Versant 180 Installed

Windward

Member
Windward Graphics has just installed a Versant 180 to replace its long-serving Xerox 700. We also considered the KM 2070 and Ricoh 5200. The KM machine was much more expensive with not much benefit. The Ricoh did not meet our requirements for paper handling. As with any upgrade, there are positive and negative impacts.

POSITIVE
Compared with the X700, the V180 is faster, handles paper better, and has more consistent color and better image quality. Most important to us was accurate image placement on both sides of a sheet. The automated image registration utility is fast and accurate. Front-to-back register is excellent but there are still tiny variations. We can automatically duplex up to 300 gsm stock and our experience so far has been good. Color consistency throughout a run has been much better than on the X700. We can also print envelopes and have been successful testing runs on #10 size. These features meet our expectations for improved efficiency but there are some problems.

NEGATIVE
Our primary issue is with EFI software. We create many of the jobs we print using Quark XPress on the Macintosh. The communication between the Mac printer driver, Command Workstation, and the V180 is unstable. We can ask for a page size in the printer driver but the file sometimes arrives at Command Workstation with a different size. We have also been able to send a file from CW to the V180 and cause the printer to hang with no error message. Recovery from paper jams on the V180 takes more time than on the X700. If you have a few jams in a run, you can lose a lot of time.

The V180 has a new fuser design using a belt instead of rollers. This is supposed to eliminate the need for multiple fusers for different paper sizes. On the X700, switching to a larger paper size on a fuser that had run smaller sheets resulted in feint scuffs on the larger sheets. We had one failure when the V180 fuser belt slipped on its transport causing an irrecoverable fault. To get to the belt, the technician had to disassemble the fuser to move the belt back into position. The V180 also comes with a fuser stand and special lifters to remove the hot component. This seems like a step backward as replacing the fuser in the X700 meant just lifting out the assembly and dropping in another. We'll see how the new component fares over time. Also, this now requires a service call instead of operator intervention.

Envelope printing is not as easy as it might be. Even though the V180 has a page size for #10 envelopes, it doesn't work. Trying to use the V180 #10 page size causes the machine to hang with no error message. You have to create a custom page size in the V180 and send your file with the same size specs.

Hopefully, we will be able to find solutions to these issues without constant workarounds.
 
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PricelineNegotiator

Well-known member
I don't know if you can post the exact costs of your click charges and how much you bought the machine for, especially considering you posted your exact business name. I think this is listed in your contract with Xerox and possibly again when you sign up for a forum account here.
 

AP90

Well-known member
The V180 has a new fuser design using a belt instead of rollers. This is supposed to eliminate the need for multiple fusers for different paper sizes. On the X700, switching to a larger paper size on a fuser that had run smaller sheets resulted in feint scuffs on the larger sheets. We had one failure when the V180 fuser belt slipped on its transport causing an irrecoverable fault. To get to the belt, the technician had to disassemble the fuser to move the belt back into position. The V180 also comes with a fuser stand and special lifters to remove the hot component. This seems like a step backward as replacing the fuser in the X700 meant just lifting out the assembly and dropping in another. We'll see how the new component fares over time. Also, this now requires a service call instead of operator intervention.
If the belt design is anything like the 1000i (which i figured it should be considering the 1000 was the first Xerox to have the belt) then it actually isn't that hard to replace. I deal with issues on ours all the time related to the fuser. Simply takes a minute and your ready to take out the belt assembly. I can do everything from changing the pressure roller, fingers, and all other rollers outside of the fuser and inside the belt assembly. Ive replaced a number of fuser belts. Wait until you shred one of those. Looks awful and you wonder how it doesn't tear up the machine. But anyways, just ask the tech if they'll teach you how to work on the fuser. Saves so much in down time.

P.S. don't ever put the fuser back in without connecting the wires. Forgot to do that one time and the machine locks you out and you have to have a tech come in and go into diagnostics to unlock the machine. Such a pain in the a@# for a stupid mistake.
 

MailGuru

Well-known member
PRICING
Cost of the V180 was $55k (we purchase rather than lease). The machine includes dual oversized feed drawers, production booklet maker, interposer, external EFI controller, spectrophotometer, and color profiler. A similarly equipped KM 2070 was $83k before negotiation. Color click charge is $0.044 up to 8.5x11. Over that size is $0.049 and 13x26 pages are $0.137. B&W charge is $0.0099.
Prices of all machines, regardless of vendor, vary greatly for the same machine. There are end of quarter, end of year deals. There are incentives for replacing a competitors machine, bundling savings for accompanying software, and buying a "new" machine that has been used in the showroom for demo's. There are periodic sales campaigns due to overstocked inventory, or premiums for under-stocked inventory. There are individual cases where a machine may have been placed, and then pulled several months later due to financial turmoil of the original receiving company. In all cases, the negotiating sales person deserves the latitude to negotiate freely and make his or her best deal, as well as the buyer. For these, and other reasons, it is customarily frowned upon to divulge specific pricing of a specific deal on a specific machine.
 
