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UV printing
UV printing done the Kwik way
When Andrew Bannerman of Kwik Kopy Chatswood went to purchase a new Roland wide-format printer, he wasn’t expecting to walk away with a VersaUV LEF-12i benchtop UV machine. He’s
glad he did, though, as it’s brought a lucrative market space under his roof.
Bannerman, Kwik Kopy Chatswood’s manager, was introduced to the world of benchtop UV on a trip to Roland DG to purchase a completely different machine. “I didn’t even know these existed until I went to the Roland showroom,” he says. “I did not know I was going to then buy the LEF-12i.
“We had lots of requests for promotional items, though, and when I saw all of the products that
this machine could create, and how easy it was to
do, I knew it would save us a lot of time and money printing things in-house which we would have had to outsource before.”
There are three models in the VersaUV LEF series, ranging from A4 size up to 770x330mm, and each has a 100mm clearance for printing on thicker objects. The LEF series can print CMYK plus white and clear, with the option of an on-board primer as well. This primer expands the range of surfaces it can work with, including glass and metal, by improving ink adhesion.
Though Kwik Kopy’s LEF-12i is the entry-level model, it’s already proven to be a worthwhile investment, according to Bannerman. “It’s already turning over work every day. We’ve got plenty of jobs for it,” he says. “It’s opened up a new market.”
Its capacity to print short runs of promotional
and personalised items has proven invaluable to Bannerman’s business, and the shelves full of samples at the front of the shop are proof positive of the LEF- 12i’s versatility. “We get asked, what’s the minimum run? We’ve been doing runs of 100, of 50, of 15, but with this machine, we can print one pen if we want to,” he says. 21
Above: “It’s opened up a new market.” Andrew Bannerman, Kwik Kopy Chatswood, with the Roland VersaUV LEF-12i.
printing pens, mugs, rulers
and much more,” he says. “The
good thing about the Australian promotional market is that the people who want to get into it already have some interest, but when I show them applications they hadn’t even thought of, it opens their eyes even more.”
It’s a good time for printers
to enter the promotional sector, according to Jason Hay, national sales manager for Mimaki Australia. “As point-of-sale marketing becomes more digital-focused, it
is a fast-growing space,” he says. “The benefit of the small outlay on these machines is the customer can educate themselves on bringing new applications to the market.”
Mimaki sells flatbed UV printers in three bed sizes: the 300mm by 420mm UJF-3042, the 600mm by 420mm UJF- 6042, and the 710mm by 510mm UJF- 7151. Each comes equipped for either hard or soft ink sets, depending on the substrates the client intends to print on. “Customers generally buy multiple units running different ink sets because of the growth of their business – it brings in extra clients they previously would have lacked,” says Hay.
The gift that keeps on giving
Business for flatbed UV is booming, according to Hay, with plenty of printers looking to cash in on the ever-expanding promotional item trade. “We’ve got hundreds of these machines installed in Australia, and it’s growing year-on-year. We’ve probably sold four this month alone,” he says.
Roland’s range of VersaUV LEF- series benchtop UV printers has seen similar success, according to Stone. “It’s probably one of the fastest-
Left: The Mimaki UJF-3042 Mk II benchtop UV printer.
growing technologies for Roland
DG – we’ve always been associated with wide-format and print-and-cut, that’s been a fairly stable market, but we see growth in this year-on- year and expect that to continue as demand increases,” he says.
Promotional goods aren’t the only market space that this technology can unlock. Stone points to the demand for personalised gifts and souvenirs as another lucrative opportunity for printers. “You can move into merchandising, giftware or original goods – people producing their own products can use this type of equipment to add graphics, text, logos and so on to their products. It really opens up the door into more retail-focused businesses.
“Personalisation is a huge market globally at the moment, particularly for physical shops looking to compete with online retailers, as they can offer a unique experience where people
can add their own names and images to products and give them that additional value,” he says.
As with any new investment, Stone advises printers start small when looking to get into benchtop UV printing, and experiment to find out what their customers are after. “Determine the products you’d like to initially produce to test and make sure you’re happy with the results. From there you can start to expand into other products,” he says.
The good news, though, is that benchtop UV printers such as Roland’s LEF series are often easy
to use with a little training. “We have a very user-friendly machine and software, easy for people who aren’t familiar with the technology to pick up and incorporate into their workflow,” says Stone.
“You don’t need to be a RIP professional or a designer to start working with this type of machine.” 21
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