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Texart RT-640M

As sign-makers look to expand their capabilities, Brian Sims explores the possibilities of the Roland DG Texart RT-640M and how it may just be their knight in shining armour

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The Roland DG Texart RT-640M multifunction printer was launched at the end of last year

Throw down the gauntlet

Most printers dread the question from a client or customer that goes along the lines of ‘can you print on this’; the second part of the killer question is followed up by ‘and I only want three...’

Well if you had a Texart RT-640M multifunction printer from Roland DG in your workspace, you would be able to say, ‘yes, of course I can’.

Well if you had a Texart RT-640M multifunction printer from Roland DG in your workspace, you would be able to say, ‘yes, of course I can’

Roland claims this is one of the most adaptable printers that is available for a range of work or substrates covering textiles, soft signage, sportswear, rigid covering and even 3D objects. Roland further claims the Texart RT-640M is unique in as much as you can use one ink set and printer to print directly on the substrate, or onto sublimation transfer papers and indirectly onto the product. With a wide range of colours, up to eight in number including light cyan, magenta and even fluorescent pink and yellow along with orange and violet, you can produce an almost unimaginable array of colour.

Roland claims this is one of the most adaptable printers that is available for a range of work

As to the substrates you can print directly on these include polyester fabrics, mixed polyester/cotton, LYCRA, nylon, coated surfaces and pre-treated metals. You can see in this combination the question from the predisposing client’s request can be easily answered. So how does Roland accomplish this and keep this piece of equipment at an entry price range?

Firstly there are the specially designed and formulated inks called Texart SBL3 which can be used across the wide range of products. They come in clever 1,000cc pouches which use Roland’s Ink Switching System in four colour mode.

Each of the four colour set, black, cyan, magenta and yellow has two of the one litre pouches in a station, when the in-operation pouch is exhausted, the second litre comes online automatically allowing for almost continuous running. The exhausted ink pouches can be changed on the fly with the minimum of fuss and mess.

ChromaLuxe inks are specially designed to work on Texart printers

As explained, with the colours available other than the four-colour process set the Texart RT-640M is capable of providing vibrant reproduction such as intense oranges and deep purples. Added to this, with the inclusion of fluorescent pink and yellow and soft pastel shades makes the printing of sportswear, signage and point of purchase products in the most eye catching of designs possible.

Each head can be optimised with eight channels, each of which has a sublimation waveform and maintenance function designed in it to allow up to seven different ink droplet sizes. The wrapped technology of the head gives the Texart RT-640M the ability to produce smooth colour graduation across a wide gamut.

The second element of the RT-640M solution is the Ergosoft Roland Edition 2 RIP software which has been specially designed to work on Texart printers. Roland claims this software is the premier option for the textile and dye-sublimation market.

It has 64-bit native support so it will integrate with the newest hardware with very little conflict or interruption. The software comes with a number of new functions such as eight simultaneous RIP servers, a colour replacement feature within the EPS/PDF and PSD/TIFF files and for the more complex eight colour process the ink profiling system has been improved and simplified.

So, with this combination, it is easy to see how Roland substantiates the claim the Texart RT-640M to be able to be so flexible.

Ink application is only part of the solution however, with the scope of substrates possible to be printed on; it needs to have hardware that will cope with all the various types of material passing through it.

The Texart RT-640M has an adjustable roller system on the infeed section of the machine which ensures that there is as stable and interrupted supply of the thinnest of substrates. This device can tension the substrate evenly and adjust the material to cancel skewing and making sure when the ink, if placed across the sheet, duplication of the images is maintained at the highest of standards.

Once printed, the Texart RT-640M has a take-off system that will ensure the printed matter is ready for the post-print application that is needed. Those post application processes are large in number and with additional equipment; the printer can cope with almost any shape or object. The optional element of the printer is called the TU3-64 which will roll up a 64" width product accurately and efficiency to a weight of 40 kgs.

To understand exactly how the Texart RT-640M can print on this range of products, Roland has cleverly explained the workflow through a simple flowchart.

The RT-640M can print on a range of substrates, resulting in textiles, soft signage, sportswear and even 3D objects

For digital direct printing on textile you have one strand of the two strand aspect of the printer. Once produced the printed substrate can be processed via a calendar or reactivator oven. The second strand of the Texart RT-640M is the leg with the digital transfer printing. This means the printer applies a sublimation image onto a transfer sheet for post-print application through a calendar, heat press or 3D vacuum device for the most obscure of objects.

This means the Texart RT-640M can either directly print on back lit products, banners, soft signage, home décor fashion and promotional merchandise. Rigid and 3D objects are equally easily coloured to the client’s needs.

Keeping this printer in the best possible condition, Roland can help the end user with a clever app called Roland Printer Assist. Whilst away from the printer, the app allows you to check ink supply, waste bottle condition, receive consumable item replacement times and even clean the machine without being there.

And for final peace of mind, as with all Roland products it comes with Roland DG Care. This is Roland's product warranty that, supported with ISO certification, should give the end user the confidence the machine will receive all the care needed should a problem persist.

Brian Sims principal consultant, Metis Print Consultancy, www.metis-uk.eu

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