Machine: Roland RT-640 Dye Sub
Tell us a bit about your business
Peak UK is a world leader in producing clothing and equipment for canoeing and kayaking. Our products are the choice of many World and Olympic Champions.
When did you buy the RT-640?
We purchased our RT-640 in January 2016, just in time for the Rio Olympics. Secretly we had developed a special garment for Rio and we wanted to be able to print the full garment to make something truly unique and special for the Games. For the London 2012 Games we pioneered sublimation printing on technical breathable, stretch and waterproof fabrics. We used a Mutoh 44-inch machine and Monti press. We could only print two sleeve panels at a time; for the Rio Games in 2016 we wanted to print full 64 inch width. So in January 2016 we purchase the RT-640 and a calendar system. The investment was worthwhile. Our garments looked amazing and sped Joe Clarke to Olympic Gold!
What other machines did you look at before purchasing this one?
We talked with the guys at Xpres. It was between the Roland and the Epson machines. I went to Xpres and tested both. The Roland just seemed a bit more industrial and reliable looking. I think we made a good choice. So far no problems at all.
Is there anything you don’t like or would like to see in an upgrade?
The removable and magnetic paper clamps are a little annoying, but it’s nothing major. We can work with them no problem. One day we may upgrade to the XT-640, just for speed, but the cost is far higher.
What’s it like to use?
The machine is super simple to use. Really reliable, with no problems at all since we installed it. We use just the four-colour CMYK set up and the colours are great. We had our own profiles initially set up for our work and since then we have not changed a thing. For super bright colours we sometimes find it best to produce RGB files.
What size runs and type of work is it used for?
We sublimation print technical waterproof and breathable fabrics for top end performance kayaking equipment. We make one-off bespoke garments for individuals and also full national team orders. The beauty of sublimation is that to do one print is no problem. We print around 30 garments per run, usually grouping several orders together on one print run. For larger runs, perhaps the XT-640 would be better, just for speed. Maybe we will upgrade for the Tokyo Games?
What other machines do you have?
We have a super reliable Roland Camm- 1 Servo vinyl cutter and an Xpres Texpres calendar unit. We use the RT-640 and calendar together to print our sublimation garments. We use the Camm-1 to produce vinyl transfer to go on our garment neck seals.
What would be your advice to others thinking of buying a similar machine?
Go and test the machines you are interested in. Make sure you’re happy with the finished print quality before you buy. Xpres has a great showroom and is happy for you to go and test everything there. I took along rolls of fabric and almost set up shop in there. Make sure the machine you buy has a cost effective service plan, and check that print heads are covered.