Page 35 - Print 21 Magazine Nov-Dec 2018
P. 35

Supply Side People
Going the extra mile
This outreach end-user philosophy extends to the well-known Roland DG Mobile Imagination Centre, a mobile showroom and training facility. At the time of this interview it was in Toowoomba, Queensland, bringing the latest in wide format printers
to the region. Staffed with skilled technicians, it’s more than a sales expedition. Wall is keen to emphasise the educational and training aspect, even for visitors who are not necessarily users of the company’s equipment. Any industry professional can engage with the experienced trainers to help solve problems.
It’s the same with the Roland Academy, a regular clinic held at
the Sydney Creative Centre and nationally in other venues, where industry professionals access the
best of industry knowledge. The usually sold-out events comprise around eight people so there’s
plenty of one-on-one time. “We go through the basics, then move on to advanced tips and tricks, looking at aspects of production such as colour management,” said Wall, who relishes the interaction with customers.
“In the fourteen years I’ve been here I’m amazed by some of the
things the end-users are doing. Hence the Creative Centre concept, which
we started in order to showcase
the creativity of our end users. Our current company slogan is Imagine, and our historical phrase is... turning imagination into reality. That’s basically what Roland does. What does the customer wish to do, what kind
of solution are they looking for? The product is just part of the solution.
“Trade shows are important
too. You meet a wide gamut of people there. Even with 135 offices worldwide we can’t be everywhere. We’re also cooperating with schools: we’re supporting STEM in the curriculum with our products, educating the next generation.”
Not only print
This year Roland DG is celebrating 30 years in Australia, reinforcing
its premier position in wide format signage while expanding its range of activities. The graphic signage sector remains the main focus, comprising over half the company’s business.
It has one of the largest arrays of printers in the industry ranging from the entry BN-20, signature TrueVIS VG and SG Series printer cutters including the fastest and
most productive SOLJET PRO4 XR-640 Wide Format Printer Cutter, entry level RF-640 and production EJ-640 Printers, through to innovative dye sublimation printing technology with the Texart RT-640 and XT-640, on down in size to the UV technology flatbed LEJ-640FT, Roll to Roll LEC series, and benchtop flatbed LEF printers.
But there are other sectors, some which are rapidly growing: 3D fabrication and CNC milling and dental milling devices, as well as all types of engraving products. “Two years ago we had a new business as an offshoot of our current business, called DGSHAPE, that makes compact CNC milling machines for a wide variety of 3D applications,
want to stand out from the crowd with a little bit of 'me' on the product they’re carrying: monogrammed wine glasses, giftware. You look at the mobile phone and how many are sold in the marketplace. Everyone wants that little bit of personalisation.
“The theme of our stand at Visual Impact was that yes, we are part of the sign industry, but there’s also a large opportunity for personalisation we cater for without losing sight
of our current product and service offering, which is to the sign and print industry.”
A history of innovation
Throughout its history, Roland DG has constantly pushed the boundaries of what’s possible. That is also part of the company’s passion. It’s a record
of technology firsts, ranging from the initial printer cutter to the world’s first wide format flatbed UV printer capable of printing on materials up to 100mm thick.
Developing its own ink formulas and standards is also an integral part of the company’s progress. It has led the way in the development of UV, water-based and solvent dye- sub inks. In addition, Roland DG is very protective of its GreenGuard rating, encouraging a vigorous process of recycling products and refurbishment. Cartridges and cardboard packaging are all recycled.
From his laconic style you’d
never know that the 57-year-old Wall operates in one of the most competitive sectors of the industry. Wide-format sign and display has enjoyed a boom in recent years
as more companies pile in. That Roland DG retains its pre-eminent spot is due in no small part to
an ingrained if subdued joy in competition. “Competition is
good, it means we have to strive to stay in front. Personally I’m quite competitive but I believe it’s about selling on the merits of the product, not denigrating the competition. It’s my job to listen to what the industry is saying, what our end users want and of course, to answer to the board.”
An active member of industry associations, notably Visual Connections, he’s happy for the opportunity to contribute something back to the industry. Between his leadership of Roland DG here and overseas, as well as his enthusiastic industry engagement, John Wall has plenty to keep him busy – and it’s obvious he likes it that way. 21
“In the fourteen years I’ve been here I’m amazed by some of the things the end-users are doing. Hence the Creative Centre concept, which we started in order to showcase the creativity of our end users.”
from prototyping, rapid manufacturing, hobby, craft and jewellery making, to producing medical and dental prosthetics, which is a growing market. It needed to have its own direction, not follow the direction
of the sign industry. It was split off to give it its own freedom. Basically we’re a distributor [here in Australia]. We carry both lines, Roland DG
Loyalty and creativity
According to Wall, much of the strength of the company comes
from the loyalty and creativity of its customers. “Our customers support one another through global online forums, becoming more and more self-taught. We help to facilitate these forums in different parts of the world. We do participate but our global customers drive the forums. I’d like to think they see us as dependable, not only for the quality of our products but also for our service and support, training and knowledge.
“The products they turn out are amazing. New areas are coming into the industry in terms of what you can do with inkjet. The lines are becoming increasingly blurred between print and signage. Many end-users do a bit of everything. Whether it’s a small operation with one or two employees, or a large production house, or graphic design agency.
“Product personalisation is becoming a bigger part of it, things such as corporate golf balls. Nowadays you can pretty much personalise anything. Most people

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