Looking for recommendations on Large Format printer

Hello! We've recently run into some seemingly unsolvable problems with our wide format Mimaki printer at our shop. Because of that, we're looking into the possibility of buying a new printer altogether. We are open to most brands as long as it's a 54" machine, preferably Eco Solvent/Latex. I've gathered information on a few machines, including Roland, HP, Epson, and Canon. We print banners, posters, and recently, lots of floor and wall graphics. A lot of the work we print will have outdoor application (floor graphics, A Frame signs, etc.) with or without lamination. Lots of mounting to coroplast or foam core as well.

If anyone has any recommendations for a good, reliable, easy to maintain and operate printer, please let know.

Thank you,
D
 

SoggyWinter

Well-known member
Epson S40600 here. Really disappointed in Epson, but the machine has been reliable and the color gamut and vibrancy are excellent. A downside is that the inks scratch very easily on most substrates without lamination. Another downside is that the printer advances 12-18" of media before starting to print. You're probably aware of it, but Sign101.com is a good source of wide format printer info.
 
Epson S40600 here. Really disappointed in Epson, but the machine has been reliable and the color gamut and vibrancy are excellent. A downside is that the inks scratch very easily on most substrates without lamination. Another downside is that the printer advances 12-18" of media before starting to print. You're probably aware of it, but Sign101.com is a good source of wide format printer info.
Thanks for your input. I have a couple of Epsons on my list but I think I'm leaning towards HP Latex printers at this point.
 
Well, with HP latex you must bear in mind that you need to purchase many heads, since it will request them every 2 or 3 ink cartridges you change (6 colors)
You should also know that the electrical consumption is 32 amps to cure the latex ink after printing ...
Another important issue is that it takes between 8 to 10 minutes to start up and the same delay times when turning off the equipment. Which leaves you a liability for damages when there are sudden power outages ...
 
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Well, with HP latex you must bear in mind that you need to purchase many heads, since it will request them every 2 or 3 ink cartridges you change (6 colors)
You should also know that the electrical consumption is 32 amps to cure the latex ink after printing ...
Another important issue is that it takes between 8 to 10 minutes to start up and the same delay times when turning off the equipment. Which leaves you a liability for damages when there are sudden power outages ...
You're right about the start up and shut down time...at least in my experience with an HP Latex R2000, that's definitely the case.
 

Correct Color

Well-known member
Myself, I wouldn't ask Signs101 anything. I'd also be pretty leery of making any decisions that affect the future of my business based on asking questions on the Internet.

The problem is, in the case of a question like this, people are going to answer to reinforce their own decisions. How many people answering have had experience with all the machines out there in this class at this moment?

Just as an example: I see a comment that says an Epson printer advances media before every print. Honestly, I've profiled several of them and have never noticed that, but what I do know for a fact is that everyone who owns a small series latex advances about enough media manually before every print to pass the end of the curing section -- roughly two feet. They've found by hard experience that to not do that invites head strikes.

I can also tell you that while you'll get tons of supposedly informed opinion to the contrary, latex machines are the most color-unstable inkjet printers on the market today, and the reason is the consumable printheads.

What happens to them is that after about 200 ml fired, they run a substantial risk of beginning to degrade. And the problem is that they degrade not by dropping nozzles, but effectively by changing color. When that happens, your color will shift, and your problem then is you really don't know which printhead is bad. And 200 ml is not much. The warranty is 100, but most places I walk into and check the panel, the printheads are all in the 300-500 range. You can run 100 ml through printheads on those machines in a couple heavy weeks of production.

If you're not color critical, it may not matter. But I can assure you, the problem exists.

I can tell you that in my line of work, I've seen every combination of printer, RIP and ink out there, and if it was me buying a printer in this class, I wouldn't even shop, I'd buy an Epson S80600.

But I do have my own set of criteria, which everyone else -- you in particular -- may or may not share. I have helped lots of people make informed buying decisions over the years.

Feel free to drop me a line.



Mike Adams
Correct Color
 
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jwheeler

Well-known member
Hello! We've recently run into some seemingly unsolvable problems with our wide format Mimaki printer at our shop. Because of that, we're looking into the possibility of buying a new printer altogether. We are open to most brands as long as it's a 54" machine, preferably Eco Solvent/Latex. I've gathered information on a few machines, including Roland, HP, Epson, and Canon.
@wavedaveprint, can you please share what your issues/experiences were with the Mimaki and why you're looking at other brands rather than a new Mimaki? Asking because we are looking at a new WF printer ourselves. Mimaki was one of the brands we were considering since it is offered by a couple of the local dealers we work with on other equipment. We were also considering the Roland series mostly because we want the built-in kiss-cut. Currently, we have an HP DesignJet Z5400. It's been a solid little printer, but we are getting more requests for outdoor prints and it's not designed for that. (In case anyone asks, we are not super color critical.)
 

