Sign & Digital Graphics

March '19

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • March 2019 • 71 What to Look for in Training On top of finding the right type of CNC router, a sign shop should also consider the level of training and service. This is especially true for a shop new to the appli- cation, says Robert Marshall, vice presi- dent of marketing for AXYZ Automation Group, a manufacturer of CNC router systems and CNC knife systems. With CNC routers, there are so many variables that a sign shop should antici- pate facing a learning curve if it's new to the application. Marshall suggests part- nering with a CNC router manufacturer or supplier that offers robust training as well as access to a hotline in case any problems should arise. "C N C routers are not difficult to use and can be learned very quickly," Marshall says. "What takes longer is understanding how to process all the dif- ferent types of materials. For example, what tool do you use? How fast do you cut? How deep do you cut? This type of application training is best provided by the machine supplier. Do not skimp on training—it will pay for itself many times over." Popular CNC Router Features Of course, picking a C N C router with the right features is an important step in finding a unit that can help your shop grow and work more efficiently. In Smith's view, a vacuum hold-down sys- tem is one of the key features a sign shop should consider. "A vacuum hold-down is probably one of the most valuable features because it enables the table itself to hold the material in place, so you can cut it as quickly and efficiently as possible in lieu of having to use double-sided tape or clamps," Smith says. "This gives sign shops the most con- sistency and efficiency in their workflow." CNC routers are also available with specialty bits, Allard says. These specialty bits allow a sign shop to create different effects, such as embossing and beveled edges, for an upscale look. By adding this kind of customization, sign shops can use this as an opportunity to upsell their product line. "If you were cutting a carved sign, you could have simple raised lettering, but if you add a beveled edge with your router, it looks like a whole new sign," Allard says. "You can also turn photographs into carvings and incorporate them into your signs. Specialty bits give you a lot of options to make the same sign look completely different." In addition to these features, most of today's CNC routers come with advanced, network-ready controllers, Marshall says. With these controllers, the operator can Opt for a heavy machine with a steel frame, which can better handle signage applications. 4' x 8' $ 279 SYSTEMS FROM /MON *LIMITED TIME BASED ON APPROVAL FEATURES INCLUDE: SIGNMAKINGCNC.COM

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