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Wide Format: Finishing
Each step can be run through
Esko’s Automation Engine software suite from start to finish, which Thompson says
makes for a turnkey solution. “Starting at project initiation,
you can use the Esko
workflows to move through steps such as pre-press, colour,
structure, task approval, and layout, to then drive efficient and automated digital finishing on the Kongsberg tables.”
Aristo innovation
Neopost distributes Aristo’s TL and GL series of flatbed cutting tables in Australia, as well as the LFC series, which are designed for cutting large- format rolls and sheets.
The manufacturer will soon release new roll feeders, including heavy-duty unwinding systems for finishing of oversized rolls of media, and new software integration tools featuring QR code scanning using an inbuilt camera system. These tools will help boost output, says Morgan Quinn, national sales manager for wide format at Neopost.
“This enables cut jobs to be automatically selected based on the QR code, which improves the overall workflow, can reduce potential operation mistakes, and helps speed up overall production,” says Quinn.
Neopost will exhibit these new developments, as well as a laser option for textiles, at Fespa in May.
Summa tailor made
Pozitive last year became the Australian distributor for Summa’s F-Series of flatbed cutters, which
are available in sizes from 160cm
x 120cm up to 320cm x 320cm,
and offer features such as a multifunctional head with space for up to three modules, automatic barcode recognition, and automated depth control. The company has released two new bed sizes over the past 12 months: one 3.2x3.2 metre machine and one 3.2 x 2 metre, which are available now, and will be officially launched at Fespa in May.
Summa bills the F-Series as “the most versatile flatbed cutting system ever”, suitable for applications including signage, displays, samples, and packaging. One high-tech highlight is its axis control software, which uses a wireless controller to enable operators to make changes to basic settings without having to stay
in one place. Cutting performance has also been improved through a feature called F-Performance, which speeds up machine movement between cuts.
According to Alfred David from national equipment sales at Pozitive, the F-Series is tailored for the sign and display market.
“This makes it more user-friendly for operators looking for a print
and cut workflow, as the Summa offers features such as auto depth control as standard,” said David. “It’s a seamless print to cut workflow, and simple to use. That’s the key.”
Océ can see your print
Though the Océ range of ProCut tables are essentially rebadged Zünd devices, the manufacturer has added its own enhancements which set them apart from the rest: mainly its proprietary ProCut Vision and ProCut Prepress software, and its Auto Pilot camera system, says Garry Muratore, product manager for graphic arts at Océ.
“We make production enhancements using some pretty intuitive software. In the last twelve months, we’ve automated the process by putting an integrated camera
on the system, called AutoPilot.
An operator can drop a job on the bed and the camera will pick it
up and read the fiduciaries, and automatically set the correct tools and job parameters with no further intervention,” he says.
“We hang our hat on the integration with workflow and the automation via the AutoPilot camera system.”
For existing Océ Arizona and Colorado users, ProCut is a logical choice, says Muratore, as it can work natively with the wide-format printers.
“The ProCut Vision and ProCut Prepress software also enables seamless integration with the Océ Arizona and Colorado series – so when you set up a job for the printer, you’re also setting it up for the cutter. It’s basically press print and the automation commences,” he says.
Océ is also teaming up with
Dutch company Rolan Robotics to introduce industrial robots into the Arizona and ProCut ecosystem, and is working to make the high-volume Arizona 6170 compliant with end-to- end systems that include ProCut.
With so many different cutting tables on the market, printers are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a finishing solution that meets their needs – but finding the right one to cleave to can make all the difference. 21
Laser focus
Blade cutting isn’t the only game in town any more. Companies such as Aristo, Summa and Zünd are now releasing laser modules for their cutting tables, and others including Trotec specialise in laser- only devices.
Laser has its own pros and cons, according to Starleaton’s Ian Cleary. “Laser is suitable for polyester because of the way the heat cuts and seals. Blade cutting, because it naturally generates no heat, offers greater flexibility to cut different substrates.
Zünd has a blade for every application
– the catalogue’s about 196 pages. With laser, while you can change the intensity, it’s really only one application, whereas a blade cutting system allows you to change between them.
“Zünd acknowledges that laser is suitable for certain situations, which is why we have a laser module, but the flexibility for blades is so much wider,” he says.
Reece Moore, managing director at Trotec, says lasers can reduce operating costs, and is better than blades for applications such as soft signage.
“With lasers, you don’t have the same replacement requirements of a blade – that’s not just cost, it’s also time and wasted material of products. Laser cutters can also engrave, which a blade can’t,
and can have different contrasts on the material.
“Lasers on textiles will also seal the edges depending on the substrate, which eliminates a lot of post-processing, and
a laser cutter can cut more intricately than a blade with no lead-in or lead-out. It’s more flexible overall,” he says. “On the other hand, you would choose a blade for materials that are not laser-friendly, including vinyl and carbon fibre.”
As with any solution, whether to choose blade or laser all hinges on what the business needs. “It also depends on the environment where the machine is located, including pre and post-processing requirements and operator acceptability,” says Moore.
Flexible: laser cutting from Trotec
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