Koolkut powers growth
Growth, while a good thing and a key goal for many businesses, also brings its challenges and for Lincolnshire-based Elite Signs, the issue of sheet material cutting loomed large among those challenges.
Established in 1998, the company originally cut Foamex and Dibond manually, with a blade and straight edge, buying other sheet materials in cut to size. This approach was fine while the business was small, but, as Nick Tinker, Elite’s owner, explained, it fell short once the company began to grow. He observed: “We grew by about a third in the course of one year, which revealed the need for a great degree of flexibility and capacity.”
In order to achieve that flexibility and capacity, Elite Signs needed to be able to cut sheet materials in house so that it would no longer need to wait for its suppliers to deliver materials for each incoming order. Additionally, Elite would be able to make use of off cuts, turning what was previously waste into saleable products.
Nick was aware that a moving-column vertical panel saw would be the best option, as it required only one man operation and would take up the minimum amount of space. In addition, it could be used to repeat cut a wide variety of materials, while entirely eliminating the need for the horizontal handling that can be problematic when working with both heavy sheets and vulnerable, flexible sheets, such as acrylics.
However, after thoroughly researching the market, Nick found that most machines were exceptionally expensive, even when they were available second hand, so he was delighted to discover the Koolkut range from British panel saw specialist Sagetech, which is priced from £4,995.
“I was impressed,” he recalled. “The Koolkuts were priced about the same, new, as many second hand machines, and it was immediately apparent that they’re robust, solidly built saws. For the money, they are amazing.”
Elite Signs’ Koolkut KK21 is the largest saw in the Koolkut range, catering for sheet sizes of up to 3.1m by 2.1m. Its smaller siblings, the KK16 and KK12, cut sheets of up to 10′ x 5′ (3.1m x 1.6m) and 8′ x 4′ (2.5m x 1.25m) respectively. All Koolkuts offer plunge and bevel cutting, simple and compound angle cutting to the full length and breadth of the sheet, quick stops for easy precise and repeat dimensioning and mid-height supports for smaller work pieces.
The Koolkut range sits at the heavy-weight end of Sagetech’s family of saws, capable of high-end intermediate industrial use, whileat the other end of the spectrum, Sagetech’s fully portable Zapkut ZK range offers a genuine vertical panel saw solution to entry-level operators, while the Zapkut ZM units are mid-range solutions, providing many of the benefits of heavier duty units, such as a moving column design, at a fraction of the cost.
Able to cut a wide range of signmaking materials, including plywood, MDF, acrylics, Foamex, Dibond and solid aluminium, the Koolkut range offers greater versatility than guillotine and knife-blade cutting solutions.
With no exposed blade, nor the need to move the work piece during cutting, these saws are safer than common alternatives, such as table saws. The exceptionally robust frame and high-precision, sealed-for-life bearings offer more precise cutting and the vertical attitude removes the need for horizontal sheet handling, thus reducing the risk of injury and work piece damage. Cutting even the heaviest sheets is a genuine one-man job.
Installed in early 2013 Elite Signs’ Koolkut KK21 has become an indispensable part of its armoury. Running every day and on busy days, more or less continuously,it is used for dimensioning Foamex and Dibond, and trimming off-cuts to size for use in customer projects. The saw is also frequently used to trim off the bleed on finished signs too.
Nick summarised: “The Koolkut has given us enhanced speed and flexibility, and contributed to stronger profits. It paid for itself within the first year. It’s an absolute essential in the studio, and great value for money!”
For further information on Sagetech’s vertical panel saw ranges, visit www.sagetech.co.uk.
For further infrmation on Elite Signs visit: www.elite4signs.co.uk