Saving time counts in this world of short runs and fast turnarounds.

The team at Centurion Print understands that axiom as much as anyone, so the Auckland-based print company recently installed a Graphtec CE 6000 Plus cutting plotter with an F-Mark auto sheet feeder unit through Total Supply.

Simon Taylor, prepress and digital manager at Centurion Print, says, “We put the machine in about mid-May. We installed it to alleviate the short run work on our cylinders and platens. Basically the cylinder operators take about an hour per job. So we need to get them to set up the bigger run work but we also perform a good amount of short run die-cutting work.”

The company had researched the possibility of an automated cutter. He says, “We had been knocking ideas around and Dave Young spotted it so we contacted Total Supply. We looked at how many jobs we do that are short run; predominantly digital work. At Centurion Print, our digital output has really doubled in the last year, so this machine is helping us deal with that. You are always looking for ways to make the work more efficient.

Steve Brown, hardware manager at Total Supply, says, “Total Supply is the exclusive supplier for these machines, which are Japanese manufactured. We haven’t seen anything similar in the market and we think it fits well into Centurion’s workflow.”

Taylor says, “The biggest run so far is about 250 sheets. The smallest run is two sheets. It is going well.  A large amount of the work is kisscut adhesive or cut through wobblers and business cards. The machine is easy to use; we have trained a couple of staff members on it with no fuss.”

We can expect to see more innovations aimed at cutting the time out of manual work. Taylor says, “One really useful feature is being able to mock up a carton for clients. Before, you would be hand cutting and hand creasing. With this, you can check to see if the die is going to work. I had a client the other day who wanted just a couple of sheets printed and it only took five minutes to knock it out. So you end up getting finished die cut box rather than having to cut it out. Doing little carton mock ups and that saves time and money.

“We used to get a die made for a job. We got them made locally but it would take 24 hours. Sometimes we would send the work out for digital cutting. The turnaround time is always the thing. Some jobs that would take an hour; now they are done in 12 minutes.

“There are hand-fed machines but you aren’t going to get much productivity out of a hand fed machine. It’s that auto–loading that makes a difference; having a machine that will actually feed a sheet. You can stick a hundred sheets in and it will spit it out.

“We are pleased with it and it has certainly made life easier.”

Brown adds, “Call Total Supply on 0800 800 668 to find out more.”

Cutting time

Total Supply sees more print companies taking advantage of the Graphtec Ce 6000 technology.

Steve Brown, says, “It supports a wide range of media including self-adhesive vinyl film for signs; self-adhesive printable film/paper media for labels and stickers, and thick paper for POP. It has several innovations that cut down on time.

“For example, it has an arm with air suction cups that lifts the media from the supply tray and places it into the cutter. It can stack up to 200 sheets of media or up to 35 mm high on the media supply tray.”

He thinks the machine’s biggest benefit may come from print shop staff spending less time completing manual tasks. He says, “Automation is an important feature. So the auto sheet feeder reloads the media to the cutting plotter automatically, which enables you to significantly improve productivity in cutting a large number of media with the same patterns.

“Also the register mark. For registration, it has a little camera mounted on the top cover of the cutting plotter. It quickly detects two-point reference marks for aligning the contour and printed images.

“With digital, you normally get a bit of movement. So it registers to the print, not to the sheet. It goes by where the image is positioned on the sheet. Also, dedicated software controls the auto sheet feeding system and transfers contour cutting data to the plotter.

“The system includes dedicated application software. The software configures cutting conditions such as number of copies, cutting force, cutting speed, offset, and number of paths and it can import Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw EPS files as the contour data.”

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