Beams International says it 'felt like a bit of a guinea pig' when one of Europe's first Roland DG VersaUV LEC-540 printer/cutter systems was installed at its UK HQ in 2010. But eight years on, the packaging expert is using the same VersaUV LEC to print high-quality mock-ups for Christmas 2019.
Beams International, based in Gillingham in Kent, is a specialist gifting supplier, providing branded gift packs for retailers and for alcohol and food brands. Its designs for this Christmas are in supermarkets and high-street shops now, but it works with its big-name clients months in advance to ensure eye-catching cartons are ready to hit the shelves for busy shopping periods like Christmas next year.
To meet this demand, the VersaUV LEC-540 can produce up to 170 cartons a week during the busiest periods – boosting Beams International's turnaround speeds exponentially compared to its previous process.
Andy Cooper, Senior Artworker at Beams International, explains: "Before the Roland was installed, we'd design a carton, print it onto paper on a large format inkjet printer, and stick the paper onto the card. Now we can print directly onto the final substrate, adding spot UV, embossed and metallic effects, and more. Our VersaUV LEC also has white ink so we can print onto clear stock and labels.
"All in all, our mock-ups are finished at a quality that is damn close to production quality, in around one hour. It had a big impact on production speeds immediately and the attraction for our clients was huge. Even now we're one of very few businesses to offer full-colour mock-ups. The Roland lets us offer that bit extra."
He adds: "We bought the Roland from Revolution Digital after seeing it at a trade show and felt like a bit of a guinea pig at first as we were one of the first users in Europe. But it's ideal for what we do here – it does exactly what we need."
A course at the Roland Academy in 2011 also helped Beams get to know the system better. Alongside the more compact VersaUV LEC-330, the Roland VersaUV LEC-540 UV printer/cutter offers a host of options on one device: CMYK and white printing; cutting and folding; varnish and embossed effects and more, on virtually any material. It's perfect for prototype packaging, proofing and labels, as well as custom large format and speciality graphics.
On the machine's age, Andy says 'it's a lot like a car': "As long as you look after it you can expect it to carry on going. Plus the Silver Service package from Roland DG Care is second to none, and good value compared to third party services."
Andy says he's happy with the VersaUV LEC at present but is interested in a visit to the Roland Creative Centre in Clevedon to catch up on eight years of innovation.