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The cutting edge

The cutting edge

Edge’ is a word that has suffered from overuse of late, but Mark Godden argues that it can be appropriately used to describe the benefits conferred by the latest addition to Complete CNC Solutions’ range of cnc routers.

The term ‘Having an edge’, infers a sharply-honed advantage, something that often sees the competition lost for a response; something that may seem small but that confers a big strategic or tactical advantage and that has major implications.

And now, thanks to Complete CNC Solutions’ UK launch of the Italian-manufactured Protek line of routing and cutting production systems, the word ‘edge’ is about to get the most strenuous workout it’s had for years.


Complete CNC Solutions is, of course, no stranger to routers and cutting systems, having represented the UK interests of the Tekcelrange for many years. That’s a relationship that will continue to grow, according to Julian Sage, Managing Director of Complete CNC Solutions, who explained: “We’ve introduced the Protek lineto help us deliver a solution for some of the new markets we’re pursuing and also to help move progressive businesses operating in the sign and allied industries to tackle new application areas. Our Tekcel line remains the defining foundation of what’s now a whole family of systems and it continues to represent a critical component of our product map for the future.”

However, according to Julian, the new Protek line delivers something different and leaves a very individual set of fingerprints on the output it touches, delivering he maintains, cut edges of a quality that leaves anyone who has an appreciation of routing and cutting’s finer points awestruck.

The output delivered by the two Protek machines features such smooth and artefact-free edges that they look as though they’re the product of an additional finishing stage or two, but they’re not. Output comes off the router bed in a highly finished state that really needs to be seen and touched in order to be fully appreciated. But Julian simply describes it as ‘remarkable’!

He continues: “Edge quality is a reflection of every single system component and its interplay with the systems’ advanced controllers. Moving a cutter around a shape involves precise control of the given machine’s axis. Typically, output bears some kind of witness mark that shows control being interpolated or passed from one axis to another. Some minor but significant deviation from the ordained path is usually seen in the form of an equally minor mark that interrupts an otherwise obvious cut-continuation –but not in the case of the Protek systems. To see anything at all, other than an incredible edge, involves the kind of greatly magnified scrutiny that’s normally reserved for digital print. It really is that good.”

The good news evidently continues at a more practical level too, as both the multifunctionalUnico TT model, with its standard knife cutting capability, and the more modestly specified Unico, are capable of maintaining incredible turns of speed while delivering this exemplary quality.

Julian insists that powerful spindles, spinning at mind-blowing speeds and tenacious material hold-down systems that secure even the most awkwardly shaped work-pieces, challenge conventional physical limits.He said: “Prodigious quantities of cutting waste are the product of such dragster-like performance, but it’s all dealt with by a really effective removal system that leaves the bed, and the work, clean and ready for action, ensuring that quality output, and lots of it, can be produced quickly, cleanly and with minimal operator intervention.

He went on to observe: “The engineering quality of the Protek line is a thing of real beauty. Everything is well conceived and flawlessly executed. Over-dimensioned helical rack-and-pinion powera brushless-servo drive governed by a Mitsubishi Controller System. It’s all run behind proprietary firmware and a  very use-friendly operator console.”

The systems also bristle with neat touches. The usual plumbers’ nightmare of duct-work serving zoned vacuum beds is notably missing. Instead, all vacuum services are routed through the massively stiff chassis elements.  And if you are thinking that it has to be welded perfectly to protect against leaks, you’re right.  It does and it is!

Features abound and the options list is impressive too. Flat beds are taken for granted and so too are signmaking materials that are anything but flat. Variation in material thickness can be sensed if needed and the Z-Axis will step in and actively compensate to deliver clean, evenly weighted engraved lines to complement those flawlessly finished edges.

In addition, Complete CNC Solutions is building in a whole package of its own support and training offerings to help turn what are obviously two very capable systems into production powerhouses that deliver the goods.

Julian concluded: “Whether it’s companies that are just embarking on the learning curve with rigid materials, or those who are already handling a large print-cut workload, we’re ready for business with a system that caters for their individual needs and with this in mind, we are planning a series of open days and road shows so that sign and display companies can see the machines in action.  And I can promise that they won’t be disappointed!”

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