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It’s all in the finish – Part 2

It’s all in the finish – Part 2

For Part 1 of this months Cutting, Routing and Laminating feature click here

Rolling success


The Rollsroller Flatbed Applicator supplied by William Smith continues to provide one of the most efficient and cost-effective methods of applying self-adhesive vinyl, cut vinyl graphics, digital prints and application tapes to a wide range of disparate rigid and flexible substrates.

Available in a choice of four formats (Entry, Regular, Premium and a dedicated Traffic option for traffic and road sign applications involving rigid substrates) and in different sizes, the super-fast Rollsroller has enabled sign and graphics producers to eliminate time-consuming and labour-intensive print finishing, pre-masking and laminating processes associated with traditional methods of application. Production is now far higher and much easier and quicker by comparison with these methods and this has led to a huge reduction in time and labour costs and provided a fast return on investment with increased profitability for all owners of the machine

For example, many sign and graphics companies that have installed the Rollroller have benefited from faster production times that have been as high as 80 percent by comparison with traditional methods of application. In addition, the applicator can be operated by a single person, leading to huge savings in labour costs, as well as enabling a radical reduction in material wastage.

Following installation of a Rollsroller, Vaughan Allcock, Founder and Director of Birmingham-based Eventsigns, commented: “The Rollsroller has considerably reduced the time it takes to mount large graphics and has enabled us to eliminate the presence of air bubbles and creases that occur frequently when using the more traditional methods of application that invariably require two people to complete. Having used the machine for a large exhibition graphics project, we were impressed by its speed, single-person operational capability and the quality of finish achieved, plus the incredibly short time it took to complete the project with none of the aforementioned problems.”

Managing Director of Bedfordshire-based Paramount Imagination & Creation was equally enthusiastic about the performance of the Rollsroller and commented: “The result of the investment in this machine has enabled us to produce visually stunning graphics that met the critical quality guidelines of a leading fragrance and cosmetics manufacturer for which we do work and has enabled huge savings in production costs and commensurate overall profitability.”

Print Studio Manager at Paramount, Jane White added: “We used the it for a large promotional campaign across 21 airports on behalf of Burberry Body, having undertaken the same promotion in the year prior to installation of the machine. However, this year we completed the project in a 30 percent faster time and 25 percent more cost effectively, due to a huge reduction in material wastage, far less errors and a better finished product.”

William Smith will shortly announce the availability of the new ROLL-X machine, which will be comparable to the existing regular machine, both in terms of design and price point.

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Digital or die


Leading supplier of flatbed plotter/cutters, Graphtec GB has now added the i-Mark automatic digital die cutter to its product portfolio.

The i-Mark die cutter is based on the popular Graphtec CE6000-40 plotter/cutter and dedicated i-Mark software. It can be used for a range of cutting applications, including short-run label production, digital prints and packaging and will handle printed sheets of varying thicknesses and sizes ranging from A4 up to Super A3 at 330 x 483mm. It is especially ideal for short-run label production, since all the die cutting is performed digitally by the i-Mark die cutter and thus eliminates the need to purchase expensive dies.

One of the unique features of the cutter is that, depending on the thickness of the substrate being processed, it can handle up to 120 sheets of material in a continuous cycle, but with the ability to add further sheets as required without interruption of the cutting process. This is a capability that Graphtec GB considers sets the i-Mark apart from any other comparable sheet-fed system.

The desktop-mounted die cutter comprises three main machine components: sheet feeder, cutting unit and collection tray. The compact footprint of the cutter means that it can be mounted onto a table as small as 60 x 67cm. It facilitates the contour-cutting of printed sheets on cardboard without operator intervention and, since it is equipped with an internal vacuum compressor, no external air supply connection is required.

Perfect sheet alignment is achieved via a crop mark reading for each individual sheet, with a camera equipped with i-Mark technology performing the crop mark adjustments in a fraction of a second. Software algorithms compensate for any distortion from the printing process to achieve accurate cutting with minimal bleed. There is also an option to cut perforated lines during the file creation, while the cutting parameters set by the i-Mark software program enable the use of crop marks as small as four millimetres. This enables maximisation of the sheet size and minimal material wastage. Contingent upon the material being processed and the complexity of the image outline, the average cutting speed of the i-Mark is 30-40 seconds for each sheet.

In addition to the kiss-cut cutting option for self-adhesive sheets, heavier material cutting is possible on board up to 350gsm. The cutting blade is designed to accommodate two different cutting modes and works by an opening that protects the blade from wear during the cutting process.

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Small but perfectly formed

SP2000 & SP3000

The range of large-format laser cutters from Trotec will be further supplemented in 2017 with the addition of the SP2000 model, a smaller version of the award-winning SP3000 machine that is the largest in the Trotec family.

The SP2000 will have a processing area of 1680 x 2510mm compared with the larger SP3000, which has a processing area of 2210 x 3210mm. The SP3000 also boasts a faster operating speed of two metres per second and incorporates enhanced ergonomics to create more efficient workflows for users. The laser is used for the processing of acrylic, wood and textiles.

Notable features of the 1500 x 1250mm SP1500 laser cutter include the motion system, working head and laser source, in addition to InPack Technology that ensures long-term reliability. Trotec also supplies an extensive range of flatbed laser cutters for precision cutting, engraving and marking, based on CO2, Fiber and Flexx technologies, as well as a range of Galvo marking systems.

