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Making the Cut

(February 2013) posted on Tue Mar 26, 2013

This article provides an overview of digital flatbed and laser cutting systems and highlights what’s available on the market.

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By the editors of Screen Printing magazine

Coherent ( says its OMNIbeam 250 integrates a CO2 laser, CNC controller, and beam-delivery system into a compact machine frame with a standard table size of 4 x 4 ft (1.2 x 1.2 m). It cuts a variety of plastics in thicknesses up to1 in. (25 mm) and features a 250-W, sealed laser, as well as SoftTouch power control, RJ-45 interface for direct connection to the user’s network, digital registration, and PC-based control-center software. It can also perform through-cuts, kiss-cuts, and engraving. The system is engineered to automatically adjust power according to the material being cut. It works with Adobe Illustrator, AutoCAD, CorelDraw, and other vector-based or CAD applications. The 250 is designed to cut Mylar, adhesives, foam board, stainless steel, glass, polycarbonate, acrylic, matte board, sheet metal, paper, film, styrene, cardboard, Lexan, and Duraflex substrates.

Colex’s ( Sharpcut Flatbed Cutter is a 5 x 10-ft (1.5 x 3-m) system that features a triple interchangeable toolhead, six-zone vacuum system, and a camera-based vision-registration. It includes a fixed knife, oscillating knife, and router. Optional tooling includes a creasing wheel, kiss cutter, and V-cutter.

Epilog ( says its Legend EXT combines a 36 x 24-in. (914 x 609-mm) engraving table with an oversized work area to meet the demands of large-area cutting. The system features Radiance optics, storage stand, servo motors, self-lubricating bearings, air assist to reduce flare ups, and on-board memory. The vacuum table is integrated into the system. The Legend EXT also features operating modes for 3D engraving and stamp engraving.

Esko Artwork/Kongsberg’s ( XN20 features i-cut Vision Pro for registration and a work area of 66 x 50 in. (1680 x 3200 mm) that can accommodate materials up to 68 x 69 in. (1740 x 1750 mm). Esko says the XN20 supports position accuracy of ±0.0078 in. (±0.19 mm) and a maximum speed of 164 ft/min (50 m/min). The operator workstation comes with a PC, monitor, keyboard, and panel that can be rotated 90°. According to Esko, the system’s enlarged work area provides full Y-axis reach with all tools, including the new solid-board V Notch, Papercore board V Notch, and a Braille tool. The XN20 also features X-Pad automatic tool-position measurement, table mapping, and a rack-and-pinion drive system.


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