Xerox 550 vs Versant 180....Post installation regret.

tngcas

Well-known member
Something isn't right. I use our SIQA (V80) all the time and it always places the image bang on centre of the sheet with perfect front to back registrations. The artwork files are also bang on centre. I do sometimes get a bit of front to back drift as the machine gets going, usually if high coverage on one side and I may need to just correct it slightly but the V80 has limited sensors to correct this compared to V180 & v280 and doesn't have the extended paper path like the 2100 to allow the sheets to cool while duplexing.
I had to look up SIQA - it looks like the V2100s moved those features to the Stock Library Manager which is where I access similar features. I watched a short video on the SIQA options and it's quite different from what my options are in the Stock Library Interface. I think it's just a fundamental difference in how the printer is handling alignment and registrations.

To be clear: I'm not that unhappy with the alignment issues. It works well enough for our purposes. Every machine has it's issues and since we can compensate for it in a down-the-line process that's a workable solution that gets the job done. No machine is going to do everything you wanted and life's too busy to stress about it.

Perfection: If there's anything I've learned is that you have to give up on the pursuit of perfection in this business, it's just an unrealistic standard. While I do feel customers might expect the margins to be perfectly even, I have only had 2 customers in 3 years even mention that the margins were uneven and when I explained the process and offered to trim a little on one edge to even it up they were fine with it.

Various points:

My wife thinks i'm being far too fussy & that nobody cares about margins like I do & it's just because i look at print all day.
I actually think your wife is correct - as much as I like perfect margins my experience is that customers don't tend to care that much or even notice AND it's actually less expensive to just let the customers who care complain about it and then just try to fix it for that one customer vs. reprinting the same thing multiple times. You'll learn over time which customers care a lot and which ones don't.

What helped me a lot was looking at printed products in the bigger box stores. The number of simply bad prints that are out there is crazy and before I got into printing I never noticed it at all which makes me think other people are similar.
 

PrintingInLincs

Well-known member
Potential progress on the issues but I will update properly tomorrow. It prints A4 with almost a 3mm border...without my intervention from tray 2...only tried briefly as it was getting late.

I had only tried A3 at the time. I have a few theories as to how to sort the issue & what could be affecting it.

User error is possible & i'm definitely not the master printer.

I hope to find the answers tomorrow. It's a learning curve.
 

Some Guy

Member
There is only so much SW can do to compensate for registration. Every V80/180/2100/3100 I commissioned required an onsite tech at install that spent a few hours honing in the registration. Every tray. Front and back. SW is not going to correct a crooked registration assembly. They all need to be aligned at install.
 

PrintingInLincs

Well-known member
Ok so...i've managed to get it so it can print a bunch of A4 from tray 2 with an even border...though when I use SIQA it makes the alignment totally off for it so I'm baffled. I realise that's almost certainly me or my expectations.

I am slowly working on the artwork I use as the V180 takes away some of the saturation & they're also much darker so I'm getting it back to the standard that the 550 was putting out.

I know that sounds bizarre but 100's of my reviews mention how vibrant & colourful my prints are so it's something that I felt was important.

I am less concerned by the machine now that I've gotten colours from the machine which are similar to what I'm used to (& what my buyers are used to)

I have managed to get the A3 with an even margin though it is about 0.5mm too large for my liking so I'm working on that. It's been a lot harder work than I was expecting & I think I got the wrong idea about SIQA, it seems more about correcting skew & perpendicularity than anything else. To an extent this is fine, it still requires some tinkering but it does hold alignment better once you get it in the right spot. It's not as erratic as the 550 with the margins so it'll save time I believe. While i was shifting the top to bottom margin it barely shifted side to side from maybe 30 prints so that's positive.

Also the clicks are half the price & the blacks don't have the streaky look like they get on the heavyweight 550 fusers (I couldn't use normal ones they always wore out quickly)

@tngcas I sort of agree but as I now believe it's possible to get an even margin i think it should be the aim. Maybe i have OCD or something, a fraction of a mm annoys me. Not great in this industry i guess.

@Some Guy The engineer came in his own time to get it up & running but only did 1 tray so far. SIQA seems very good at solving perp & skew but it leaves everything else quite far off.

Maybe I freaked out a little about the new machine...but it doesn't do everything right yet so we'll see.
 

