The Japanese company Roland DG recently invited distributors and the press to the grand premiere of its new printer platform at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. Global Print Monitor and All About... Signage were on hand for the biggest product expansion to date. By Sabine Slaughter
Above the Formula 1 pits at the circuit, Roland DG unveiled its latest innovations. Also present was Bob Bell, Strategic Advisor of the Formula 1 BWT Alpine Team. Roland DG is in cooperation with the racing team whereby the race cars are quickly and easily decorated with vehicle wraps from the company's printers.
Kohei Tanabe, President and CEO of Roland DG clarified the company's goal: to promote creativity and enthusiasm worldwide. " Through innovative digital solutions, we enable people around the world to experience the wonder and joy of creativity, and the wonder and excitement that comes from it."
The Japanese company had been constantly reshaping its portfolio through innovation since its spin-off from Roland Music to anticipate the demands of the market and its customers, and create innovative solutions for future tasks. "Innovation is in our DNA," explained Kohei Tanabe.
As a global brand with a local presence, the company has achieved a 26.5 per cent market share in the print & cut sector in recent years, making it the market leader in visual communication in its class. Customer loyalty is very high which is achieved through communication and listening.
The medium-term core strategy includes Roland DG becoming a lean organisation. The structural reform, started in 2021, should be continued with the reorganisation of the portfolio in 2023 and the associated growth. For example, the company has also moved a large part of its production from Hamamatsu to Thailand. The transformation is to be pursued under the motto "Shift" (conversion, change).
"The pace of innovation at Roland DG is fast - new platforms and co-creation strategies enable a quick response to market needs and the expansion of new product lines," says Kohei Tanabe. This included cartridge-less inks and common parts across all wide-format printers. "The next generation of printers for the next generation of printing" would now become a reality with the TrueVis platform.
The large format market is on the move. More and more applications, possibilities and innovations offer print companies new opportunities to strengthen their production, to engage in further markets and thus to expand their portfolio.
Print service providers need different technology segments to meet their customers' demands in terms of quality, but also media and applications, says the Hamamatsu-based company. At the same time, the ecological, communicative and interactive changes in society and its needs must be satisfied quickly and comprehensively. Not only the pandemic but also worldwide natural events always required the market to react quickly to events by means of communication and functionality.
Tony Miller, President of Global Sales and Marketing at Roland DG, comments: "User needs have changed and continue to change against a backdrop of rapid technological innovation, social change and growing awareness of environmental issues. In this context, print helps to convey information and create a positive message.
We are pleased to be able to support our customers in this changing landscape with the introduction of the new TrueVIS series models to offer them more choice and innovative solutions. Regardless of which print technology they choose, our customers can rely on the same industry-leading TrueVIS print quality and reliability across the board."
A common platform
That's why the company, which is committed to innovation, has introduced six new wide-format printers. These are all based on a common platform: TrueVis. Among other things, this ensures that there are no longer different construction methods and parts, software and its components, but one basis on which all printers are built. This reduces learning curves, service and maintenance requirements and repairs.
Building on the legacy of the TrueVIS series, Roland DG expects these devices to revolutionise the printing industry by integrating UV printing and cutting technology (with the prolific LG series and multifunctional MG series) and Roland's first large format printer with water-based resin ink (AP-640). Together with the four Eco-Solvent models launched in March 2022, this brings the TrueVIS range to a total of ten printers.
All newly introduced printers feature the new Eco-Pouches with a capacity of 750 millilitres for ink supply. The time of print cartridges with a high plastic content is over, says Kevin Shigenoya, Vice President, Digital Printing Business Division at Roland DG. With this, the company would make a further contribution to sustainability.
The TrueVis range is characterised by high image quality and supports a wide range of applications. The new model with water-based resin inks offers a natural expression by exploiting the texture of the material and is equipped with environmentally friendly inks. High resolution can be created with the new UV models. Three-dimensional effects for the reproduction of artwork and tactile communication elements such as Braille can thus be realised.
Depending on the type of ink, different high-performance print heads are installed in the new printing as well as printing and cutting devices. However, the Roland DG spokespersons did not want to reveal which ones.
The new large format printers
The LG series (LG-640, LG-540, LG-300) of the UV Print & Cut machines has an integrated heater to warm up the substrates before printing. It achieves a speed of 21.3 square metres per hour, a maximum resolution of 1,200 dots per inch, has an automatic calibration system with M-GAP adjustment and an integrated rewinder as standard.
The TrueVis MG series (MG-640, MG-300) is the successor to the VersaUV LEC2 series. It now has an optimised curing system and can achieve at least 11.3 square metres per hour in high-speed mode. This "all-in-one" solution can cut, print, die-cut, perforate, varnish and emboss. The maximum achievable resolution is 1,400 dots per inch. The machine is compatible with the ET-30/64 extension table for printing on solid substrates. It can also be equipped with the TB-30 tension bar for printing flexible packaging.
With the AP-640, Roland DG introduced the manufacturer's first water-based resin printer. It has a new piezo print head with variable print dots arranged in a staggered layout. The newly developed TA resin ink provides True Rich Colour 3 and is Greenguard certified. With optimiser, 23 square metres per hour are achieved. The maximum resolution is 1,200 dots per inch. A window at the front provides a view of the print. A warm air-based drying unit completes the unit.
Common to all units is the new seven-inch touch panel. The new hardware system included in all models offers significant improvements in user interaction and digital connectivity through Roland DG Connect. This system is designed to increase competitiveness and significantly reduce user downtime.
Already launched in April 2021, Roland DG Connect will become the common connectivity platform for TrueVis machines. In addition to cloud-based device monitoring, a dashboard has been added to view costs and profits. It also provides system and pre-maintenance monitoring of all added machines.
In addition, a new automatic calibration system and media loading and unloading system have been added to the devices, along with the arrangement of staggered print heads. A new version of the VersaWorks RIP ensures faster processing.