By Melinda Tetreault
Laser cutters present an alternative to traditional roll cutters and routing devices commonly found in print shops. Depending on footprint and energy requirements, they are also utilized in design studios and marketing firms. Laser cutters are ideal for not only cutting signage, but can also elevate design aesthetics with engraving capabilities.
This series spotlights two laser cutter users.
Signshop. Amsterdam grew from a communication agency into a hub for creating original and creative signs in Amsterdam. This is achieved through the team’s effort in providing unique signage options to customers.
“We offer facade advertising, window decoration, signage, and illuminated advertising with a large stock of various materials, such as wood, brass, enamel, and many kinds of plastics,” explain Nicole de Bruin and Simone Zwaagman, co-founders, Signshop. Amsterdam.
The signage is created either by hand or using a laser engraving machine, specifically the Trotec Laser Speedy 300. It is a 29×17-inch working space running ten to 120 watts of laser power. With maximum processing speeds of 140 inches per second, it is a fast and productive laser engraver. The system’s patented low-maintenance design encloses fragile system critical components in a rugged housing, protecting them from dirt and dust, which significantly minimizes maintenance requirements, down time, and overall ownership costs.
“It is definitely worth the money. A laser cutter retains its value and everything you can do with it is unbelievable,” say de Bruin and Zwaagman.
Using Trotec’s laser cutter, Signshop. Amsterdam caters to its customers’ signage needs.
“Customers want more than just low prices. They want the freedom to follow their own path and going through a pre-defined process, also called the customer-managed journey. The Trotec laser machine precisely connects to this trend. We supply the signs cut to size, because the laser delivers accurate results. Customers also have a say in the design of the product because the laser machine is so easy to use,” admit de Bruin and Zwaagman.
Bringing laser cutting in house eliminates the need for outsourcing orders. This gives customers the added advantage of making adjustments and decisions during the creating process without costly back and forth with an outside party.
The use of laser cutters, like Trotec’s Laser Speedy 300, help companies like Signshop. Amsterdam stand out from competition and gain customer loyalty.
Potential and Profit Gain
Aloha Signs Plus, based in Hilo, HI uses laser technology for cutting and engraving.
After successfully working in the signage business for 14 years, Kelly Higaki, owner, Aloha Signs Plus, decided that it was time to offer more options. He chose to bring laser engraving/cutting technology in house to improve financial earnings and enhance the number of choices for its customer community.
Aside from seeing the small laser engraving kiosk in the mall, Higaki had no background in laser engraving and cutting. “I had never really thought too much about it. I started asking some of my customers and friends if they would want to have any work done if I were to purchase a laser and they all said yes,” he explains.
When deciding on a laser cutter, Higaki wanted to make sure it worked with acrylic and wood, as he frequently uses those materials for templates. Additionally, he hoped it would work with a variety of materials and expand the product line. After visiting a trade show, Higaki chose the Epilog Laser system as an ideal match for its company needs.
The integration of the laser system helped Aloha Signs Plus grow over time. Today its full-service lineup includes signs, banners, magnetics, office lettering, boat/vehicle lettering, decals, laser engraving, glass etching, screen printing, and promotional items.
Unique projects possible because of owning the laser cutter include lettering for a parade float that won first place, detailed urns, napkin holders, clock faces, wine glasses, and wedding knife sets. “The sky really is the limit when you’re talking engraving,” says Higaki.
The addition of the Epilog Laser system also means Higaki’s peers benefit. “I started laser cutting letters for another sign shop owner whose CNC router can’t cut that small and he loves it,” he shares.
Since the integration of the Epilog Laser system, the productivity of Aloha Signs Plus has been on the incline. “The laser has helped me to cut down on the time it takes to make a sign. I used to purchase the acrylic at a local glass shop, but now I can buy blank sheets and cut them to the size I need. It saves me about two days, so I can provide a faster turnaround time for my customers, and I can do all the engraving of signs for door name plates all in house instead of outsourcing,” explains Higaki.
The use of laser cutting technologies provides businesses with an advantage. Companies have the opportunity to benefit from time efficiency, cost effectiveness, versatility of use, and the general appeal of becoming a one stop shop for convenience.
Sep2018, Digital Output