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Question Wide Format Printer Recommendation

Discussion in 'Product and Supplier Referrals' started by radji, Jul 8, 2018.

  1. radji

    radji New Member

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    Jul 7, 2018
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    Howdy all! Not new to the printing business but very new to the world of wide format printing.

    Currently working for a small city government and utilizing an HP T1200, HP T1300, and Ricoh W3601 for our wide format printing needs.

    The issue are the HP plotters. They are great for regular color prints on bond paper. But I am now printing in color on several special media and I know my HP Designjets aren't cut out for constantly printing on these substrates. Here's what I am looking for:

    Aqueous or eco-solvent based wide format printer;

    Prints on rolls 36" wide; 48" wide would be preferred, but I haven't found anything other that Mutoh Value Jet that is compact enough can print on rolls up to 51";

    Currently the media I print on: uncoated bond paper, coated bond paper, 5mil mylar, 8mil adhesive backed matte vinyl, 15mil scrim vinyl;

    Media I have been asked to print on in the immediate future: 1/8 "coroplast"...I think this is the trade name for the corrugated plastic sheets.

    The printer I am looking for needs to have ink with good UV resistance. One of my vendors suggested an offline cold laminator for the outdoor signs I print on the scrim vinyl. But my outside print shop told me that its a very bad idea to try laminating scrim vinyl and I need a printer with UV resistant inks.

    I know the corrugated plastic sheets will require a hybrid wide format. I am open to any and all suggestions/alternative. I know printing on regular bond paper and corrugated plastic is a tall order for one machine and if needed, I can print on vinyl that I stick on the corrugated plastic. Just need to know what finisher I need to roll the vinyl on the corrugated plastic to smooth out the wrinkles and bubbles.

    None of my vendors could give me a recommendation as they don't think there's a machine that can handle all the media I need to print on. Open to any pricing (I do mean that literally), since price isn't the big issue. Space is. I am running out of space in my print shop so a flatbed printer or an 8 ft wide format printer are out of the question.
     
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  2. Gino

    Gino Major Contributor

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    How long of a time frame are these exterior signs supposed to last ??
     
  3. radji

    radji New Member

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    Jul 7, 2018
    San Diego, CA
    Up to 4 weeks outdoors in direct sunlight. With some of the banners, we want to be able to reuse them several years in a row. So 4 weeks up, then stored for a year, then 4 weeks the following year.
     
  4. AKwrapguy

    AKwrapguy Active Member

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    So if you want to look at printing on a variety of media don't rule out Latex. The new Gen3 inks are pretty UV resistance and scratch resistance.

    I don't know how Aqueous/eco-solvent will print on mylar. That may require something with a thermal component like an edge or latex, but again I'm not sure there might be someone on here that as had luck with that.

    As far as printing onto coroplast, without a flatbed you will just print onto adhesive and apply to that. If you have a laminator you can use that to apply or you can use a roller.
     
  5. radji

    radji New Member

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    Jul 7, 2018
    San Diego, CA
    Definitely not ruling out latex. Just was told that eco-solvent has better UV resistance than latex. The Designjet aqueous inks print fairly well on the mylar. I just need to leave them to dry for several days. My mylar printing is mostly engineering drawings anyways, as is my coated and uncoated bond prints. Looking more and more into the coroplast, the consensus seems to be print on the adhesive backed vinyl then mount it to the coroplast board. The print allegedly looks better anyway compared to printing directly onto the coroplast. The downside is I have to look for a cold press lamination roller to do the mounting with.
     
  6. ams

    ams Premium Subscriber

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    I only recommend Roland, I am a die hard fan and have used them for 13 years without issues. You can get a 54" TrueVis SG printer and cutter combined for only $14,995
    You can also get a stand alone printer VersaEXPRESS RF-640 (64") for $14,995 or there is a sale right now, bundle it with a GR-640 (64" Plotter) for $19,995.

    Roland makes some higher end stuff, but didn't know your budget.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. AKwrapguy

    AKwrapguy Active Member

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    One thing to also think of with eco-solvent is the out gassing as well as the fumes which should be vented. Some of the bigger latex machines require 220, so this is also something to think about.
     
