IT’S ALL IN THE FINISH
Cutting, routing and laminating remain key sign manufacturing paradigms but in addition have now enabled diversification from core manufacturing activities into new markets. These include the thriving digital print and cut, print wear and promotional products, labelling and packaging sectors that help create new revenue streams and lead to increased business and commensurate profitability for sign and display companies. Mike Connolly reports on some of the more impressive applications for cutting, routing and finishing systems as well as reviewing the latest product innovations.
BOOSTING BUSINESS GROWTH AT B2B
Following installation of an AXYZ 6010 CNC router, Waltham Abbey, Essex-based B2B Exhibitions has been able to take on a huge amount of additional work that has contributed significantly to the company’s future growth prospects.
在B2B交易会上推出了AXYZ 6010雕刻机后，Waltham Abbey已经能够承担大量额外的工作，为公司未来前景做出重大贡献。
Established seven years ago as a single-person business by owner Greg Shire operating initially out of his garage, the rapid development of the company led toits relocation at a 3,500 square feet facility employing a full-time staff of five and using 20 additional part-time employees as business grew. B2B Exhibitions specialises in the bespoke production of exhibition stands, special event promotional signs and displays and shop fitting units. The AXYZ router is used for virtually all of the company’s output that includes, for example, melamine-faced boards for high-end exhibition stand elements and fabricated acrylic sheets for signs and displays.
Greg Shire commented: “Since installation of the AXYZ router we have been able to increase considerably the volume of work undertaken to the extent that it has been possible to set up a separate company to fully maximise the router’s huge potential.”
The AXYZ 6010 router has a processing area of 2159mm (width) x 3048mm (length). It incorporates the AXYZ Automatic Tool Change (ATC) facility and AXYZ Vision System (AVS) for optimum routing/cutting accuracy. Greg Shire added: “The router also includes special pop up pins on either side of the machine bed to ensure that successive sheets of material are always located in the same position on the bed.”
In common with all AXYZ routers, the 6010 can be supplied with additional machining options. These include the AXYZ Auto Zone Management facility that ensures the material being processed is always held securely during the routing/cutting cycle and the latest A2MC machine control system. The A2MC has a massive 16GB of memory for program storage as well as providing network connectivity for error-free program transfer. A further optional production tool enhancement is the latest helical rack and pinion drive system featuring a multiple gear teeth configuration. This helps spread the workload more evenly and leads to greater cutting accuracy, faster throughput speeds, reduced material wastage and, ultimately, a longer than normal machine life.
Greg Shire concluded: “The entire structure was made from plywood cut by the router and featured a MDF-based frontage painted to simulate the appearance of brick. The router was also used to build the B2B Exhibitions’ main office that is also made of wood. It involved the processing of 150 sheets of 18mm hardwood ply over a period of five days.”
Greg Shire总结说：“AXYZ 6010雕刻机的整个结构是由胶合板制成的，采用了模拟砖的外观，可以在五天内处理好150张18毫米硬木地板，例如，像B2B展览公司办公室的木制地板。”
THE ACE PERFORMER
Having installed a Zund S3 digital cutting table at its Northampton facility, Nene Packaging has greatly speeded up production with a commensurate increase in business growth and profitability.
近来，Nene Packaging公司制作出了一种新型的Zund S3数字切割机，它的出现加快了生产速度，同时促使了公司的业务增长和盈利能力的提升。
The company is an approved supplier of point-of-sale and floor display material to major supermarketssuch as Tesco and other retail outlets.
Commenting on the reason for installing the Zund digital cutting table, Nene Packaging’s owner Rob Lugmayer said: “Our two existing CAD tables were slow and antiquated and limited to cutting out plain cardboard. To produce low-volume runs our customers needed to spend up to £200 on tooling costs, which made it impossible for smaller businesses.
Nene Packaging公司的业主Rob Lugmayer说：“我们安装Zund数字切割机，是因为现有的两张CAD表格非常的陈旧，仅限于切割普通纸板，客户常常需要花费高达200英镑的工具成本，才能进行低容量运行，这对于小型企业来说是具有挑战的。”
“We needed to upgrade in order to drive the company forward in the marketplace and, in March of this year, Zund UK distributor CMYUK supplied an ex-demonstration Zund S3 to replace one of the CAD tables. We also installed a new EFI VUTEk wide-format printer. This investment alleviated prohibitive tooling costs as well as speeding up the sample-making process and enabling short production runs.”
