Updated cutting capabilities and workflow transforms production times, adds capacity and increases throughput
Retail display agency, Big Instore (www.biginstore.com) has installed a Kongsberg X24 Edge digital cutting table from CMYUK. The new investment was purchased to work in tandem with the company’s existing UV LED flatbed.
“Our business has evolved over the years, and we’ve established ourselves as a key player in the Point of Purchase marketplace. While having different machines for different resources works well, speed has become essential to our prototyping and production facility. Gone are the days where we’re just producing print and signage, it’s actually gone the other way where 70% of our production is made up of bespoke retail displays. The various tools on the Kongsberg available for different materials are an ideal match for what we need, with the option to expand the tools in the future if required,” says creative director, James Boatwright.
Big Instore was established in 2005 and offers the manufacture and installation of retail display stands worldwide. It has offices in London and Cambridge. The installation of the Kongsberg X24 Edge has significantly updated the company’s existing cutting facilities that includes a laser cutter, CAD cutter and 8ft x 4ft CNC router. While the decision to invest in a new digital finisher had been on the backburner for some time, Kongsberg marketing communications from CMYUK earlier this year ignited the business into decisive action.
Taking it to the Edge
The Kongsberg X24 Edge is a robust reliable digital table cutter that can handle the full array of display, signage and packaging materials from kiss cutting to heavy-duty milling.
Big Instore has chosen the X24 model that features the MultiCUT tool head for milling productivity and a camera system for accurate registration. A modular system, the X24 Edge allows users to add tools as and when required. It can also be upgraded in terms of speed and acceleration, future proofing it as customers’ business’ grow.
Big Instore’s Kongsberg table includes Kiss Cut knife, Rigid Knife, High Frequency knife, and Crease Wheel tools. The company has also recently invested in new sewing capabilities for the production of silicon edge graphics (SEG). “Our previous cutter couldn’t cut fabric reliably at all but the Kongsberg cuts textiles really nicely. We’ve not bought the specialist Rotacut fabric tool as yet, but when we get to the point where we’re cutting fabric in large volumes, it’ll be the next tool we will buy,” says David Elliott, Production Manager.
The speed of the Kongsberg has impacted production in several different ways. The pre-press set-up to the cutter is now automated doubling the speed of the process even before any material has been cut.
Prior to investing in the Kongsberg, cutting was carried out across several pieces of equipment including an 8ft x 4ft CNC router, CAD cutter, vinyl plotter, laser, and electric handheld radio cutters.
The Kongsberg X24 Edge processes jobs up to 3 x faster than the company’s older cutting capabilities, enabling us to switch from job to job quickly and efficiently.
“If we have 3 x sheets of Foamex to cut, then 3 x fabric graphics, followed by an ACM board, we just run them on the Kongsberg – straight on with one material and straight off with another – all completed on the one machine. While we still have other cutting equipment, it’s quicker to queue the jobs up and run them through the Kongsberg because whether you’re routing, vinyl cutting or CAD cutting, it’s all the same interface.
“Compared to what we used to have, the Kongsberg has increased our productivity, efficiency and really opened up another world. I use it and I love it. Certain jobs that in the past have been really tricky are just really easy on the Kongsberg, and I just think to myself ‘Wow, that’s how it should be’,” says David.
New revenue streams
An unexpected bonus of the Kongsberg is the creation of roll stickers, work that used to be outsourced. “We tended to outsource small stickers and I’m talking 25mm x 100mm, but now we print them on the flatbed, laminate and kiss cut them, weed them out and then through cut them into strips and roll them into reels. On our old cutter that would have been a headache and hard to do. It’s just a little bonus we found when we started using the Kongsberg. It’s only a small thing but the quantity makes it easy. I don’t need to stand over the machine and babysit the job, I can give it to a much less experienced person. We just couldn’t do that before,” says David.
Where the Kongsberg comes into its own is point of sale (POS). It’s being utilised to rout acrylic and MDF display stands. “The accuracy and the clean cut of the routing is really impressive. With 5mm acrylic we’re not using a polishing bit, just the acrylic bit and the finish is excellent. When we reverse print graphics on acrylic for small plaques, small stands and photo mounts the edge is just really, really good. The Kongsberg copes with everything and more,” he says.
In all, the installation and training on the Kongsberg took 4 days. “The training was excellent, enjoyable and interesting. I was over the Moon with the installation because Matt [Matt Wright, CMYUK Academy engineer and Kongsberg installer] set up all the software side of things and integrated all our other processes into the workflow, which has really made a significant difference. Post installation support has been really good too. When we’ve needed help or if there have been any issues, we’ve just rung them up and they’re there,” says David.
With this new production tool, the speed of turnaround and increased efficiency is enabling the company to handle more work at far greater volumes and allowing it to offer new innovative solutions to its retail POS customer base.
The last sentiment goes to James Boatwright who says, “It’s been a pleasure working with CMYUK and I can’t recommend them highly enough. If we need any additional equipment in the future, we will absolutely reach out to them.”