Ynot_UK

Well-known member
@PrintingInLincs I looked at the posters you sell on Etsy so with a better understanding of what you do, here's a few thoughts...
  • If you were to source frames with mounts, this would remove the print margin accuracy issues you have altogether, since the mount is fixed. The accuracy then comes down to your positioning, which you can control.
  • Whilst you should be proud of your customer reviews, I stand by my earlier comment that the machine you have bought is not the optimum tool for the job. That doesn't mean it won't do the job, it's just a half decent inkjet that costs under half of what you've spent would do the job so much better, making the colours come alive.
    • The inkjet would also enable you to produce A2 and A1 sizes inhouse, instead of outsourcing as you currently do.
    • It would also be quieter (I recall you mentioned the Versant was 'loud' in your environment)
  • If adamant about staying with a dry toner process, I'm surprised you didn't look at the high chroma machines from KM that are currently being discussed on another topic. For your posters, they would be right up your street.
  • As you're now stuck with this Versant, I'd certainly recommend you print everything on SRA3 and trim. A4 2-up and A5 4-up, presumably a click is a click, irrespective of size. And buy your paper from one of the popular UK merchants.
 

imxtoeknee

New member
My versant 180 was recently installed & here are my thoughts.

I totally regret purchasing this printer...

Not only is the versant no better image quality than the 550, the alignment is no better despite SIQA.

For such a pricetag you would think that it would be able to manage a 3mm margin around the print but no.

The colours are FAR worse & as windows had to be removed to install the machine I am stuck with it...

I was always told that I would be able to load my pdfs & print them all in 1 go....meaning it would free up huge amounts of time but i will be in exactly the same position as before but having spent shedloads of money.

Yes i am frustrated with the machine...and yes there is probably more that can be done to improve it...but i am really annoyed that basically the whole pitch behind the Versant is " if you spend £20,000 + on this machine, you can have your life back!" & then it turns out totally to not be the case.

The only time the printer has a consistent border is when you print the alignment pages after using SIQA...then you go to using real artwork & it just places it wherever.

Rant over...
So for your registration issue, first thing you want to do is measure your paper. Depending on the vendor, it can be +/- 2mm and if you run SIQA using that, it will make adjustments assuming your paper is 18", but in reality its like 455.2mm (just short of 457.2). You can still use SIQA to do the initial adjustment to correct the skewing etc, but you'll have to manually adjust afterwards to get the registration dead on center. Like all new machines, theres a bit of a learning curve. Just give it some time to get used to tweaking it

I don't know if you have the spectrophotometer/color profiler suite? I've only had to make that adjustment once per different type of stock and haven't had any color issues in years. The only time you get color issues is when the color drums go below 50% (the manufacturing quality for these have gone down in the past few years and they don't last that long anymore).

I upgraded from a J75 to V180 three and a half years ago and this machine has been a total workhorse. There is one thing you should look out for is the spring drive that engages the waste toner container. 90% of these broke on the initial batch of Versant machines. If you bought one from that batch, it will need a fix. They break when the waste toner container fills up too much and can't turn.

Let me know if you have any other questions. I service my own machine and I know pretty good deal about this particular model
 

PrintingInLincs

Well-known member
@Ynot_UK I've tried the framed route (& I agree to a large extent) but the problem is Etsy has limited settings for shipping & it's a big problem when you sell worldwide & offer a few different sizes.

There is also an issue if someone wants a framed poster with an unframed poster. It tends to mess shipping costs up.

I also agree that I'd be better with a large format, however, space & fumes are an issue & though I did used to have commercial space, it costs a lot in my city.

I'm thinking once I cut the time it takes me to do my usual jobs down I will be able to start doing more jobs which the machine is supposed to do like leaflets etc.

(I entered the printing industry as a leaflet distribution business that mainly saw people wanting leaflets, got a bad deal on a bad printer which couldn't hold alignment & had to think of something before it put me out of business)

I'm wary of the "normal print job" route as I remember when we offered leaflets, we'd get given the worst artwork, usually in an obscure format & they'd expect free design changes too...plus flyers are so cheap nowadays.

I use Mondi 200gsm colour copy but have never found a good deal from a UK supplier on this & buy from Germany.

Thanks, Karl
 

Ynot_UK

Well-known member
I only use Mondi colour copy 200gsm A3/A4 though i'm switching to SRA3 as the corners are bent when you open the paper 50% of the time (I import it from Germany & I'm unlucky)

I use Mondi 200gsm colour copy but have never found a good deal from a UK supplier on this & buy from Germany.

It's not a good deal if half of the delivery has bent corners.

If you buy from UK merchants e.g. Premier or Antalis, it will come on a pallet and all the wraps will be in perfect condition >90% of the time. Ask your rep. for contract pricing on the lines you use. If you're not at the level/volume to have merchant accounts, have a look at Purely Paper. It's a drop shipment arrangement with Antalis, they do regular deals on Mondi Color Copy and sell to the public through their web shop.
 

