from Mutoh and Mimaki.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. jsonpaul

    jsonpaul JASD

    Jan 3, 2014

    Hi gabagoogabagoo I think they were correct if you go to print united show to see all of them in action. I am also going down there as i was disappointed on how sign expo last month was too small and we are shopping for the Flatbed and Router.

    As per the trade in, when I got my CJV150 few years ago there was a trade in discount and they did not take the printer hence the dealer just took a photo and serial of old running wide format printer and give a trade in discount. So i still run my old printer alongside with the mimaki and eventually i scrapped the old (it was chinese brand printer)
  14. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

    Jun 13, 2013
    Thanks to some good conversations with the regional sales folks from Mimaki who took the time while out of the country to call us directly and the LA area distributor they recommend who elevated our confidence in its tech support and after sales after speaking, we're ignoring the advice to ONLY buy from our closest supplier and are buying a CJV150-300. Even with sales tax, delivery/setup, training time, a full load of 440ml inks, etc... the CJV150-300 printer looksl ike it is coming in about $7,000 less than the Roland VG2-540.

    Our local supplier's sales rep who we spend tens of thousands with each year for supplies and materials has known about our intentions to buy a new printer for months, that our current printer is down with a problem and even after promising to come visit us discuss our needs and Roland options two weeks ago and is only a 2 hour drive away, STILL hasn't shown up, provided us with a detailed quote that includes all the sales tax, delivery/setup charges, etc.... I guess we're just not that important to them.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2019

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