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Getting to the Cutting Edge

(April 2012) posted on Tue Apr 17, 2012

Getting the most out of digital finishing sometimes requires hardware and software decisions.


By Bill Hartman

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Finishing tables are capable of feeding printed sheets and picking up and stacking the finished pieces.
As screen-printing companies explore and purchase digital roll-to-roll and flatbed inkjet printers, they are discovering that one other piece of hardware is needed to make their production operations truly efficient: a digital finishing table. Of course, by installing a flatbed printer, the chore of manually mounting artwork onto a substrate is avoided. Printing directly on foam boards, plastics, wood, and other materials has been made easy with digital printers. But, why rely on outsourcing or manually cutting materials by hand? If any graphics need to be cut in anything but a straight line, things get difficult very quickly.
At the most basic level of course, digital finishing systems are used for any printed graphics that are not complete at the final stage until they are cut, one way or another. P-O-P displays, decals, car wraps, and cling materials are just a few that are created from screen printing. Digital presses are tied to finishing systems for P-O-P, signs and displays, among others.
Even industrial or functional printed graphics can benefit from the use of a finishing system. A good example is overlays—control panels that require holes cut through them for switches and other devices.
Finishing tables are used on a wide range of materials, such as vinyl, paper, and cling material. Tables also cut rigid materials like PVC board or polystyrene, plexi, and wood. Most companies look for a cost-effective multipurpose cutting and routing machine—one that can route, cut, crease and score on one machine. Through cuts, kiss cuts, and oscillating cuts are the most widespread.


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