I recently had the opportunity to install 2 of the new Roland BN20 VersaStudio desktop printer / cutters. There have been many inquiries and requests for information and a “real” assessment of how well these units perform and if it is really a viable solution to different problems they have been facing. I will admit that when I first heard about the VersaStudio, I did not think it would do well and it would not meet the needs of most shops. After getting some time with both the machine and a couple of shops, I can honestly say that I have to eat a bit of crow on my stance. There is a very large need for this type of technology in the apparel industry and the shops that are using right now have had great results.
The machine is pretty small compared to all of the other VersaCAMM units out there and can easily fit onto a standard folding table or a desktop. The unit was easy to unpack and the documentation is very clear on how to install everything. There is a step by step guide similar to most desktop printers that leads the end user through installation of the software first and connecting the printer to your computer second. Once the software is installed, you simply plug the USB cable in and it identifies the printer and installs the drivers. Next the software leads the user through the initial setup of the printer and performs a flushing sequence to ensure it is clean. Next there is an installation of the ink cartridges and a final step of calibrations that is completely software driven and gives the user a visual guide to ensure that everything is easy to follow. In all it took less than an hour to get the machine unpacked, software installed, and calibrations done. Now on to the fun stuff, printing! The printing is slow compared to what I am used to at 10 SQFT an hour.
Both of the shops I installed for were very pleased with the speed and did not seemed to be concerned at all. We ran through heat transfer and decal media and applied finished products to garments and other items. As I walked each of the shops through the process, they came up with application after application and would tell me of customers that they were going to utilize the versatility of this type of equipment for. One of the shops was a small at home business that already had embroidery and DTG. They were looking to use the VersaStudio for dark garments, decals, posters, banners and a ton of other applications that they currently had to outsource. The second shop was a well established business that had embroidery, heat transfer and a CAMMs machine for rhinestones. They were looking to bring their heat transfers in shop and be able to complete low run orders or one offs with the VersaStudio. Both shops were looking at the VersaStudio as a way to get into the market on these projects and stop outsourcing while having better control on production times, color control and most importantly, profit margin! They both expressed that this could take off for them and in the future they may upgrade to a larger faster unit to handle the bigger jobs.
I know that in the short time since i have done the installations, both shops have produced several jobs for customers and are very pleased with the machinery and the results they have gotten. I will say that I feel this new printer cutter has a great spot in our industry. I am hearing from DTG users that want to add this to their shop to make up for the gaps there and to bring a larger list of products they can offer to their customers in shop. I am very impressed with the VersaStudio and am happy to recommend it to anyone that has been considering it for their shop. If you would like more information or to see other pictures than the ones in this article, please let me know and I will be happy to send you what I have. I will have one of these at the class I teach this week and hope to have one permanently here for teaching classes in the future.