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ITC designs route to productivity

ITC designs route to productivity

The Design Shop in Barnstaple is an established sign, print and interior design company that offers an exceptionally varied range of services and products.

From its manufacturing facility in North Devon, the company can make everything from banners, feather flags, vehicle graphics, PoS and PoP displays, roller banners, exhibition stands, internal and external signage and much more, thanks to its in-house digital printing, CNC machining and laser cutting facilities.

With 10 staff, the 20-year-old business has a client base that varies from small local start-ups to large national companies – all taking advantage of a turnkey service that can design, create and build signs and graphics, whether in the hospitality, leisure, public or corporate environments. For the last 15 years, the Barnstaple business has relied on the expert support of Industrial Tooling Corporation (ITC).

Commenting upon the application of ITC cutting tools, the Design Shop’s Adam Paull said: “For years, we have been using routing tools from ITC on a wide variety of applications and materials. We have used ITC’s 3, 4, 6 and 8mm diameter multi-purpose tools down the years, as they have always provided the best all-round performance on everything from Foamex and Perspex through to aluminium, acrylic, Di-bond and just about anything else. However, as our company has evolved, so have our tooling requirements – and ITC has been there every step of the way.”

Referring to the specific applications of ITC tools and the technical support the company offers, Adam continued: “We were previously using a 6mm diameter standard routing tool for machining 18mm thick plywood sheets (8′ x 4′ ) but as we were cutting ply sheets more frequently for bars, restaurants and exhibition displays, we needed to improve our machining performance. I called Sally Hunt at ITC to ask for advice and she recommended ITC’s 2091 Series compression tool. We immediately went from an almost 2m/min feed rate up to 10m/min, which meant cutting sheets more than five times faster than before. Furthermore, the previous tool could only process five 8′ x 4′ sheets before burn-out, while the new 2091 Series will process 15 sheets before we need a tool change. This provides three times the previous tool life and five times the productivity. Additionally, the edge finishes are vastly improved and we no longer have to spend 10-15 minutes hand-finishing each sheet.”

Not only does ITC supply industry leading tooling solutions to the Design Shop, it also combines this with uncompromising service and technical support.

Adam continued: “Whenever we have a new material to cut; I am straight on the phone to ITC’s Sally and she always specifies the right tool for the application. This level of technical support is invaluable and it is also underpinned by the service we receive from ITC. For example, on numerous occasions, I have called or e-mailed Sally at 5pm and we have received tools the next day and, for a busy company like ours, this level of service is critical to our success.”

The Design Shop recently enlisted ITC’s help when it had a number of projects that had to be machined from 3mm thick grey aluminium with poor machineability attributes.

Adam remembered: “We had a series of aluminium signs to produce for external shop and bar signs and we were finding that although our existing tools worked well with the soft aluminium, there were excessive burrs and, as the material was welding itself to the tools, they didn’t last for very long. I called Sally and she suggested that we try the 180-2362-10K-STA with ITC’s new Iridis coating technology. The results were staggering.”

The proprietary coating technology prevents chips from welding to the cutting tool, even when undertaking dry machining where excessive heat can be generated. For the Design Shop, this has improved tool life by more than 50percent. However, the key feature is the surface finishes.

Adam concluded: “With the heat generation from the previous tool, we were witnessing excessive burrs, which required considerable secondary hand finishing, but with the new tool, the coating technology dissipates the heat and prevents burrs from building-up and the waste material from welding to the tool and impacting its life. We couldn’t be happier with the cutting tools we get from ITC, but just as important to us is the service and technical expertise that supports us as we drive the business forward.”

For further information on The Design Shop, visit:

 For further information on ITC, visit:

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