Roland DGA Corporation, based in Irvine, CA, is the U.S.-based marketing, distribution, and sales arm of Roland DG Corporation of Hamamatsu, Japan—a leader in sign, graphic arts, fine art, vehicle graphics, UV, photography, engraving, and three-dimensional (3D) modeling. Founded in 1981, Roland DG offers vinyl cutters, thermal transfer printer/cutters, wide format inkjet printers and printer/cutters, 3D scanners and milling devices, and engravers.
Roland’s new VersaStudio BN-20 20-inch desktop inkjet printer/cutter utilizes the same print technology as Roland’s VersaCAMM VS series and operates as a t-shirt machine and printing press, as well as a sign making machine.
The Digital Output staff is hands on. To truly evaluate the VersaStudio BN-20 we endeavored to setup and run the unit in our Beverly, MA facility. The printer’s small footprint allows for easy set up in just about any location. Before installing the ink cartridges it is important to clean the ink slots and ink heads. Users have a choice of four different ink configurations; we went with the white ink system.
Four color (CMYK) is ideal for standard process color inkjet printing. Eco-SOL MAX ink offers quick drying, high density, wide color gamut, scratch resistance, low cost per square foot, and broad uncoated media support. Eco-SOL MAX is virtually odorless, and graphics are water and UV resistant up to three years outdoors—CMYK only—without lamination.
The five-color metallic option combines metallic silver ink with CMYK and is available on a range of media including clear vinyl and films, fine art paper, canvas, and photobase paper.
The five-color white ink option combines white ink with CMYK and is designed for businesses working with clear media for packaging comps, labels, window signs, and point of purchase. White Eco-SOL MAX ink produces crisp text and graphics with high brightness and opacity levels and extended scratch and chemical resistance. It can also be printed as an undercoat to increase the brightness and opacity of four-color images.
The fourth configuration is CMYK aqueous ink—high-density water-based ink ideal for short-term indoor applications. It is important to note the ink configuration must be selected at the time of install as it is not possible to change the ink configuration after a selection is made.
The VersaStudio BN-20 comes with VersaWorks RIP software, which is fully compatible with Microsoft Windows 7, Vista, or XP and Roland R-Works, an entry-level design package that allows users to import stock or personal photos taken with a digital camera, create original layouts with text, and edit custom print and cut graphics. It also includes a vector art library of stock designs.
The bundled software package with on-screen instructions got us up and running quickly. All functionality of the device is handled through the VersaStudio utility software package, which is actively open in the Windows taskbar and controls basic machine functions, status, and calibrations. The utility software also monitors replacement of consumable parts such as wipers and contour cutting blades.
Installation took just under two hours. Roland provided a link to a helpful online video that walked us through the process. Once the software is installed, the printer connects to a PC using the USB cord and is powered on. Roll media may be installed at this time. The VersaStudio BN-20 supports roll media from six to 20 inches in width, weighing up to 13 pounds. Roland designed this unit for plug and play.
Up and running the device produced flawless high-quality prints, labels, decals, heat transfers for apparel, and window signs. Print speed was increased by reducing print resolution. Media handling is a snap and printer maintenance is mostly automated with Roland’s intuitive software interface.
The production process is streamlined by automatically contour cutting printed graphics. If art is complex, simply add a contour cut around your image—eliminating the need to reload and reposition. For laminated graphics, the Quadralign four-point optical registration system allows users to remove prints, laminate, and reload for precision cutting. Quadralign automatically realigns the cutting path and compensates for skew and distortion.
The VersaStudio BN-20 features a new cutting carriage design that does not bounce against the media if the cutting force is set too high for the substrate. This system features two springs for soft landing on sensitive substrates, yet handles some of the thickest print/cut materials on the market.