TAFE Impressed by VersaEXPRESS RF-640

TAFE Illawarra

PROJECT DETAILS 

Roland User: Michael Doherty, TAFE Illawarra Signage Dept
Industry: Signage & Display, Education/Training
Device: Roland VersaEXPRESS RF-640 Wide Format Printer

PROJECT BACKGROUND 

As part of the ongoing Worldskills Australia competition, TAFE Illawarra needed to print the signage requirements for the WorldSkills National Competition held in Perth. After using their Roland VersaCAMM VS-640 for such jobs in the past, this was the perfect opportunity to put the new VersaEXPRESS RF-640 to the test and see how it performed in comparison. TAFE Illawarra took the RF-640 on a trial basis to complete the WorldSkills job, which involved a wide range self-adhesive vinyl, backlit and banner signage, including a number of full coverage prints. The TAFE ran several duplicate prints on the VS-640 in order to provide an accurate comparison.

PROJECT OUTCOMES

The project ran for a period of 5 weeks in order to complete the job.
A total of 2,117m2 (over 30 rolls of 1.6 x 50mtr media), were printed.
A total of 6.22 litres of ink was consumed.
A total of 2.94cc per sq. mtr ink consumption and retail cost of approx. 94cents/m2 (ex. GST).
Comparative job logs indicated that on average the RF-640 used 36% less ink than the VS-640.This equates to a saving of over $1100 for the project.

The Full Story

With a long history in the Australian Sign & Display Industry, Michael Doherty of TAFE Illawarra Signage Training Dept., knows what it takes to produce a good print job, and the technology that is required to do this reliably and with the best results. That’s why Michael has been using Roland technology for the last 15 years to power the signage training department at TAFE Illawarra.

With an ongoing involvement in the Worldskills Australia competition, TAFE Illawarra needed to print a large job for the Perth round of the recent Worldskills national’s competition. Their Roland VersaCAMM VS-640 has reliably produced such jobs over the past few years, however when approached by Roland DG to test the new VersaEXPRESS RF-640, Michael was immediately interested to see what this new technology could deliver.

“From experience with Roland, I knew the RF-640 would be reliable and deliver high quality prints,” said Michael. “I also expected the RF-640 to be faster, and from what I’d heard, that ink consumption was lower than other models.”

"Based on the ink that the VS-640 would have used, I was astounded by how little ink the RF-640 used."

TAFE Illawarra took the RF-640 for a total of 5 weeks on a trial basis to complete the Worldskills job, and during the project also ran several duplicate prints on their VS-640 in order to provide accurate data for comparison.

Michael continued, “From the outset, it was clear that the RF-640 was another quality Roland machine, which was no surprise to me. After running several jobs through the RF-640 I could tell that it was definitely a lot faster than our VS-640, and I could immediately see the productivity benefits in that. Even at these faster speeds, the print quality was better and images were sharper.”

During the trial period a total of 2,117m2 (over 30 rolls of 1.6 x 50mtr media) was printed on the RF-640 using total of 6.22 litres of ink, for a number of different graphics including some deep blacks and full coverage colour prints. This equated to 2.94cc overall per sq. mtr ink consumption and retail cost of approx. 94cents/m2 (ex. GST).

Comparative job logs indicated that on average the RF-640 used 36% less ink than the VS-640.

“Based on the ink that the VS-640 would have used, I was actually astounded by how little ink the RF-640 used,” said Michael. “ I swapped over ink cartridges far less regularly than usual, and was quite surprised with how much ink was left over.”

“This was my first experience with the newer ECO-SOL MAX® 2 inks and from what I could tell the colours were fantastic, which was expected, but the drying time was definitely faster, which I didn’t really expect to be so noticeable.”

Apart from the productivity and quality improvements, Michael was also impressed with the usability enhancements on the RF-640 and the new Roland Printer Assist iPad app.

“The front loading inks on the RF-640 were much easier to change, and not as much in the way as top loading inks on the VS-640. Also, the iPad app is a nice addition. It’s a quick and easy way to keep track of your ink usage and a convenient way to control the basic printer functions.”

Michael reluctantly handed the RF-640 back after the 5 week trial, but it is likely that this won’t be the last time that an RF-640 would be powering the signage dept. at TAFE Illawarra. “Our VS-640 is invaluable to our training facility, but technology just keeps improving and after this trial, I will certainly be looking at the RF-640 for our next printer.”

“I was so impressed,” concludes Michael. “I can’t speak highly enough of the new RF-640 and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for the best and latest wide format printer.”