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A Cut Above: An Overview of Flatbed Finishing Systems

(August 2010) posted on Wed Jul 28, 2010

Looking to slice through the competition in a crowded graphics market? The finishing systems described here could give you the edge you need.

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By Ben P. Rosenfield

Graphtec America
The FC2250 from Graphtec America is available in three table sizes: 24 x 36 in., 47 x 36 in., and 68.5 x 36 in. (610 x 914 mm, 1194 x 914 mm, and 1740 x 914 mm). Its dual-head design supports a maximum cutting force of 1 kg, and the cutting system comes standard with Graphtec’s Auto Registration Mark Sensor. The FC2250 can process materials such as thin sheet metal, chipboard, magnetic sheets, board stock, gaskets, marking and reflective films, and more. The systems are available with electrostatic or vacuum-powered media holddown. They support a maximum cutting speed of 16 in. /sec (400 mm/sec). D-Cut software imports DXF data, and the Cutting Master plug-in facilitates the use of Adobe Illustrator with the FC2250. Interface is via RS-232C and USB 2.0. Standard accessories include a blade set, water-based fiber-tip pen, sheet-holder and height-adjustment plates, USB cable, CD-ROM with driver (Windows) and plug-in software (Windows and Mac OS), and more. Optional accessories include blades and blade holders in various sizes, fiber-tipped pens in different colors, creasing and scoring tools, and more.

Mimaki’s CF3 Series cutters come in two models: the CF3-1610 at 39.3 x 63 in. (998 x 1600 mm) and the CF3 1631 at 122 x 63 in. (3099 x 1600 mm). Both feature DC-servo drives on X, Y, Z, and theta and support a maximum cutting speed of 20 in./sec (508 mm/sec). A six-zone vacuum holddown is standard on both models, as are USB and RS-232C interfaces. Three cutting heads are available: the M router, designed for rigid materials; the R1 reciprocal cutter, designed for thick materials; and the TF2 tangential cutter, designed for a variety of flexible and rigid materials. Maximum cutting depths are 1.96 in. (50 mm) for the M head, 0.78 in. (20 mm) for R1 head, and 0.39 in. (10 mm) for the TF2 head. Set tools for the three heads include an endmill for the M; pen/swivel cutter, reciprocal cutter, and creasing roller/high-pressure tangential cutter for the R1; and pen/swivel cutter, tangential cutter, and high-pressure tangential cutter for the TF2. Both models feature photosensor-based detection of registration marks and come standard with Mimaki Plotter Manager software and the Fine Cut 7 plug-in for Adobe
Illustrator and CorelDRAW.

The Digital Express from MultiCam is available with 60 x 120-in. or 2 x 3-m (1524 x 3048-mm or 78.7 x 118-in.) vacuum tables. Its dual tangential receiver accommodates the following cartridges: oscillating knife, rotary, creasing wheel, drag knife, and kiss-cut knife, all of which support a 2-in. (51-mm) cut capacity. The Digital Express features the MultiVision digital registration system, which combines hardware and software to visually recognize registration marks and automatically compensate for skew and image distortion. It comes standard with Teknic digital AC servo drives; HSK-25 (ER-16 collet) tool holders with shank capacity up to 0.375 in./9.5 mm; 5.5-HP (4-kw), variable speed, 45,000-RPM spindle; and push-button tool release. All heads are driven by independent Z-axis servo, designed for fast changeover between machining operations.

Zünd’s G3 allows operators to combine a variety of modules and tools for finishing printed graphics. The 1-kW router module features integrated, automatic dust extraction. The punching/notching module punches up to ten holes/sec. The universal module accepts all of the tools that are compatible with the G3, including universal cutter, kiss-cutter, electric oscillating cutter for materials up to 1 in. (25.4 mm) thick, pneumatic oscillating cutter for materials up to 2 in. (51 mm) thick, 45° bevel cutter for materials up to 0.18 in. (5 mm) thick, v-cut tool (0°, 15°, 22.5°, 30°, and 45° cut angles) for materials up to 0.63 in. (16 mm) thick, driven rotary tool for textiles and fibrous materials, creasing tool for corrugated stock and cardboard, creasing tool for cartons and plastics, universal drawing tool, and an inkjet marking system. Work tables are available in nine sizes, ranging from 52 x 63 in. (1321 x 1600 mm) to 126 x 125 in. (3200 x 3175 mm). Material-handling systems include a conveyor belt, universal and shaft-based roll-off units, and a sheet feeder. Zünd’s ICC camera system, which is designed to enhance registration, is available as an option. Other options include automatic knife/tool initialization and extension tables for loading/unloading during cutting operations.


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