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New Solvent Ink Jet Printers: Mimaki vs Roland

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  • New Solvent Ink Jet Printers: Mimaki vs Roland

    I'm looking for a new, very high quality solvent ink jet printer to print and cut motorcycle transfers. Which is better? Mimaki CJV-150 or Roland VSi Series

  • #2
    It depends.
    Have you actually looked at the machines in action? If I was going to lay out 20 large, I'd want to kick the tires. Make a test file. Watch some prints. Both Mimaki and Roland (and bunch of others) will be at the ISA Sign Expo in Orlando on April 20-23. Might want to make a trip.

    The Mimaki doesn't give throughput speeds for each of its resolution options. The Roland does. the Roland also gives you the option of step resolution. No idea if the Mimaki does
    720dpi is pretty standard for most stuff arm's distance. How much slower are they at the next best quality?

    I'm sure you know that the words ''up to 605sf/hr'' means that is at the lowest quality, fastest speed and is usually unsalable on any printer.

    Are you getting the white and the metallic option for the Roland?

    Do you want the 2-liter tank option of the Mimaki? On the fly ink switching means dedicating 2 channels to each ink, meaning only CMYK printing.

    Either machine is only 8-color. You need to decide which of the 10 ink options you want to use on the Mimaki. I'm guessing the Roland comes hard wired with your selection.

    Does the Mimaki have an optical realignment system? (can you take the media out, lam it and put it back into the machine.)

    Also do a cost study of ink and consumables to see how many prints you have to sell to make your mortgage payments (ROI.)
    I haven't done one recently on these two.

    I'm sure you also know that if the machine is cutting, it isn't printing.
    Personally, I'd go with something like a Seiko Colorpainter in 4-over-4 plus a dedicated cutter that I could also use on standard sign-lettering vinyl while the printer is printing, and pass on the silver/white option.
    But that's just me, based on print quality and speed seen at SGIA shows.
    But I also understand a silver/white option can be handy for clear-base ''transfers'' and I have looked into it a bit. Not seriously enough to have an opinion which machine is better.

    Either the Mimaki or the Roland are good machines. Ask specifically about that silver ink. It's new tech, and I'm waiting for the jury to come in on it.
    Whatever you get, get a service contract.
    Last edited by PrintDriver; 01-11-2016, 10:04 AM.


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply.

      I have looked deeply into the Mimaki but not the Roland. I have a test sample of 20 transfers printed at 720dpi and using just cmyk. I was mildly impressed to be fair. I would definitely need the Metallic and white too. I did also want the light black and orange, but not sure how that works. My main concerns was the opacity of white and metallic on clear vinyl.

      This is all pretty new to me as i'm so used to my Roland PC-600 ColourCamm Pro (Which is very outdated now)

      I have also been informed that the metallic never really cures properly?

      They did mention about laminating it for UV protection etc... So i'm guessing it has an optical realignment system.


      • #4
        I haven't had the chance to go to any demonstrations yet but I intend to.

        I believe the Roland is more expensive. Price isn't a major concern, it's the quality I am after.

        Attached is a spec sheet.
        Last edited by KitchWitch; 01-11-2016, 12:40 PM. Reason: fixed link


        • #5
          Check to see that Mimaki has an ink circulator on that white and silver. Roland was first to market with silver ink and has always had a circulator.
          Mimaki rushed and didn't have one when I checked them.

          Here's an interesting discussion from 2 years ago:

          I'm really curious about the double whammy on the print time using both white and silver. Makes sense if you literally have to back up and print something 3 times.

          As far as print quality, for me it's all about speed for that quality. If something looks really nice but takes 5 hours to print, as opposed to an hour, you have to seriously consider that in the mix. I'm not a particularly trusting individual. Salesmen running test prints and telling me times is not like seeing it in action. I was looking at an 8-color machine once that was absolutely flying for speed, but it was built in 4-over-4 mode so only using CMYK inks.
          Last edited by PrintDriver; 01-11-2016, 11:24 AM.


          • #6
            Yes that's an issue. My customers like the fact that our transfers are only 50 microns thick. If i added a laminate to that it will increase the thickness to at least 74 Microns in total. But then it sounds like we need to protect these transfers as they will need to be durable for outdoor use.

