Machine: Ricoh Ri 6000
Tell us a bit about your business
Our business has a retail outlet and a printing outlet. The retail is mainly a boutique, while at our other outlet, customers can come in with art or an idea, and we’ll help them with the artwork and make a custom-made T-shirt or tote bag or sweatshirt or what they want. That‘s our USP really, that people can come in and it‘s a next day service. We also do a lot of DTG printing, up to around 100 T-shirts, for merch and clubs etc. Our other main activity is printing stock for our own two shops. We have a range of around 20 to 30 designs.
What’s the latest DTG machine that you’ve bought?
The latest is the Ri 6000, and we have two of those. We‘ve had them about a month. They‘re an upgrade to our RJet 5s. We were pretty happy with them, for the most part of their lives, but they weren‘t quite able to keep up with the demand. We were constantly behind with an endless print queue, so we felt the need to upgrade. It was quite a daunting prospect as they’re a fair outlay.
Why did you choose the Ri 6000s?
We had been waiting for the next generation Resolute as we found the company, in comparison to others, is very good with support. If we have any issues they promptly deal with them, which makes a big difference. We were keen to stay with Resolute but weren‘t able to wait indefinitely for the next RJet and so took them up on their suggestion of the Ricoh. We bought two to future-proof the business.
How are the machines working out?
They’re very good. In comparison to the RJet 5s they are far easier to use and the interface is very simple. They are much faster – five times faster in comparison to the designs we were printing before. For full-colour on a dark shirt, we‘re printing fi ve for every one on the RJet, and the ink costs are cheaper. With a little bit of tweaking you can use far less ink and get the same results. It‘s hard to put a price on it yet, but I think it‘s about 10-25% cheaper – 10% to be conservative. At the moment I‘m comparing using what the software tells us, but I always take those readings with a pinch of salt.
Is there anything you’d like to see in an upgrade or don‘t particularly like about it?
We’ve only had them a month – we haven’t stumbled across any flaws yet. Getting a faster machine is always going to feel good.
What‘s it like to use – did it take long to pick it up?
I think if I hadn’t DTGed before it might have taken longer – I think they recommend a two-day training package – but we picked it up in three to four hours. It’s mainly just learning how to use the different software.
What size runs is it used for?
It’s mainly smaller jobs. We can take orders for 200 to 300, but the way our business is set up, we don‘t want to get in a race to the bottom with screen printers. We prefer to keep quantities low and margins as high as possible.
What other machines do you have that work with your DTG printers?
We’ve got a Viper XPT-1000 pretreatment machine and two heat presses. I‘ve always quite fancied getting a dryer but space-wise, they‘re pretty demanding and we‘re getting good results with the heat presses.
What would be your advice to others thinking of buying a DTG machine?
We’re happy with the Ri 6000s, they’re definitely a significant improvement on the RJet 5s for us. They’re five times faster and the print quality is excellent.