As the curtains close on Sign and Digital UK 2019, the team at Roland DG have had a chance to reflect on what they’ve learned over the three-day exhibition. With thousands of attendees seeking their next investment, there were plenty of opportunities to get a clearer picture of today’s sign and graphics market and where Roland can best help businesses to grow.
“If you go back a few years ago, a lot of people came to tradeshows to learn about the equipment,” says Rob Goleniowski, Head of Sales for UK and Ireland. “Today, there’s so much information online from videos to reviews, and we’ve found that customers want to come and ask us about things that the brochure specs don’t cover. They want to understand what the machines are, and also what the benefits are to their business.”
To help visitors find the answers to the things that really matter to them, Roland were joined on their stand by Roland users Peter Colman of Classic Lines Plus Signs Ltd, Alex Liggett of the Vinyl Guys and Joe McNamara Head of Graphics for Renault F1 Team. Coming from various areas of the print industry, these Roland users could offer relevant and impartial advice to every visitor on the stand.
Headlining Roland’s stand was their latest innovation in print and cut, the TrueVIS VG2. This cutting-edge device builds on the success of the first-generation VG series with a list of over 40 enhancements. Coupled with the new, advanced TR2 ink, passers-by were drawn to the stand by the quality and vibrancy of the prints.
“We’ve had a lot of interest throughout the stand,” says Rob Goleniowski “but I think we can all agree that the VG2 stole the show this year. The overwhelming feedback from those that have seen the machine has been staggering. The machine speaks for itself in a lot of ways but the quality of the graphics that it can produce now, and the versatility has really struck a chord with customers.”
For those seeking a print-only solution, the RF-640 8 Colour was difficult to miss with its sharp and vibrant output. The addition of green and orange ink significantly extends the gamut beyond anything else in its class making it perfect for matching brand colours and creating high-impact signage and graphics.
There was also a huge amount of interest in Roland’s first direct-to-garment (DTG) solution, the BT-12. Visitors were impressed with its compact size and ease of use, not to mention the quality of the printed t-shirts and tote bags that were being produced on the stand. This alone demonstrates the current tide shift in the print graphics industry today, with more and more businesses seeking to diversify beyond signage and wide format and add additional products to their offering.
“This machine hasn’t stopped for three days,” says Ronee Gillett, Personalisation & Dye Sublimation Expert for Roland. “If you take into account the huge interest at Printwear and Promotion LIVE! in January, we’ve really tested the capabilities of the BT-12 and it’s proven itself to be a real workhorse. Considering the low investment, the cost of ownership and the cost of production, you can see why it is such an attractive device.”
Roland’s latest innovation in UV printing, the LEF2-200, also made its UK trade show debut at Sign and Digital UK 2019. Following analysis of its predecessor, this latest device has been developed to better fit the needs of customers, namely the need for faster production times and ease of use.
“I was surprised at the amount of research visitors have clearly done this year” says Joe Wigzell, Academy Manager. “They know exactly what they want from a UV printer and they’re not just looking at the price of the machine - they’re looking at the long-term cost of ownership and that’s a great thing to see. I think we’ve also shown them a few surprises and given them new ideas on where to take their business next, which is what it’s all about.”
Returning to SDUK for a second year, Roland’s S-Series wide-format UV printer also got a lot of attention. Dan Lathall, Product Support for Roland, spent a fair portion of the three-day event creating unique and interesting applications with the S-Series’ generous printing height and belt-fed bed.
“I’m used to playing with the S-Series, so it’s easy for me to forget how amazing it must look to people walking past,” says Dan, “At any one time, they might have seen the machine printing directly to wooden pallets, ceramic tiles or plastic electrical conduit boxes and I have to admit, that’s really quite something.”
Having a variety of machines in close proximity also gave the Roland team the chance to experiment with multiple technologies. “We decided to apply a layer of UV ink to wooden coasters before engraving them with the new DE-3,” says Dan, “I’m really impressed with the way they turned out and I wouldn’t be surprised if we made a sale or two on the back of them.”
Sign and Digital UK is over for another year, but Roland still extend an open invitation to anyone wishing to get a closer look at these innovative new devices. Interested parties can arrange a live demo at Roland’s UK headquarters outside Bristol, or they can find their nearest dealer via the Roland website.