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Roland Pro4 640-printerSoft signs hanging from the ceiling of a building

With more sign makers turning their attention to soft signage, there has been a spike in the sales of wide format printers designed to print onto these substrates at Roland DG (UK).

“Launched in 2013, our SOLJET Pro4 XF-640 wide format printer, nicknamed The Beast, has already become a popular choice for sign makers printing soft signage banners and flags,” says Rob Goleniowski, Business Manager of Sign & Graphics.  “It has tremendous production capacity – printing at speeds of up to 102m²/hr, making it ideal for high volume production or on-demand requirements.”  The VersaART RE-640 has remained another popular choice, growing over the years to become one of the most robust and cost-effective solutions for both textile and vinyl banner production. Retailing for under £10,000, this printer has become a staple for many sign makers looking for what Rob describes as a “flexible and robust production workhorse.”

The SOLJET Pro4 XF-640 and VersaART RE-640 can print both dye sublimation for textiles and materials and EcoSolvent for PVB banners. Combining ease of use, low running costs and reliability, these printers provide a high return on investment for sign makers. According to Rob, Roland’s success in the soft signage market can be attributed to providing sign makers with this sort of versatility. “We are one of the few manufacturers that can offer a complete solution,” he explains, pointing out that Roland DG offers everything from the hardware, software and inks that are used to create flags and banners.

Rob points out that despite its popularity elsewhere on the continent over the past few years, soft signage and flags have only recently started enjoying the same level of success in the UK. Until recently banners had been deemed by many as a niche market, but with businesses looking to diversify and gain a competitive edge, many are now adding banners to the roster. The increased focus on greener solutions and materials has also led many sign makers to explore this sector. “In line with this, manufacturers have also been working hard to improve the environmental credentials of their technologies by developing machines with lower carbon footprints, power consumptions and ink costs; and the greater availability of recyclable materials has boosted this further,” adds Rob.  And as higher shipping and logistics costs have made the delivery of traditional signage more expensive, it has become mutually beneficial for sign makers and clients to opt for more lightweight soft signage solutions such as fabric banners rather than PVC to keep costs down.

What to look for when venturing into the banners and flags market

When considering moving into soft signage, there are number of factors sign makers should take into account. Printing onto soft substrates, for example, can require different machinery to what’s already in place. “No one wide format machine will do it all,” says Rob, “however, there are some very flexible wide format technologies available today so ensure you invest in a machine that can grow as the company grows to provide you with maximum return on your investment.” And as is the case with all jobs, investing in high-quality machinery and materials will ensure the best possible outcome. “Don’t just go for the best price at the point of purchase – it’s a false economy and many sign makers out there will tell you exactly that.” Choosing reliable and robust products will enable companies to print, finish and fit banners with the confidence to know that the quality and vibrancy of the colour and the fabric will remain over time.

From retail and POS to events, festivals and general corporate signage, banners and flags can be utilised across a number of sectors, and open up doors to countless possibilities when it comes to sourcing new business.

To learn more, visit www.rolanddg.com

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