The Zund S3 includes a camera system that reads registration marks outside the main printing area and helps reduce material wastage. Like all Zund cutting tables, the S3 offers a modular tooling facility that enables automated processing of a wide range of materials up to a thickness of 25mm. This makes the machine ideal for the company’s point-of-sale and display sample production and its general brown-box work for engineering parts.
产品Zund S3带有一个摄像系统，可读取主要打印区域以外的注册标记，并有助于减少材料浪费的功能。和所有Zund系列切割机一样，Zund S3提供了一个模块化的模具设备，能够自动处理厚度达25mm的各种材料，该机器非常适用于一些样品的生产。
According to Rob Lugmeyer, it is likely that at a future date the remaining CAD cutter will also be replaced with a second Zund digital cutting table.
MAKING A STAND
A DYSS X7 digital cutting table supplied by AG/CAD has enabled exhibition stand construction specialist Stand Innovations to set up a separate large-format printing company, whichhas resulted in new business and increased profitability.
AG / CAD公司提供的DYSS X7数字切割台，为公司建立了一个单独的印刷公司，从而拓展了新的业务，并提高了盈利能力。
Called StandOut Graphics, the new company specialises in the provision of bespoke digitally printed graphics and advertising solutions to support the exhibition stand construction work undertaken by Stand Innovations. Director Tom Noon commented: “We weren’t geared upfor creating graphics for our stand designs so these had to be contracted out at some considerable cost. So to solve the problem, we invested over £350,000 in specialist equipment including a large-format Jetrix printer and the DYSS X7 2230T digital cutting table and refurbished an adjacent unit so that we could reclaim the business being contracted out and target the business we were losing because we did not have the capacity to handle it. A year later, both objectives have been achieved, thanks in no small part to the new kit.”
StandOut Graphics是一家专门提供定制数字印刷图形和广告解决方案的新公司，支持Stand Innovations开展的所有展台搭建工作。公司的董事Tom Noon说：“为展位设计图形和标识，需要相当大的成本进行外包服务，为了解决这个问题，我们投入了35万以上的英镑在专业设备上，包括一台大型喷墨打印机和DYSS X7 2230T数字切割机，并成功收回了外包出去的业务，有了设备，我们自己有能力去处理一些业务了。”
Having opted for this particular cutting table and the Jetrix printer, StandOut Graphics is now able to undertake large-scale printing and cutting of a wide range of materials, including MDF, foamed board, aluminium composite sheet, Perspex, vinyl and glass.
Tom Noon added: “The ability of the DYSS machine to precisely cut large non-uniform shapes with a perfect finish, based on a wide range of materials, has been a major benefit to both businesses.”
Key design features of the DYSS X7 include the K-Cut Vision system that intuitively identifies datum marks on each job and automatically calculates the required tool path. The machine claims 100 percent precision of cut on materials, even if their orientation to the machine bed is not parallel. Furthermore, the robust Superhead cutting head has the ability to accommodate six millimetre-diameter routing tools that can handle the thickest of materials. The cutting head also provides a threefold interchangeable production capability covering routing, knife cutting and creasing, thus reducing production and lead times on large projects.
产品DYSS X7有个专门用来设计的K-Cut Vision系统，可直观地识别每个标记，并自动计算所需的刀具路径，即便路径与机床方向不平行，机器也可以100％的精确进行切割。此外，坚固的Superhead切割头可以容纳6毫米直径的工具，提供路线、刀具和压痕三重互换的生产能力来处理非常厚的材料，从而缩短大型项目的生产时间。
Tom Toon concluded “The flexibility of the combined DYSS and Jetrix machines has yielded a healthy year one profit and helped to bring in new business .
As a stand-alone operation, StandOut Graphics has a bright future and hasenabled us to enter new markets, such as the point-of-sale display sector.Practical Minds creates displays for the retail and exhibition markets, and serves leading brands including Harrods, Nike and Timberland. ”
Investment in a Versa Tech cutter has enabled retail design and printing specialist Practical Minds to bring in-house the cutting and finishing processes that previously were contracted out.