  8. FactorDesign

    FactorDesign Member

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    Feb 1, 2018
    Raleigh, NC
    If money isn't an issue, but space is... can you not rent additional space? Trying to find a small wide format printer that can handle all of those media requirements is difficult at best, if not impossible. Flatbed UV would be my go to personally, or that new HP flatbed once some other people have done the testing first.
     
  9. BigfishDM

    BigfishDM Merchant Member

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    You will need a hybrid Flatbed machine, they make machines that can do both.
     
  10. radji

    radji New Member

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    Jul 7, 2018
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    Budget is somewhat flexible. I need justify the expense and show that the cost of the new printer will be saved by us not having to use an outside print shop anymore for wide format. The TrueVis 54 series looks nice. I will have to check the specs out in detail.
    I was told the opposite. Eco-solvent and UV Eco-solvent need no ventilation. 220 is not an issue. I can get a new 220 outlet run to wherever I end up putting the printer.
    No, space is the biggest issue. As I stated in my original post, I work for a small/medium city government. My print shop is inside City Hall. There's no where for me to rent additional space. And I don't have an unlimited budget. What I am trying to do is see what it would cost to buy a wide format that does everything I need it to. Then compare that cost to what we spend each year sending wide format jobs to an outside printer. I need to show the printer's cost would be recovered thru the savings then. Unfortunately there's no space for me to put a flatbed printer.

    I was looking at those. But I can't find one smaller than an 80" wide roll. Way too big for my small print shop.
     
  11. AKwrapguy

    AKwrapguy Active Member

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    Any solvent needs to be vented. Eco-solvent not as much as standard solvent, but yes especially in a smaller shop or print room, you need to be able to extract the fumes and bring in fresh air. I don't care what any marketing pamphlet says or salesmen thinks or 'believes', there needs to be venting and depending on your setup is depending on how much.

    About how many sqft of material do you think you be putting through the machine in a month? This is also a big factor to think of when buying a printer as there are consumables and maintenance things to think about for each type of printer.
     
  12. BigfishDM

    BigfishDM Merchant Member

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    Well I can find you one no problem, I am the resident nerd when it comes to this stuff.
     
  13. ams

    ams Premium Subscriber

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    I've been running an Eco-Sol Roland for 5 years now with no fresh air, I can't even smell it. Also no reason to get a hybrid.
     
  14. BigfishDM

    BigfishDM Merchant Member

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    http://cetcolor.com/wp/k2-250h/
    I didn't notice the part about using vinyl to mount to boards if you have to. Get a HP Latex 115, its without question the right machine for what you are doing in my opinion. Give me a call I am local to you and can definitely show you why Latex would be the best option. You would partner it up with a GFP laminator so you can mount the vinyl to your corrugated. Depending on your requirements we could look at other latex models but latex will be the way to go. No outgassing, No Fumes, No wasted inks, No daily Maintenance, No Banding, User changeable heads, you don't need to run it everyday. It will print all the bond papers you can imagine.
     
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    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. EffectiveCause

    EffectiveCause Premium Subscriber

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    I agree with BigFish go with latex. Its so versatile and fast you could probably get rid of the old printers to make room if you had to.
     
  16. AKwrapguy

    AKwrapguy Active Member

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    You can't smell it because you have become desensitized to it. It happened to me as well.
     
  17. ams

    ams Premium Subscriber

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    I guess that is a good thing
     
  18. Gino

    Gino Major Contributor

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    How accessible is this shop area of yours ?? Sometimes it's tough to navigate these things up and down stairs or through hallways. You'll almost need a loading dock for most of these machines or incredibly strong groups of people.

    As for odors and getting used to things..... anyone can get used to having poison ivy, that doesn't make it alright to grow in your house. In an enclosed atmosphere and as many people working in a building like you've described, you're bound to find people who will say.... oooo, what's that foul smell and you might not sense it at all. You will need to meet EVERY OSHA and code law on the books...... you're City Hall afterall.

    It might be better to rent a garage down the street and set up shop in there.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  19. AKwrapguy

    AKwrapguy Active Member

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    Not really. It's almost like that small pain in your abdomen, it's not so bad, and after a while 'you just got used to it' never bother to get it checked out and never really got any worse anyways..... 10 years later their removing a 15lb tumor from you in a 12 hour surgery.

    But it's fine you know you cause it's a good thing to get used to something that has negative effects on your health and those around you.
     
  20. ams

    ams Premium Subscriber

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    English please?
     
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