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Windward

Member
Surprised to hear that posting prices is a problem. I thought this would be useful information for many end-users who must wade through sales blather to reach a final deal. Information is power. However, I've deleted that part of the post.
 

wonderings

Well-known member
You are printing direct from Quark? We do not use Quark but had issues with printing direct from Indesign and found much better results and consistency exporting to PDF and dragging and dropping PDF's to command workstation. Life is much simpler for me now since moving this way and have found things are more consistent and stable. The only times I print directly to the Versant 2100 is when I need an email quickly and the other printers are tied up... talk about overkill!
 

AP90

Well-known member
You are printing direct from Quark? We do not use Quark but had issues with printing direct from Indesign and found much better results and consistency exporting to PDF and dragging and dropping PDF's to command workstation. Life is much simpler for me now since moving this way and have found things are more consistent and stable. The only times I print directly to the Versant 2100 is when I need an email quickly and the other printers are tied up... talk about overkill!
You sound exactly like me! We use quark and in design and always do PDF export. Never print directly to the printer unless like you said, need a quick email, etc printed lol.
 

Windward

Member
Thanks to wonderings and AP90 for info about printing from PDFs. I considered this option but it adds another step every time we print. It also adds another layer of complexity and requires us to support and troubleshoot another piece of software. I can't see this as progress. Seems to me if EFI supplies a print driver, it ought to actually work.
 

AP90

Well-known member
Thanks to wonderings and AP90 for info about printing from PDFs. I considered this option but it adds another step every time we print. It also adds another layer of complexity and requires us to support and troubleshoot another piece of software. I can't see this as progress. Seems to me if EFI supplies a print driver, it ought to actually work.
If that's the workflow you would rather stick with, then I'd get someone in there and figure it out. But IMO, I'd never want to work it that way. PDFs and dropping them into CWS is pretty simple. A

Also, when you say your mac print driver, do you mean the Fiery DFE? Didn't think they installed them on Macs. Ours is PC based, but everything else in the shop is Mac and we don't have any problems.
 

wonderings

Well-known member
Thanks to wonderings and AP90 for info about printing from PDFs. I considered this option but it adds another step every time we print. It also adds another layer of complexity and requires us to support and troubleshoot another piece of software. I can't see this as progress. Seems to me if EFI supplies a print driver, it ought to actually work.
I thought the same before switching, now I don't even notice it and life is better for it. Print drivers can give you a lot of headaches. One OS update and you can lose your printing ability because you have to wait for a new driver to be released. Not sure what headaches you are referring to when making PDF's, I never have any trouble and it is my preferred way of printing and receiving files from clients for print. If you are depending on print drivers you are always at the mercy of the developer and they can be very slow to release a fix or update. Also, once you have an imposed file made into a PDF you are good to go overtime you repeat that job, no need to open Quark, no font activation, just a print ready PDF. End of the day you have to do what is best for you and your work flow, but I would recommend giving it a shot, I think many people are probably doing it this way.

Maybe Quark does not output the best PDF's?
 

kdw75

Well-known member
I don't know if you can post the exact costs of your click charges and how much you bought the machine for, especially considering you posted your exact business name. I think this is listed in your contract with Xerox and possibly again when you sign up for a forum account here.
The forum guidelines are one thing, but as for Xerox not wanting the click charges posted....remember you are the customer and the customer is always right. That sound like it would be anti-competitive not to know the price other people are paying.

On our 2100 the click charge is the same for 13x19 and 13x26.
 

kdw75

Well-known member
Prices of all machines, regardless of vendor, vary greatly for the same machine. There are end of quarter, end of year deals. There are incentives for replacing a competitors machine, bundling savings for accompanying software, and buying a "new" machine that has been used in the showroom for demo's. There are periodic sales campaigns due to overstocked inventory, or premiums for under-stocked inventory. There are individual cases where a machine may have been placed, and then pulled several months later due to financial turmoil of the original receiving company. In all cases, the negotiating sales person deserves the latitude to negotiate freely and make his or her best deal, as well as the buyer. For these, and other reasons, it is customarily frowned upon to divulge specific pricing of a specific deal on a specific machine.
The 13x19 and 13x26 click charge on our 2100 are less than a penny higher than what your paying, but the smaller sheet price is right in line with ours. Though that is quite a bit higher than our C75 click rate for anything up to 13x19.
 

joshlindsay

Well-known member
One of the bonuses we've found of using a PDF workflow that I haven't seen mentioned yet is you have a locked down "final print" version of the artwork that is nice and quick to view on any machine with a PDF viewer rather than opening InDesign or Quark to check something.
Also, if you are running a bunch of the same kind of work then you can also setup Hot Folders on the Fiery that'll impose the job, process and even run out a sample sheet before you get to the press.
 

