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Sign and Digital, UK 2013: New Laser Cutting Machine Offers Faster Throughput and Higher Accuracy
Job instructions are supplied to the METABEAM in much the same way as other digital cutting systems. Namely, part drawings are created in SolidWorks or some other application that produces files in DXF, DWG, AI, HPGL, Gerber, JPG, BMP or TIF format. These are then sent to the cutting system through the software's print command. Additionally, the system features automatic focus, advanced capacitive height sensing and a fully integrated machine vision system.
Material can be rapidly loaded into the machine, and is held in place by a vacuum bed. Switching materials or thickness can be done quickly because the METABEAM utilizes a capacitive sensor to accurately maintain the standoff distance from the work piece.
An optional camera system also facilitates rapid loading of material into the METABEAM. This system can identify fiducial marks on the work piece. It then uses these to perform cutting that is referenced to existing features on material regardless of its orientation in the machine. The software can even scale or distort the cutting pattern to correct for any dimensional changes in the material from the originally specified values.
Compared to traditional manufacturing methods when making nameplates, signage and other products fabricated from plastics, films and thin metals customers are able to achieve payback on the capital expense for the equipment within the first year of operation. And this is by employing the METABEAM for about two hours per day. First customers cut down on procurement expenses for dies by a substantial amount. Second, they eliminate a full time position for a die cut operator. For these reasons, the METABEAM has become a preferred fabrication method in the sign & graphic industry.
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