The Versa Tech cutter supplied by reseller Blackman and White features a 3000 x 2000mm processing bed and incorporates a multi-head cutter that can handle a wide range of disparate materials, including self-adhesive vinyl, foamed and aluminium composite sheets, acrylic and plastics, textiles, card and paper. The cutter is available in a choice of three different formats comprising flatbed, conveyor and laser-equipped models.
经销商Blackman和White提供的Versa Tech雕刻机采用了3000 x 2000mm的加工床，并配有多种切割头，可以处理各种不同的材料，包括自粘乙烯基、泡沫、铝复合片、丙烯酸、塑料、卡片和纸张等材料。切割器可选择三种不同的格式，包括平板、输送机和激光型。
A STEEP LEARNING EXPERIENCE
Back in the late 1990’s, Peter Wilby and Max Wright, both seasoned professionals with vast experience in printing, were facing the realisation that, with advancing technology, their combined futures were looking extremely bleak.
早在上世纪九十年代末期，Peter Wilby和Max Wright就已经是经验丰富的印刷专业人士了，随着技术的进步，他们认识到，原有的终端设备在市场上的需求已经非常黯淡了。
Following a visit to the Franchise Show at the NEC, they decided to join a national franchise in the sign industry as this appeared to relate most closely to their past experience and enabled them to work out of a van and from home.
A couple of years later and with the franchisor unable to provide the promised support, Peter and Max opted to become independent and took up residence in their first unit on the present site. Peter Wilby explained: “In those early years, it was a steep learning curve but we have been able to build up sufficient local business and have never needed to advertise to secure this. Having seen a vertical panel saw in operation in one of the DIY sheds,our first machine acquisition was the new KF16 vertical panel saw from Sagetech that is designed primarily for the smaller business. The saw is used by the partnership to cut acrylic and aluminium composite sheets that hitherto would be on several days’ lead times from a sub-contractor, as well as timber-based materials.
几年后，特许人并没有提供相应的支持，Peter Wilby和Max Wright开始选择自己做，一直居住在现在的单位。Peter Wilby解释说：“在最开始的几年，我们经营像一个曲线一样不稳定，但能够建立起基本的本地业务，我们为些在标识行业中投入了大量的广告去宣传。在其中一个DIY棚内，我们看到一个垂直面板锯，我们制造的第一台设备是新型的KF16垂直面板锯，专为小型企业而设计的。”
The KF16 is just one of the four ranges of machines that are available from Sagetech. The Zapkut ZM range of saws is designed for lighter duties and starts with the budget-priced ZK8 portable unit. The saw handles a range of commonly used signmaking materials, while the heavier-duty Koolcut range of machines handle the thickest of materials.
KF16是Sagetech公司提供的四种机器之一。 另外，Zapkut ZM系列是为更轻型的任务设计的，可处理一系列常用的标识材料，而较重型的Koolcut系列机器可处理较厚的材料。
Creative cardboard engineering and print specialist, Anytech has recently installed a DYSS X5digital cutter, supplied by AG/CAD, at its Swindon headquarters in order to enhance its in-house capabilities and to expand the large format part of its business.
纸板创意工程和印刷专家Anytech最近在Swindon总部安装了由AG / CAD公司提供的DYSS X5数字切割机，这种产品能增强内部操作能力，还能为公司扩展相应的业务。
The new X5 machine is now working in-line with Anytech’s Xerox and Roland digital print devices to produce large format graphics and POS work, while also processing short-runs of digitally printed packaging without the need for the lengthy lead-times, set-up and other costs associated with conventional die-cutting. With innovative bespoke design a key part of its services, the company is also using the DYSS X5 to prototype new creations for its customers and to further extend its own product portfolio.
AG/CAD’s KASEMAKE CAD software was acquired as part of the same investment, enabling Anytech to produce imaginative structural designs speedily and efficiently and, in addition, the company has also found KASEMAKE’s 3D visualisation features to be invaluable when pitching to new clients and servicing existing customers, as, in a matter of moments, the software is able to render proposed designs as interactive 3D mock-ups, which can then be emailed for approval or proofing purposes.
