Wed, Aug

Case study supplied by AG/CAD

When Impact Design & Print Ltd bought an Arizona 'direct-to-board' flatbed digital printer to complement its four HP latex printers, the company soon realised that the cutting and finishing of print jobs was proving to be a major bottleneck However, the arrival of a DYSS X7-1630C digital cutter from AG/CAD soon alleviated the issue for the 20 year old Basingstoke business.

Producing anything from PoS displays, posters, banners, complete exhibition stands, and signs the five printing machines were feeding into just two cutting machines: an upright roll feed cutter and a flatbed knife cutter. Unfortunately for Impact, the upright machine could only process vinyl and the flatbed machine was limited in physical cutting size and also struggled with thicker media. The two directors and the operator in charge of the cutting department identified the issue and went on to investigate large format, heavy-duty flatbed digital cutters, spending time putting the market-leading machines through their paces. Overwhelmingly, the company decided on a DYSS X7-1630C SuperHead machine from AG/CAD.

Whilst the justification for buying a digital cutter was to alleviate a bottleneck in the business, the reasons for selecting the DYSS from AG/CAD were many-fold. As Company Director, Mr Matthew Parish comments: "The DYSS machine and control software are very versatile, adapting to our methods and workflow. This flexibility couldn't be emphasised more than in the tools supplied with the DYSS machine. The SuperHead has heavy-duty static and reciprocating knife tools for cutting vinyl, cardboard, posters, banners, Dufaylite honeycomb boards, and foamex PVC boards to name just a few. This is taking work from the other cutting machines and significantly speeding up production. We even have creasing tools, which will create opportunities in the cardboard engineering sector. Also included in the SuperHead is a high frequency routing spindle enabling in-house cutting of materials that were previously not possible with our existing kit. This is fast, powerful and gives a lovely finish on acrylic, PVC, Di-bond and other tough, rigid display materials. The finish on acrylic was a real selling point for the DYSS, much better than the other machines we considered and almost at the level of flame-polished straight off the machine with a standard low-cost bit.”

"We were immediately sold on the K-CUT Vision system on the DYSS which included full KASEMAKE design functionality. Our machine operator realised that the K-CUT could turn literally any mark into a registration point to allow accurate cutting to print. This instantly improved our precision compared to hand cutting operations and it meant we could transfer jobs from our other cutting machines, drastically reducing the setup times for all jobs that required cutting to print."

With a licence of full KASEMAKE software also in the design office and the facility to design and edit jobs at the machine, Impact has already streamlined its workflow with programming times reduced by over 30%.

"Another huge factor in selecting the DYSS was the AG/CAD KASEMAKE software suite. Like many machines, the front end control systems on our existing cutters made it difficult to edit files and make amendments to jobs. Whereas the KASEMAKE software has full CAD design editing and originating capability as well as including hundreds of resizable templates for displays and packaging.”

Another area of the KASEMAKE software that Impact saw the potential of and is now exploiting following a dedicated training course is the 3D mock up capability. “When we pitch for new work, we can now mock up what the finished printed product will look like, and even drop it into a virtual environment showing how it would appear in the final location. This is a fantastic tool to help us win new business and as an added value service for existing accounts.”

In the last five years the Hampshire business has grown at a rapid rate, moving from two printers and eight staff to its current plant list of five printers, three cutting machines and 14 staff. To support the evolution at Impact, the £1.1m turnover company has also installed a mezzanine floor to double its floor-space.

The DYSS X7 has been specified with a 10’x5’ conveyorised bed and a roll media delivery system. These features now enable Impact to continuously produce sets of 2.4m exhibition panels and 2m roller banners that are common jobs. But the DYSS goes much further than just adding dimensional capacity, as Mr Parish says: "We were outsourcing up to £90,000 of work to local companies because we couldn't cut certain materials or we didn't have the dimensional or physical capacity for the work. In a few short months, the DYSS has enabled us to bring all this work back in-house whilst eliminating the bottleneck on our shop-floor. It's also allowing us to take on new work previously beyond our capabilities."

"From a productivity perspective, we are regularly running roller banners in batches of 200-400 and our cutting time would previously have been 2-3 minutes per banner. With the DYSS these banners are now cut in less than a minute. Additionally, the 3m conveyorised bed means we no longer have to stop, manually move the jobs and re-set for finish cutting. The increased cutting speed and the single set-up processing are giving us a cycle time improvements of at least 50% on all jobs."

The processing speed of the DYSS was recognised almost as soon as the machine was installed, as Mr Parish recalls: "In the first week of operating the DYSS, we ran the X7 on an acrylic PoS job that required over 100 units. The job was finished in just over three hours and the saving on outsourcing covered the cost of the machine for the first 3 months!"

This impressive productivity now sees the Hampshire Company producing some long-term jobs in a few hours as opposed to previous times of a week. Saving days on many jobs, the through-flow of work at Impact has increased to reduce the average lead-time by 3-4 days. Significant savings are also down to the material economies achieved with the DYSS. As Mr Parish continues: "Instead of having materials externally cut to size for each job, we can order full size sheets of material and the KASEMAKE software will nest the parts to maximise our material usage. This has reduced our material consumption by over 25%. By acquiring full size sheets as opposed to cut-to-size, we are also making sizeable savings on material costs. This also enables us to hold material in-stock rather than order for each job and this further expedites the throughput of jobs."

"The DYSS has empowered us to bring work back in-house, it's made material and production time savings, and it is also reducing our lead-times considerably. With robust, high precision tools such as the reciprocating knife, heavy duty static knife, and router spindle, the DYSS provides the means to process more materials to a higher quality and with ever more challenging designs. This puts us in a great position to target new markets as the business continues to evolve. We wish we had bought this machine a lot sooner."