            The metallic ink on both printers is a huge worry for me really, but I don't know what other printer to get other than a solvent ink jet one.


            • #7
              Have you checked out the Summa printers?

              They have their limitations too being thermal ribbon and all that entails.
              ie metallics are indoor use. You can check with them to see if lamination will work for outside use.

              74microns is what? 3 mils (US)? If you get the conforming overlam, shouldn't be an issue. We wrap vehicles with 5 or 6mil lammed vinyl all the time. It just has to be a compatible combination.


              • #8
                We do not wrap motorcycles, we just produce small transfers which need to be as thin as possible


                • #9
                  Are latex printer's any good? HP have a range

                  Actually, the Summa DC5 looks good. Has an outdoor 5 year last, no laminate
                  Last edited by Adam Wilson; 01-11-2016, 02:07 PM.


                  • #10
                    Latex? I don't think they have a print/cut option. I don't like the resolution yet on the latex printers. It's ok for big stuff like wallcovers and large format retail, but the latex and the direct to substrate UV curing printers are a little rough around the edges on fine detail work at small sizes. Latex machines don't do white ink. UV curing printers, the white ink is has a slight 'rough' texture to it and limits how small your text can be when printing over the white.

                    The Summa has a 5 year outside, but not with the metallic ribbons it uses. I do a lot of small stuff on the Gerber Edge, a much smaller machine. Haven't used a Summa print in years. I don't actually personally know anyone with one at the moment, but I work in a weird market.


                    • #11
                      Okay I see, and yes the resolution appears to be not great o the Summa machine also. So really this brings me back to either Mimaki or Roland. I know more about the Mimaki and what to be careful about because I know people in my industry that use them. I don't know anyone who has the Roland Vsi series.

                      Oh, and I also have a Gerber Edge Fx which is my secondary printer. The accuracy in there is not amazing either, but I am printing small, highly detailed work.
                      Last edited by Adam Wilson; 01-12-2016, 04:14 AM.


                      • #12
                        Like I said, even on small stuff, 720dpi quality is pretty standard. The Summa has that covered. Most resolution higher than that is sorta like watching grass grow and is not profitable at competitive pricing.

                        I use Roland cutters. Workhorse machine. I don't have one of their printers. We did look at one when they came out with the metallic ink but that was back when we were looking at layoffs (2010) and just haven't had the call for it. I have friends in the industry that use Mimakis but I don't know anyone with the metallic/white. As long as the tech support is there either is probably a good choice. Check things like the price of inks (beware of non-OEM) and the cost to have a set of heads sitting on the shelf for "just in case." I don't know how jammed you are for business but a head strike can ruin your day. In fact, check if one of them has recessed heads.
                        Last edited by PrintDriver; 01-12-2016, 07:23 AM.


                        • #13
                          Okay, i'll look into them factors too. The kind of things we print can be found here, and they are usually quite small transfers that need to be printed at the best quality possible. A lot of our transfers go on showroom Motorcycles too that can even be found in museums. It's hard to find a printer for a niche market, when most of them are designed for wide format use.

                          Price of Mimaki inks are as followed:

                          SS21 440ml Ink Cartridge (CMYK, Lc, Lm, Lk, Orange) - 77.95 + VAT
                          SS21 220ml White Ink Cartridge - 87.50 + VAT
                          SS21 220ml Metallic Ink Cartridge - 180.00 + VAT

                          As you can tell, Metallic ink is half the size and double the price. Although I have to admit, My test samples were
                          produced on a system running 2 x CMYK, so no Metallic ink used, nor was any light colours or the orange, simply CMYK. And the gold came out fine, it just wasn't 'shiny'.

                          Also as you can probably tell, I don't know much about ink jet printers. How does the lamination stage work?


                          • #14
                            You buy a laminator. It's a press that applies an adhesive film to the front of the graphic. It's usually done after printing but before cutting.

                            With solvent and eco-sol prints it's best to let them sit a bit and off-gas. Otherwise the solvents might affect the adhesive of the lam.

                            As far as museums go, you might have problems when it comes to using any type of Solvent/ecosolvent print. Especially if you have to pass an Oddy Test.


                            • #15
                              I'm curious Adam, what printer did you buy and are you happy with its performance.






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