AG / CAD公司的KASEMAKE CAD软件作为投资的一部分被收购，这样一来，Anytech公司能够快速有效地做出富有想像力的结构设计。此外，该公司还发现KASEMAKE CAD软件具有3D可视化功能，在某种程度上，软件能够将设计图呈现为交互式的3D模型，然后可以通过电子邮件发送给客户。
Chin Williams, the owner of Anytech, considered a variety of flatbed cutters before selecting the DYSS X5, which, he declared, was the clear winner, with the KASEMAKE package also adding a host of extra benefits.
Anytech公司的物主Chin Williams在选择使用产品DYSS X5之前，考虑过各种平板切割机，他宣称：“产品DYSS X5是明显的赢家，除此之外，KASEMAKE软件包也增加了许多额外的好处。”
Anytech has been growing steadily since its formation and, following the arrival of the DYSS X5, all of the company’s print finishing is now being handled automatically in-house, providing it with a real competitive edge when it comes to turnaround times and price.
Chin Williams concluded: “I am confident that our investment in equipment and software will enable us to increase company profits substantially, and don’t think that it’s unreasonable to aim for at least doubling our turnover within the next 12 months.”
DIGITAL DEADLINE HAS IT COVERED
A specialist in signmakingvehicle wrapping and wide-format digital printing, Leicestershire-based Digital Deadline has been in business since 2004. Included in the hardware installed at its premises is an Easymount Air laminator supplied by Vivid Laminating that replaced the previous GBC machine.
据一个做标识的专业人员介绍，自2004年开始，他们公司从车辆包装、宽幅数字印刷等方面投入运营，内部安装的硬件是由Vivid Laminating公司提供的Easymount Air层压机，取代了他们以前使用的GBC机器。
Having researched the marketplace for this replacement, Director Mark Brooks commented: “During research we were impressed by the frequent positive reviews of the Easymount Air laminator and the decision to purchase this particular machine was encouraged by our close links with Vivid Lamination. The GBC machine was not meeting our large-volume requirements and it needed to be replaced.”
主管Mark Brooks在做了市场调研后，有感而发：“在研究过程中，我们使用了Easymount Air层压机后，印象深刻，给出的都是积极的评价，购买这台机器最初的原因是，我们与Vivid Lamination公司已经合作多年了，而且GBC机器已经不再符合我们的大量需求，因此必须要更换。”
In addition to the new laminator, Digital Deadline also installed two Mimaki JV33 printers to support its wide-format work and to partner with the Easymount Air laminator. Mark Brooks continued: “We were given a demonstration of the laminator by the team at Vivid Lamination and were impressed by its performance and, in particular, by the fact that the laminator’s rollers can automatically detect the amount of pressure required for the laminating process. In addition to this, the rollers also stay completely level, regardless of the type of substrate being laminated.”
除了新的层压机，Digital Deadline公司还安装了两台Mimaki JV33打印机，以支持宽幅打印工作，并与Easymount Air层压机配合使用。Mark Brooks说道：“Vivid Lamination公司的团队演示了层压机的操作流程，我们非常看中这台机器的性能，特别是层压机辊子可以自动检测层压过程所需的压力，除此之外，无论层压的基板是什么类型，辊子都能保持水平状态。”
Mark Brooks was also impressed by the Easymount’s faster speed of 10 metres per minute and this was also a deciding factor in the purchase. He concluded: “For much of the time, we are laminating with full rolls of vinyl. With our previous laminator this would be a much slower process, but because the Easymount Air has the extra roll-to-roll unit, the whole process has become much easier and quicker and this has helped increase both our production levels and our profitability.”
这台层压机的工作速度为10米每分钟，因此，速度方面，也是购买这台机器的决定性因素。Mark Brooks得出结论：“在很多时候，我们使用的是全卷乙烯基材料，如果用我们之前的层压机进行操作，工作的效率非常低，而现在使用的Easymount Air层压机具有额外的卷对功能，整个过程变得容易快捷，有助于提高生产水平和盈利能力。”