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Sharp solutions


Available from Leopold Professional Imaging, the Colex Sharpcut Conveyor flatbed cutter, which is said to be the company’s most productive solution for automated finishing of wide-format media can be used for a wide range of applications, including POP/POS displays, labels, decals, boxes and textile/fabric constructions.

The machine incorporates an interchangeable triple tool head station that selects the appropriate tool for each job, as well as a six-zone vacuum system with the Optiscout vision registration system. The package provided includes a fixed knife, oscillating knife and router, with the new and improved oscillating knife cutting at 14,000 strokes per minute to enable a 50 per cent increase in cutting speed.

A wide range of specialist cutting tools is also available from Colex to accommodate specific applications and workflow requirements.

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The complete package

unico cnc

Best known for the Tekcel brand of routers for which it is the exclusive UK distributor, Complete CNC Solutions also distributes the relatively new Protek Unico TT digital cutter.

Key features of the Protek Unico TT include static and reciprocating knives housed in a twin-tool bay and an ultra-accurate print/cut registration system. The machine’s steered knives and V cutters will process virtually any rigid or flexible material likely to encounter ink and many more that will not. Exceedingly fast in operation, the machine cuts, creases and grooves to precisely controlled depths.

In common with other flatbed digital cutters, the Unico TT also incorporates a router that claims to outperform dedicated machines. According to Complete CNC Solutions, whilst the 3.6kW routing spindle would be considered an over-specification on any other digital cutter it has proved ideal for the Unico TT. The machine also includes a powerful vacuum bed, waste extraction unit and helical rack and pinion drive system.

Complementing the Protek Unico TT is the latest Unico CNC heavy-duty and high-volume router. It is equipped to handle the thickest and most resistant materials, including plastics, metals, solid woods and composites. The router incorporates an automatic tool change facility, flatness sensor, vacuum bed hold-down system and waste extraction unit.

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Folio 4 wraps it up

itc catalogue

At the recent Sign & Digital UK exhibition, Industrial Tooling Corporation (ITC) introduced the latest Issue 4 of its Folio catalogue. A paradigm shift from the previous Issue 3 catalogue, it is packed with new product innovations that will benefit sign manufacturers and digital printers.

Key products featured in the catalogue include an expanded range of balanced routing tools for a diverse collection of material types and applications and new line of knife tools. An extensive selection of flat drag knives, round shank drag knives, oscillating and rotating blades in a huge range of sizes, geometrics and cutting angles is also featured. Adding to the product mix are high-quality drills, hand-taps, tool-holders, collets, MQL coolant and even sacrificial sheets for protecting machine processing beds.

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Run the marathon

axys drill

AXYZ International, a leading supplier of CNC routing, cutting and engraving solutions, via its online CNCRoutershop division, has introduced a specially designed tool for the processing of the solid and particle woods and laminates that are used in the production of outdoor signs and, in particular, those installed at country parks and rural areas where natural materials are both the preferred and more environmentally aware choice.

Called the Marathon Compression Tool, it is supplied in a choice of diameters and lengths to accommodate varying material processing requirements. The tool has an advanced cutting geometry and a unique coating that has been specially formulated to protect the cutting head from the high temperatures generated during the routing/cutting process. The combined upwards and downwards spiral geometry of the tool ensures a clean edge finish on both the top and bottom surfaces of the material being processed. This is of special significance if chipping of double-sided laminates is to be avoided, or when processing natural woods where edge-finishing could prove problematical if alternative standard spiral tools are used.

The Marathon Compression Tool further extends the range of routing/cutting tools, spare parts and accessories that are available on next-day delivery 24/7 via the AXYZ CNCRoutershop online facility. These tools are continually supplemented through sourcing by AXYZ International of the most advanced products from the leading European suppliers. They include high-quality router bits, collets and cones, all of which are compatible with various spindle types, oscillating and tangential knife blades and special-purpose tools. These routing/cutting production tools accommodate not only the requirements of AXYZ and Pacer machines but also any other machine, regardless of type and country of origin.

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New enhancements


A new family of high-capacity sheet feeders for the Kongsberg C and X series of digital cutting tables is about to be introduced by Esko.

Called the iBF range, the feeders have been designed to handle the widest range of rigid board substrates, both now and in the future. The feeders handle pallets of rigid materials with multiple stacks at high speed. They can also be used in conjunction with a roll feeder for handling flexible materials without having to exchange the board feeder.

Esko has also introduced the new Device Manager for precise production planning and prioritisation in digital finishing operations. The system facilitates absolute control over all aspects of the finishing process, while the supporting dedicated software determines optimal sheet nesting and increases production levels. Operators of the Device Manager use an intuitive drag-and-drop interface to prioritise workflow, insert rush jobs and even balance workloads between tables. The system can also be connected to Esko’s Automation Engine workflow solution.

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Get tiger vision!

blackman whites

UK manufacturer of flatbed knife and laser cutters, Blackman & White, has announced the arrival of Tiger Vision its new software for advanced graphic cutting, without the need for pre-printed registration points.

Especially designed to enable users to cut what they see, including unusual shapes and off-key graphics, without the need for registration marks, Tiger Vision also enables the operator to intervene in the cut file to compensate for stretched materials, such as fabrics or digitally printed textiles. The software works by using the actual graphics file as the cut file.

Tiger Vision software by Blackman & White is now available with all of its latest models.

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