Roland DG will be selling its first direct to garment printer, the VersaStudio BT12, which it claims has been developed by Roland’s COTO business division but appears to actually be a rebadged Ricoh Ri100.
This is a desktop device designed to print full colour A4-sized prints directly on 50-100 percent cotton-based products such as t-shirts and tote bags. The greyscale printheads come from Ricoh with 1200 dpi resolution.
There’s an optional HB 12 finishing unit that’s designed to sit underneath the printer, which does make for a very neat solution that should easily fit onto a counter-top in a retail environment. This is a heat press with a choice of contact or non-contact fixing.
Roland set up the COTO Business Division at the end of last summer, ostensibly to “pursue the value of customer experience for individuals by expanding personalized printing and shaping services that go beyond the existing Retail field.” I have no idea what this means and only hope that it made more sense in Japanese.
Naturally, neither Roland nor Ricoh wanted to comment about the inks that this printer uses. It’s most likely that Roland is simply using the same ink as the Ricoh version, though it is possible the ink cartridges have been chipped. Nonetheless, customers should check this and shop around in case they can find a cheaper ink supply.
It will be available from April this year and costs £2999.
It’s also worth noting that Roland has a new flatbed printer, the XT640S, designed to print to up to 12 t-shirts in a single print run. It looks as if Roland has just added a flatbed to one of its existing Texart textile printers. Strangely, despite showing the printer at the Printwear and Promotion Live show in the UK, Roland now seems reluctant to mention anything else about this device!