WLM Design road-tests new Roland DG TrueVIS VF2-640 with green ink
WLM Design | Netherlands
Vibrant, powerful colours
In the world of motocross, sports gear is dominated by vibrant, powerful colours. WLM Design – an expert in the design and in-house production of personalised shirts, trousers and stickers for motocross, BMX and downhill mountain biking – acted as a European beta site to put the new Roland TrueVIS VF2-640 to the test. Their verdict: "The colour range, with both orange and green as additional colour channels, is fantastic."
This spring WLM Design, founded in 2000 by Wisja Lamers and Imka Kooijmans, moved to a brand new building in Mill, the Netherlands. On-trend motorcycle gear immediately grabs the attention in the showroom, along with the motocross bike on which Glenn Coldenhoff finished third at the World Cup in 2019 and won the Motocross of Nations at the TT Circuit in Assen. The passion for the sport is palpable from the moto paraphernalia on display.
"We come from the cross world ourselves and we're huge fans," says Lamers. "You’ve got to have some connection with this sport to be successful as an entrepreneur. In our lorry-cum-camper, we visit a lot of competitions in Europe. People know us and we know them. We operate in the upper segment of the market; at that level, quality is everything."
WLM Design is an innovative company that designs and produces totally customised sportswear and stickers for their customers. Over the years, WLM Design has grown into a company with ten employees with its head office and production facility in Mill and a branch office in Borgloon, Belgium. From these two locations, the European cross world – motocross (MX), bike motocross (BMX) and downhill – is served. WLM Design has also become a well-known player in the darts world and caters for teams and clubs from other sports too.
"Our strength is the production of custom-made sportswear and stickers from one piece to larger numbers. We've got the entire production process under our own management," says Lamers. WLM Design embraced the digital sublimation printing technique to produce shirts as early as the beginning of this century. "After extensive testing, we've also been producing custom-made MX and BMX pants in-house since 2018. That's truly unique in our industry."
Durable, thick stickers
Lamers also saw the advantages of the digital production of stickers early on. In 2005, after much pioneering work, WLM Design became one of the first sticker manufacturers to digitally produce the especially thick stickers used for MX – 'that print film is made to my specifications in the United States' – one piece at a time. In recent years, this has been completed on a Roland VersaEXPRESS RF-640 8 Colour printer. Since January 2020, a Roland TrueVIS VF2-640 took its place next to it: the new 1.6m-wide printer for the mid-range segment. "Acting as a beta site was a unique experience from which I've learned a lot," says Lamers.
The TrueVIS VF2-640 has eight colour channels, with green, orange and white among its striking colour options. Because WLM Design only prints on the special white MX film, the business uses the configuration without white ink. Lamers praises its colour range: "The TrueVIS VF2-640 is equipped with TR2 inks that offer a very wide colour spectrum with brilliant, saturated solids. That's really critical, because we almost only print vector files and hardly any photorealistic images."
The TrueVIS VF2 is the first 'print only' machine in Roland's TrueVIS range, engineered with all the print technology of TrueVIS VG2 printer/cutter devices, including TR2 inks. However, in addition to orange, the VF2 runs GREENGUARD Gold certified TR2 ink in vibrant green. This has proven essential for WLM Design's profiling. "Colour reproduction is incredibly important to us," explains Lamers. "My reference is a proprietary PMS range. I 'mix' all desired colours by hand. Matching spot colours – such as KTM orange, Kawasaki green and Honda red – is very easy in the VersaWorks 6 RIP software, which is also incredibly user friendly for quickly loading several jobs in a row."
With VersaWorks 6, green and orange can be used as process colours to print rich, more brilliant colours, and to replace spot colours. As with the VG2 series, the VF2 software features the Roland Orange Color System Library, to which a special Green Color System Library has now been added. Thanks to the software's True Rich Color settings it's easy to print colours that practically explode off the page. Users can choose from a number of different colour configurations, compatible with a wide range of media, including orange, green and white at the same time: CMYKLkOrGrWh, CMYKLcLmLkWh, CMYKLcLmLkOr, CMYKLkOrGr and 2xCMYK.
Less ink, great speeds
Lamers is also satisfied with the hardware, especially the improved roll-up unit. "The printed media is rolled up perfectly straight and tight," he says. "The start-up of the machine is fast and the cleaning cycle is relatively short. That saves time and ink." In four-colour configuration the maximum print speed is 12.8sqm/hr, while for eight colours it is 7.6sqm/hr – an increase on the speeds possible on the RF-640 that can help WLM Design stay ahead of the competition.