Today’s graphics buyers expect a great deal from print providers, including high-resolution images, vibrant color, durable graphics, and the ability to print on a range of flexible and rigid substrates. Additionally, customers increasingly expect printers to have the means of rendering graphics in any desired shape. Graphics producers have responded to this latter concern by expanding their finishing services to include cutting capabilities in the form of digital cutting plotters for flexible materials and other cutting and routing systems for thick, rigid materials. However, because of the variety of substrates these printers routinely work with, many soon find themselves operating a host of different cutting devices that represent a substantial investment and take up a significant amount of space on the shop floor.
Zünd developed its G3 modular digital cutting system to serve as an all-in-one cutting solution for printing companies that demand speed, accuracy, and versatility in cutting. The G3 line includes nine flatbed cutter models with work areas of 89 x 63, 107 x 63, 126 x 63, 52 x 98, 70 x 98, 70 x 125, 89 x 125, 107 x 125, and 126 x 125 in. (2270 x 1600, 2740 x 1600, 3210 x 1600, 1330 x 2500, 1800 x 2500, 1800 x 3200, 2270 x 3200, 2740 x 3200, and 3210 x 3200 mm). All feature a belt drive to move substrates, as well as a vacuum bed with 1- 9 kW vacuum (optional up to 15 kW) to hold materials stationary during cutting or other operations. Vacuum power is automatically adjusted to support the particular material being printed, which is said to help reduce energy use and operating costs.
The flatbed system’s tool head incorporates a base that allows for rapid change-out of universal, routing, and punch modules. These modules include a collection of tools for performing a broad range of cutting, routing, scoring, and related functions on a wide array of materials. Tools are available independently and can be added over time as need arises. Specific tools include the following:
• Universal cutting tool—designed for through cutting of materials up to 3/8 in. (9 mm) thick and suitable for magnetic materials, polypropylene, cardboard, and corrugated or honeycomb material.
• Kiss cutting tool—offers variable knife pressure for kiss cutting thin materials, such as adhesive vinyl, masking materials, and reflective materials.
• Oscillating cutting tool (electric)—for cutting soft and medium-density materials up to 1 in. (26 mm) thick, including foam materials, corrugated cardboard, leather, and woven/non-woven fabrics
• Oscillating cutting tool (pneumatic)—supports cutting of materials up to 2 in. (50 mm) thick, such as sandwich board, foam board, and rubber.
• Driven rotary tool—for cutting fibrous and porous materials including fabrics, mesh, and composites.
• 1 kW router—made for routing hard, dense materials up to 1 in. (26 mm) thick and softer materials up to 2 in. (50 mm) thick, including rigid foam, acrylic panels, aluminum composites, and wood.
• V-cut tool—allows creation of 3D structural products from rigid sandwich board and foam composites up to 5/8 in. (16 mm) thick by supporting angled cutting at 0°, 15°, 22.5°, 30°, and 45°. Up to three V-cut tools can be used simultaneously.
• 45° bevel-cut tool—cuts a variety of substrates up to 3/16 in. (5 mm) thick.
• Creasing tool type 1—designed for creasing multiple-wall corrugated cardboard and plastic materials up to ¼ in. (7 mm) thick.
• Creasing tool type 2—for creasing/scoring paper, carton material, polypropylene, and PVC materials.
• Punch/notch tool – punches up to 10 holes per second.
Other optional tools include a universal drawing tool and an inkjet marking system. The G3 line also is offered with an ICC camera that works in conjunction with system software to main accurate registration when cutting preprinted graphics.
All G3 cutters provide a standard clearance of 2.36 in. (60 mm), and their cutting beds are accessible from all four sides. Each also incorporates a safety system with light barriers and four safety stops. The machines can be configured with an optional Automatic Initialization Tool (AKI) for automated tool setup, a media transport system for roll-fed media, extension tables for material loading and unloading, and/or automatic sheet-feeding systems. The base cutters in the G3 line are offered with a two-year warranty. Zünd America, Inc., 5068 W. Ashland Way, Franklin, WI 53132, 414-433-0700, 888-205-0059, fax: 414-433-0800, Web: www.zund.com.
Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to the magazine.