PrintingInLincs

Well-known member
It's not a good deal if half of the delivery has bent corners.

If you buy from UK merchants e.g. Premier or Antalis, it will come on a pallet and all the wraps will be in perfect condition >90% of the time. Ask your rep. for contract pricing on the lines you use. If you're not at the level/volume to have merchant accounts, have a look at Purely Paper. It's a drop shipment arrangement with Antalis, they do regular deals on Mondi Color Copy and sell to the public through their web shop.
I approached Antalis before...they basically told me to go to a local printing company & ask them for some paper that I wanted even though it was a few 1000 I wanted at the time. I found it odd.

Just had a look on purelypaper & it's about equal to what I pay but I guess it won't of travelled from Germany so thanks :)
 

Ynot_UK

Well-known member
Absolutely cannot get an even margin for A3...must have printed 200 sheets chasing an even margin. A4 is fine...A3 is a nightmare. Will keep trying to work out the issue.

Absolutely sick of the thing. I'm used to doing manual alignment but I just can't get anywhere with this thing so far.
Let's try to understand this better.
  • When you say an "even margin", are you talking about skew differences or an even white space on all four sides?
  • You're not using "fit to page", "print to fit" or anything horrible like that... are you?
 

Ynot_UK

Well-known member
Just had a look on purelypaper & it's about equal to what I pay but I guess it won't of travelled from Germany so thanks :)
We bought from them occasionally a few years ago. Sign up for their mailing list and you'll receive a monthly e-newsletter. Not sure if it's still the same, but several times per year they would offer 20% off deals across the Color Copy range, which would give you a good reduction on what you're paying. Simon Butler, the director, is a decent guy and will help you.
 
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PrintingInLincs

Well-known member
Even margin on the 2 edges is ideal. I think I'm going to have to settle for a 2mm margin...I can get it to that. Only most prints it doesn't affect much. 3mm would have been better but I can get it to be consistent with it after today. Scale to fit used to work fine for em on the 550.
 

Ynot_UK

Well-known member
Scale to fit, fit to page, etc are designed for office printing, not for production print. Do a simple test using your A3 paper, do it for each input tray. Draw a rectangle in Indesign or Illustrator, exactly 400mm x 277mm. Place it centrally at 210mm H and 148.5mm W Create and print the PDF at 100%, without any scaling, resizing etc within the driver or RIP. Measure the margins on each of the four sides for each tray. If you get 10mm +/- 1mm, your machine is bang on.
 

PrintingInLincs

Well-known member
The V180 has an issue where it doesn't wake up from being asleep & you have to restart it which I was told by our engineer is bad for the machine. Also a waste of time.

As for alignment, I've had to abandon my 3mm margins & have a 2mm margin which is not ideal for anything getting framed but it's too inconsistent with the margins to save me any time otherwise.

I probably could have done that on the 560 & I don't see any improvement in image quality. It brings out a little extra detail but it's basically unnecessary stuff.

I would have got a large inkjet instead if I'd known about all of this.

The people I bought from say they'll send an analyst though so i'll take them up on this.
 

Ynot_UK

Well-known member
As for alignment, I've had to abandon my 3mm margins & have a 2mm margin which is not ideal for anything getting framed but it's too inconsistent with the margins to save me any time otherwise.
What happened with my 10mm margin alignment test you were going to try (posts #33 & #34) ?

The V180 has an issue where it doesn't wake up from being asleep & you have to restart it which I was told by our engineer is bad for the machine. Also a waste of time.
Sounds like a relatively simple configuration issue. When first installed we had similar on our C4080, where the controller had to be manually switched off and on separate to the engine. This was quickly resolved on the first support visit post installation.
 

PrintingInLincs

Well-known member
I've not had a chance to try, been too busy trying to catch up.

I'd sell this machine at a loss at the moment but will wait to see what the specialist says about it all.

I could get an even margin & 1 out of 4 prints was good enough to send IMO on the 550...using manual alignment... I've used like 40 sheets on one poster today chasing alignment.

I was told I could load up the pdfs, print them all in 1 go & they would all be printed in the same position. It really doesn't seem to be the case & I've had this a few weeks now.

I'll update after the specialists ben but at the moment I think the machine is pants.
 

Ynot_UK

Well-known member
I've used like 40 sheets on one poster today chasing alignment.
Sorry, but that is ridiculous. Book a service call and show the engineer exactly what you are doing.
I would wager you are still trying using "fit to page" or similar.
Find another local printer with the same machine and take one of your files along on a USB stick.
This has got to be user error.

Meanwhile I've attached the file you need to do the registration and front to back test. Good luck.
 

Attachments

  • A3 alignment 10mm margin.pdf
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