While buying sheet materials cut-to-size can be a pragmatic solution that works well enough for predictable volumes of work, its limitations quickly become apparent, thus presenting signmakers with a key dilemma, namely: “How to manage the cutting of sheet materials for maximum efficiency and flexibility, while also minimising costs?”
Swindon-based Aspire Signs found the solution in Sagetech’s Zapkut ZM16 moving column vertical panel saw.
Formed three years ago, Aspire Sign serves a portfolio of clients ranging from solo tradesmen through to multi-million pound businesses and, as it became more established, it also became clear to Director Ollie Stobbs that buying ready-cut sheet materials was restricting its ability to capitalise on many sales opportunities and also causing unnecessary material wastage.
However, having realised that he needed to purchase a vertical panel saw to circumnavigate this problem, Ollie’s next challenge was one of cost. In common with many small businesses, he had a limited budget to work with and, as he wryly noted, most vertical panel saws fell into the ‘Stupid money’ price category.
However, the breakthrough came when Ollie saw an article in the sign press about the Zapkut ZM panel saw, and after discussing its capabilities with Sagetech and noting its realistic price tag, he went ahead with the purchase.
The Zapkut ZM16 moving column vertical panel saw is part of Sagetech’s extensive range, which includes the Zapkut ZK portable panel saw family and the heavier-duty Koolkut machines. The range covers applications from occasional cutting through to mid/heavy industrial use, catering for all popular signmaking and woodworking sheet sizes from 2.4m x 1.2m to 3.1m x 2.1m. Unlike many ‘guillotine’ cutters, Sagetech’s saws cut horizontally as well as vertically, so require no extra headroom to cut the full length of even 3m x 2m sheets.
A couple of years after its installation Ollie remains enthusiastic about the ZM16’s capabilities, saying: “It’s absolutely superb – you can’t beat it! It’s really compact and hassle-free, produces very little dust and the cut finish is excellent, while the variable speed control is really useful for work on different materials.”
Aspire Signs primarily uses the Zapkut ZM16 to cut Dibond and acrylic, as well as some MDF and Foamex, but ZM saws can also be used to cut Corex, solid aluminium sheet and plywood, among other materials.
Ollie observed: “ Now, cutting sheet materials is a breeze – it’s a simple two minute, one man job!” and when asked how he would summarise its performance he responded: “In one word – fantastic!”