Shaare

Well-known member
Envelope printing is not as easy as it might be. Even though the V180 has a page size for #10 envelopes, it doesn't work. Trying to use the V180 #10 page size causes the machine to hang with no error message. You have to create a custom page size in the V180 and send your file with the same size specs.

Hopefully, we will be able to find solutions to these issues without constant workarounds.

If you are using the three parts tool for envelopes out of tray 6 or 7 I've noticed that the smaller part meant to push down the little black level that signifies that there's paper in the machine sometimes lifts up (its not heavy enough) and so that can trip your printing. Otherwise, try using (or not using) a custom paper size with a custom paper settings as it makes loading much faster and there's never a paper size issue with Fiery (think 700 with the 9.50 coming across as 9.49 or 9.51).

To me this sounds like a Fiery bug that requires YOU (please do) to call the hotline and escalate the issue.

Watch this video for setting up envelopes... https://youtu.be/zlm76zsvOfc

Let us know how this works out!
 

wonderings

Well-known member
If you are using the three parts tool for envelopes out of tray 6 or 7 I've noticed that the smaller part meant to push down the little black level that signifies that there's paper in the machine sometimes lifts up (its not heavy enough) and so that can trip your printing. Otherwise, try using (or not using) a custom paper size with a custom paper settings as it makes loading much faster and there's never a paper size issue with Fiery (think 700 with the 9.50 coming across as 9.49 or 9.51).

To me this sounds like a Fiery bug that requires YOU (please do) to call the hotline and escalate the issue.

Watch this video for setting up envelopes... https://youtu.be/zlm76zsvOfc

Let us know how this works out!
I never have issues running #10 envelopes on our 2100, I will get both high cap trays filled with it. Takes about 45 mins to run 2000 envelopes full colour. As per your video, I have the envelopes flipped the other way, flap down and away from me. Only time there is a jam is when I did not load it correct, envelopes curled up. This only happened during one job and when I realized what was going on I never had the problem again. Smooth sailing with #10 envelopes.
 

Shaare

Well-known member
You would want to use a custom paper settings and custom paper size, works like a charm see this https://youtu.be/zlm76zsvOfc
For Quark, escalate it to Second Level ,... Quark had this problem before with Fiery drivers they just keep having regression issues... or simply save as a pdf to a hot folder and manage it in Command Workstation. Remember to specify 'Let Printer Manage Colour! ;-)
I work with the Versants a lot, and people coming from a 700 usually express 'wow!' in some form or other. Its really a good stable machine. No fuss!
 

donster

Active member
We had X700 as well and switched to V180 (with EFI Fiery rip) about 2 months ago. Here is our summary:

- When it actually starts printing, it is indeed quicker than X700. But when the printer is in sleep mode, it takes about 5 minutes till it warms up and starts printing - way longer than on the X700.

- Front/back registration is indeed better, the SIQA works well. Duplex for 300 gsm paper is nice feature that the X700 didn't have.

- Getting quite a lot of paper jams with Xerox recommended paper (eXpression) when printing from Tray 5 (the printer takes as many as 3 papers at once and then the jams happens).

- Just like you described, we had few occasions when the printer just became stuck - it was sent a job from CWS, said it was warming up, but never actually started printing. Shutting it down was the only solution.

- When printing from application (Indesign, Photoshop, Acrobat), the application's feature "scale to fit" doesn't actually work! It only scales the document to the exact size of selected paper, and it doesn't take into account that it can't print the whole paper (the ~3-4 mm border). So if you have some text in the edges of your document, it just wont be printed. We've been told to use the drag'n'drop to CWS method and use the "Scale to fit" within the properties of the job, but that doesn't solve all the situations (for example it doesn't work on JPG). But most importantly, even that solution doesn't work properly, because it ignores the "lead edge" border which is ~4-5 mm and hence you will still have some missing text/graphics that was close to the edge on the final print.

And we are still fighting a bit with the output profiles / calibrations... If we used the default output profiles with default calibration (that means none i suppose), the results were too dark. The simplest solution was to change each job's properties to 95% brightness and it results were satisfying.

But obviously, we wanted to do regular calibrations for these output profiles. So we measured the targets and that indeed helped with the overall brightness of the images (so we put it back to 100% brightness as default). However, I feel like the calibration is clipping highlights and shadows. As if it can't print below 10% gray or above 80-90% black. Not sure where am I doing something wrong.
 

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