- July 06, 2009, By Yolanda Simonsis
ROLLING MEADOWS, IL | High-speed laser die-cutting specialist Spartanics tag teamed with inkjet digital press manufacturer EFI's Jetrion on June 24th and 25th at an open house it hosted to prove a point. PFFC learned the two companies offer highly complementary technologies that can compete with traditional press and die-cutting equipment in the production of what many nowadays would call “not-so-short” runs. Together, they're busting some myths.
Label quantities considered ideal for either printing or die-cutting technologies have always been on the low range - in fact, as few as one. But on the high side, the quantity easily and economically has reached 50,000 and beyond - depending the customer application.
Spartanics' high-speed Finecut Label Laser Die-Cutter (see photo), claimed the only galvo head laser die-cutting system in the world, can work in-line or off-line with the EFI Jetrion 4000 UV Inkjet System at web speeds of 100+ m/min for the laser die-cutter and 30.5+m/min at more than 1,000 dpi with grayscale technology for the digital printer.
The Finecut Label Laser Die-Cutter includes optimization software for ease of operator use, elimination of costly tool designs and changeover as well as liner burn-throughs or melted adhesives to facilitate label removal. Changeover from a roll-fed design to continuous sheet literally takes mere minutes. Pinholes are eliminated and rounded corners are replaced with sharp edges; complex designs are easily executed without long lead times as required for steel-rule dies or the associated expense.
The sheet-fed system laser die-cutting technology reportedly is suited for a wide range of sheet-fed applications, including polycarbonate nameplates used in automotive, aerospace, appliance, medical device and other consumer products; abrasive products made super-economically by eliminating need for tooling replacements; gaskets; magnets; membrane switches and other flexible circuitry; RFID and other electronics components among others.
Spartanics holds all rights to software to allow for future upgrades. Automatic optimization of cutting sequences, cutting speed, and web speeds facilitate easy job setup; all job parameters are in one file so jobs can be reloaded with a only a few keystrokes. A unique laser die-cutting job quote tool accurately projects cutting time and job run length during setup.
The Jetrion 4000 delivers high-quality, full-color label printing up to 13.9 cm (5.5 in.) wide. The system also features Jetrion's advanced UV4000 ink set that is said to provide exceptional durability and reduce the need for costly over-laminates. In combination with EFI's Fiery® XF RIP and EFI's XFlow solution, the inks reportedly provide outstanding color reproduction across a wide range of substrates using an intuitive PDF-based digital workflow.
The lesson learned at this open house is that the realm of inkjet digital and laser die-cutting has considerably expanded. Runs of 80,000 are no longer dismissed, particularly if they are considered inefficient jobs. These problem jobs are likely best suited for digital production and allow a converter to regain machine uptime capacity on more traditional presses.