Product of the Month - Roland DG TrueVis SG-540 / VG-640

With the TrueVis series, Roland has manufactured a product that is new from the ground up. Rushikesh Aravkar delves into the technology to find out what makes TrueVis a lucrative buy for every wide-format print firm.

23 Mar 2017 | By Rushikesh Aravkar

When Roland DG launched TrueVis family of printer-cutter wide-format machines at Fespa in March 2016, the new machines were positioned as the company’s “vision for the future”.

That’s because, Roland had for the first time done away with Epson printheads and unveiled a new in-house technologies for printheads and ink. It added to a new cutting system and RIP software too. The machines are 50% faster than the VersaCamms they replace.

Later in 2016, the TrueVis range was introduced to the Indian market at Media Expo in September. The TrueVis VG-640, the flagship 64-inch topline product, and the SG-540, a mid-range 54-inch machine were demonstrated for the first time in India at the show.

In less than six months of the launch, Roland’s Indian representative Apsom Infotex has installed six VG-640 and over 35 SG-540 machines. “It’s a hit product,” says Deborshi Paul Choudhury of Apsom Infotex. “With TrueVis we have been able to offer what the sign shops were looking for – an advantage over their competitors by providing high quality printing while keeping operating costs down.”

Choudhury attributes the credit of SG-540’s success to the outstanding overall value and low cost of ownership that the machine offers “And that’s what the customers appreciate,” adds Choudhury.

Brand new ink and printhead
Roland DG’s TrueVis series are the widest of the company’s current printer-cutters, with a choice of 54-inch (1,371mm) or 64-inch (1,625mm) versions. They feature new-generation eco-solvent inks, and a new head/knife carriage with a new blade type giving increased downforce for cutting.

Choudhury says, “The TruVis uses the FlexFire printheads that can deliver a maximum resolution of 900dpi. We have a lot more control over the printheads than the previous models, so it can fire the ink down to the material faster and with more accuracy.”

The FlexFire printheads can generate three drop sizes – large for faster coverage, with medium and small for increased fine detail. The standard quality mode for this printer runs at up to 8.3 sq/m per hour though, as with any such printer, the throughput can be varied by different quality choices.

Looking at the print samples, one realises the wider print swath that delivers images and uniform colours at production speeds while minimising ink usage.

The top-end VG-640 are available in three ink versions: seven-colour channels with CMYK plus light magenta, light cyan and light black, or eight-colour channels with either dual CMYK or CMYK plus white and light magenta, light cyan and light black.

The VG-640 can print up to 34 sq/m per hour but the print resolution will vary depending on the resolution you are printing. The CMYK with extra light colours is visibly effective when it comes to printing skin tones.

The smaller machine is the SG-540 with the same type of technology except that the printheads; where the VG has four while the SG has two. The SG is a CMYK only machine.

Roland offers two types of inks to use with TrueVis machines. “The True Element ink offers outdoor life of one year. For extended outdoor life of three years we recommend TrueVis third generation eco-solvent inks,” adds Choudhury.

“New Greenguard Gold Certified TrueVis ink uses eco-solvent technology, delivering a wide colour gamut and improved output, while meeting stricter environmental standards and user demands for lower costs without sacrificing quality.”

The inks are available in 500ml pouches that fit into reusable cartridges which can slide into a hidden ink bay for clean usage and less waste.

They have been designed for producing indoor and outdoor advertising, vehicle graphics, banners, posters and displays, as well as labels, decals and apparel heat transfers applications.

Advanced print/cut module
“The TrueVIS also features Roland DG’s most advanced print/cut technology to date. The cutting technology is even more accurate and enables you to cut thicker and tough material,” says Choudhury.

A new carriage and blade offer increased downforce and accuracy, allowing compatibility with a wider variety of media.

The TrueVis can handle a range of materials, for example, canvas vinyl and applications such as garment decoration and vehicle graphics, among others.

“And because of the cutting built in, there are label applications that one can print. The white ink is very important because it will enable window graphics and shop signage,” said Choudhury.

A new Roland DG mobile panel allows users to perform control panel functions of VG printer/cutters with an existing smartphone or tablet using a Bluetooth connection. Choudhury explains, “This feature provides an interface directly on or remotely in range of the printer, and enables the user to receive status updates as well as remotely manage production, test printing, and cleaning functions.”

Besides this, improved motor and drive systems provide added durability for heavy users, and optional take-up and drying units boost performance during unattended high-volume operation.
The VersaWorks Dual RIP software that powers the TrueVis machines features a new core engine for better file processing, including files with transparencies, plus the advanced and ease-of-use capabilities that VersaWorks is known for.

It has both a PS and PDF handling engine. “If our customers may have struggled with outputting a PDF file, transparencies, layers and graduations, our RIP software handles those native PDF files so customers get what they are expected to print,” says Choudhury.

Besides all the technological features, Roland offers a three-year warranty on printheads and electronics, which makes it a lucrative buy as it promises hassle-free operation.

Specifications: TrueVIS VG-640

Ink: TrueVis third-generation eco-solvent
Max media width: 1,625mm
Max print width: 1,600mm
Min media width: 201mm
Max media thickness: 1mm
Resolution: 900dpi
Software; VersaWorks Dual RIP
Contact: Apsom Infotex

The alternatives

HP Latex 300
The Latex 300 series comprises three new printers, the 1.4m Latex 310 and the 1.6m Latex 330 and Latex 360, that will target low-volume users with an average monthly print volume of 500sqm in a bid to convert more of the eco-solvent market to latex.
Maximum width: 162.5 cm (64 in)
Resolution: 1200 dpi, six colours
Maximum print speed: 91 sq/m per hour
Contact: HP
Devang Karia

Mimaki CJV-150
Mimaki’s CJV150 series printers add cut-and-print capability for signage or textile applications. These cut-and-print devices can use either SS21 eco-solvent inks or Sb53 dye-sublimation inks and are available in four sizes: the 32-inch CJV150-75, the 43-inch CJV150-107, the 54-inch CJV150-130 and the 64-inch CJV150- 160.
Maximum width: 800-1,610mm (model dependent)
Resolution: 360, 540, 720, 1,080, 1,440 dpi
Maximum print speed: 56 sq/m per hour
Contact: Mimaki
Mandar Nalawade

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