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FEATUREContinued from coverIf printed on a dedicated flatbed, howmuch did the image angle off to one sideduring printing of a full 2x3 metre area?Yes, even on a dedicated flatbed UVcuredprinter, if the motor on one sideof the gantry is not in absolute Swissprecision relative to the motor puttingthe other side of your gantry, then theimage will skew, as much as a centimetreor even two centimetres. Then youneed a vision system, such as i-Cut fromKongsberg (EskoArtwork) or other visionsystems from other brands.Yes, on a flatbed printer it is obviouslynot the media that skews, it is the entiregantry (if on a low-price brand andmodel). I would not expect a Jetrix UVprinter to skew; FLAAR will be testing theJetrix in Korea by late March.With no vision system, or with a visionsystem but only rudimentary software,your cutter can’t know the image isskewed. If you have a good visionsystem you can cut no matter howskewed the image is.Here are other suggestionsof what questions to askyourself: before you buy.• When and where was this model firstintroduced?• What is the warranty period?• Tech support, who provides it - thedealer or manufacturer?• Size of the table?• What sizes of material can be cut?• What thickness can this cutterhandle?• What materials do these cuttershandle?• Can you measure the height ofthe material with a sensor, or is itmanual?• Do you have to hand measure themedia to enter it manually into thesoftware?• What space is needed toaccommodate the cutter andeverything else to make it fit intoyour workflow?• Does a complete set of tools comewith the new cutter, or merely a“starter set” that is not as full as aregular set?• Do you need to provide air pressurefor the vacuum table? Do you needto provide compressed air for anyother purpose?• Is there a vacuum function? In howmany sections or zones? Can youturn one or the other section(s) offand on?• What kind of protective mats can beobtained as options?• How is rigid media fed? Is a feederstackeroption available?• Is there a registration gate for mediaalignment?• What is true life expectancy of thistool head?• What does each tool cost to replace?And most important of all, never buy anexpensive piece of equipment withoutinspecting how they really work out inthe real world in another printshop. Thisis why the FLAAR team is flying aroundthe world inspecting printshops (andfactories). I flew over 414,000 km lastyear and my staff flew lots of kilometresalso. Most recently they inspectedKongsberg cutters in Europe.What technologies toconsider?I know the Zünd and Kongsberg cuttersthe best because I have spent two daysin the factory and demo room of Zünd(but about four years ago, before theirnew models). And I have been trained inw w w . s h e e t c o . c o . z aContact: Frikkie Booysen Cell: +27 (0)83 451 4967 E-mail: fb@sheetco.co.zaMOD 75 CFEAlways low priceGuaranteedquality!Banner and flag combo offerRS 640 sMade in ItalyTransfer calander 1600mm wideMonti Patented oil drum technologyUltra low electrical consumptionFull service backup and 1 year guaranteeNOW 50% Faster @ 30.8 sqm/hr !4 colour with RIPC and Error DiffusionUltra smooth printsLow maintenance costLow ink cost2 year Roland GuaranteeBoth machines for complete business unitFull training providedFree Rip software & profillingServiceAll Combo’s are a turnkey business unit withDelivery and installationTraining and profillingCosting and production trainingFull guarantee and service backupPhone for incredible deal !!!Frikkie says -“With every Combo I will giveyou a free startupink and paper”Email me for free samples!!Visit wwww.SignAfrica.com for the latest news prACTICAL SIGN AND DIGITAL GRAPHICS ISSUE 51 Jan Feb 2011 43


FEATUREFLAAR Mayan vase samples printed onDibond and cut with EskoArtwork KongsbergXP series. This is a very strong media thatneeds a strong tool to cut it.Dr. Nicholas Hellmuth, FLAAR Senior Editor (right) and Pablo Martínez, FLAAR TechnicalWriter (left) evaluating and taking notes about the quality achieved with this Konsgberg XPseries flatbed cutter.Kongsberg demo centre in USA, as wellas have inspected printshops in Americawith Kongsberg cutters. Pablo Martinez,specialist for cutters, RIP software,inks, media, and laminator/coaters,has inspected that same printshop inAmerica as well as printshops in Europewith Kongsberg cutters. He has alsotimed the cutting speed of both Zündand Kongsberg for Re-board material(Kongsberg was faster).Aristo is another brand I seeoccasionally at a few sign expos. Buthave never been to factory which is thefirst step before we do site-visit casestudy in a printshop. For MultiCam, thefactory visit in Dallas was three yearsago, before their digital model wasfinished. And they did not want me tophotograph, so there is no report. Andthe printshop I visited near their factoryhad an older MultiCam CNC router withthe digital cutter jerry-rigged on top. Themanager was not content. But I wouldTina Kosir, FLAAR Slovenian volunteer, atEskoArtwork booth in SGIA 2009, holdinga Mayan vase printed onto Dibond and cutusing EskoArtwork XP cutter.imagine the new digital cutter is better.AXYZ is, like MultiCam, more atraditional CNC router. I am interestedin all these technologies, but Kongsbergis far ahead in large part because theparent company, EskoArtwork, owns100% of the technology: even all thesoftware. Their i-Suite software isan excellent example of allowing aprintshop to acquire the entire workflowfrom one source. But your needs maybe for other solutions, so each brandand each model will offer a differentsolution: A through Z, Aristo throughZünd and everything else as well. Oneway to see a cutter in action is to go tomost of the large international HP democentres, or the VUTEk demo centres.They tend to have cutters in-situ nextto their printers. So you can test bothtogether.Once you have your cutter,you can produce newapplications and win newclientsI will be writing a separate article aboutmaking furniture and displays out ofhoneycomb sandwich board (X-board,Hexacomb and H-Board is the bestknown in South Africa but there aremany other brands such as Falconboard,Re-board, BioBoard and others). But allof these items of furniture and displayneed to be cut with a flatbed cutter. Wefound that, so far, the Kongsberg cutsfaster than other brands (test was onRe-board).ConclusionsBe wary of an older model of somebrands. They were not made to handleDi-bond or other anodised aluminiumof some other sturdy signage material.Also be aware that some brands of UVcuredink chip off the edge when Sintraand some other materials are cut. Thisis NOT the fault of the cutter brand ormodel or technology: this is inadequateink. It is not Chinese ink that does this,but Fortune 500 big-name brands.Test your materials, printed with yourprinter. Don’t simply ask for samples.And be present during the test so youcan see how many times the cutter hasto go back and forth to do the cutting.Then, absolutely essential, visitprintshops, and at the Sign Africa expo,chat with other printshop owners tolearn how their hardware and softwarecan handle additional materials.There are capable distributors in SouthAfrica for Kongsberg, Zünd, Aristo, andother leading brands.Antalis South Africa (Hexacomb)www.antalis.co.zaColorscreen (H-Board)www.colorscreen.co.zaGSW (Aristo) www.gsw.co.zaKemtek Imaging Systems (Kongsberg)www.kemtek.co.zaMidcomp (Zünd) www.midcomp.co.zaMultiCam RSA www.multicam.co.zaXanita (X-board) www.xanita.comCreditsPablo Martinez, Technical Writer atFLAAR Reports, undertook much of thetesting. We appreciated the visit to theZünd factory and to Kongsberg demofacilities. We look forward to additionaltests and evaluations of these and othermodels.info@flaar.org, www.wide-format-printers.org,www.fineartgicleeprinters.org,www.digital-photography.org44 PRACTICAL SIGN AND DIGITAL GRAPHICS ISSUE 51 Jan Feb 2011 Visit wwww.SignAfrica.com for the latest news

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