Sertech

Member
One other thing I'd mention about the oce/ canon Colorado, the inks have a shelf life. It's an excellent machine, prints on a great amount of media, not designed to be sitting around idle
 

Bly

New member
We have a Colorado 1650 and are very happy with it.
Prior to this we had several HP latex and everything Mike Adams says about them is correct.
We also have an Epson 60600 which is colour and length accurate but the inks need time to dry and are too soft to send out unlaminated.
 

kdw75

Well-known member
We bought the Epson 40600 18 months ago. The only change I would make to it is increased ink scratch resistance, but it isn't that bad. On some materials it is pretty good, others it is so so. We print a lot of pressure sensitive vinyl and the scratch resistance on it is very good. The machine quality is great, the color consistency is amazing and we haven't needed any service yet. We only use about 1 set of cartridges every 2-3 months, so we aren't heavy users, but it has more than paid for itself and we had clients that demand same day service.

We had almost gone with latex, but got scared off because of color consistency issues.
 

Correct Color

Well-known member
We were also considering the Roland series mostly because we want the built-in kiss-cut.
Just as a couple notes of caution there: Most printers I've worked with have found that feature to not be all that beneficial. Mostly because it turns out that a good percentage of what they contour cut needs to be laminated first anyway, kind of defeating the purpose of that capability, but also because once you get busy, tying up a printer to do a cutter's job gets to be pretty inefficient.


Mike
 

jwheeler

Well-known member
Just as a couple notes of caution there: Most printers I've worked with have found that feature to not be all that beneficial. Mostly because it turns out that a good percentage of what they contour cut needs to be laminated first anyway, kind of defeating the purpose of that capability, but also because once you get busy, tying up a printer to do a cutter's job gets to be pretty inefficient.


Mike
@Correct Color , we met with a Roland rep today and found out some good news. Their units can re-register a print after it's been laminated and run as a cut-only job. This was great news in case we ever did have the need to laminate before cutting!
 

pippip

Well-known member
If they couldn't do that then nobody would buy one.

Print and cut units are primarily bought by those who just don't have the room. Yes it's handy to be able to just print and then cut a job without removing it from the machine. To me that means nothing really. It's so simple to load onto a separate cutter, we're talking seconds. There are occasions where you're best to leave your printed job a few hours before cutting anyway, vinyl tends to shrink and if you're printing with bleed and immediately cutting into the ink you can get excess curl in the finished product around the edges. On smaller decals/labels or cut vinyl work this can be a problem.

We entered the large format market two years ago. At the time I went and looked at the Roland and Mimaki. I was just about to pull the trigger on the Mimaki when I was introduced to an Epson rep. Ended up with the Epson 40600, never regretted it. In the end I got the 64" Epson (comes with takeup reel and LED lights as standard), a 64"cutter, 64" laminator and Rip for less than either the 54" Roland or 54" Mimiaki with no extras. Roland had just ditched the Epson printheads they used to use for their own and from the reviews I was reading at the time it was not a great success so I never regretted that for sure. I also felt I was really paying a premium for the Roland brand. Compared to the Epson the Roland came across as flimsy, Mimaki seemed a bit more robust.

Separate machines has a lot of advantages.
Speed - You can run the two at the same time so double the production.
Cost - In our case as mentioned it was just cheaper
Downtime - If your all in one goes down you've completely out of action. Separate machines just gives more fall back options.
Cutting - If you ever do get into the plain vinyl cutting youre gonna waste more time not being able to print.
 
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Correct Color

Well-known member
@Correct Color , we met with a Roland rep today and found out some good news. Their units can re-register a print after it's been laminated and run as a cut-only job. This was great news in case we ever did have the need to laminate before cutting!
That's fine, but the point is that by the time you've taken it off the machine to laminate it, you're going to have to reload it on something. Not having to reload at all and space-savings are the only reasons to even consider a print-and-cut machine.

The down-side is that you're committing yourself to using a machine that costs much-much-much more than a stand-alone cutter to do a cutter's job. And you won't be able to bill it at a printer's rate while you do that.


Mike
 

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