The Atlas Graphics (SW) Ltd team
Atlas Graphics has invested in a Mimaki JFX 200EX flatbed printer and a Kongsberg X24 Edge digital cutting table from CMYUK.
Colin Hibbitt, MD of the Plymouth-based business had been invited to CMYUK for a demonstration on the Mimaki flatbed, but whilst visiting the latter’s demonstration and training centre in Shrewsbury, found himself gravitating towards the Kongsberg digital cutting table.
“We could see that the Kongsberg offered us a great deal of potential. It could save us a great deal of time, but what really sold it to us was its versatility. We could just do so much more with it,” says Colin.
However, recognising that the Mimaki JFX 200EX would also allow Atlas Graphics additional capabilities to compete in new markets, Colin decided to buy the flatbed as well.
“We just went for it,” he says. “The machines complement one another, and since we’ve had both in, we’ve not looked back.”
Automation, time and labour savings
The motivation to invest in a flatbed was to increase production speeds, streamline labour costs, and offer a valuable add-on to its existing facilities. “We've got this one customer that was using another sign company and telling us what prices they were able to get work done for. Without the Mimaki, we would not be able to compete. We recently had a job that we completed in 24 hours but without the flatbed we could never have turned it round so quickly. Actually, without the X24 Edge, we would never have got the work in the first place,” says Colin.
“The Mimaki is a fantastic machine that we tend to use for the short-term jobs. I bought it for convenience. The white inks has given us new opportunities, take window graphics for example, we can now print white onto ultra-clear vinyl allowing us to make different colours that we couldn’t before. Likewise, we can produce white onto clear labels for single sided stickers and things like that,” he adds.
Prior to the arrival of the Kongsberg, Atlas was either buying services in or cutting by hand. The arrival of the cutting table has been transformational. For example, the company produces 30,000 labels for a regular client every three months. Now the company can produce alternative shapes, offer kiss cuts, minimise material wastage and reduce the production cycle from 4 hours down to just a single half day.
The company has a laser cutter that it would use for the routing of plastic letters but had size limitations. The working area table size of the X24 Edge – 1680 x 3200mm has put pay to this issue. “We can now work with 10ft x 5ft sheets allowing us to undertake jobs without any hassles which is a massive improvement,” says Colin.
Atlas had been predominantly buying in sign trays or sometimes producing these by hand. Thanks to the X24 Edge, it is now easily able to produce its own. It has also migrated the engraving of trafolite signage for the oil/electrical industry on the Kongsberg for far faster turnaround. In the past, the company would buy in plastic ID cards on which to print, now it cuts out its own, saving time and money.
“Everything we take on, we see if it can go through the Kongsberg,” says Colin.
A key benefit of the X24 Edge is that it’s a modular system and new tools can be added as and when required. The X24 Edge comes with integrated camera to provide vision cutting, while advanced tools enable high-quality, high-speed milling and cutting of a wide variety of materials.
In addition to router, utility and kiss cut knives, Atlas purchased a cutter/creasing tool for the production of cardboard boxes enabling it to fabricate its own branded packaging in which to deliver its signage and other printed output. i-Cut software to help boost workflow efficiency was also purchased.
The new equipment has positively impacted the business since it was installed . Says Colin, “I take each day as it comes and don't really look into the future. We've got six employees who all work to a great standard. My two children work for the business and in time they will take it on, then if they want new equipment, they’ll need to move premises! As for now we’ve maximised our workshop area but we’re quite happy where we are.”
Mimaki JFX200-2513 EX | Kongsberg X24 Edge | Case Studies
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