Sign & Digital Graphics

September '19

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • September 2019 • 15 rials and processes… makes it the most valuable piece of equipment in any type of fabrication market," says Jen Anthony, owner and manager of Engrave-Tech & Graphics, a manufacturing company based in San Antonio, Texas, with its main line in signage. "There's a number of ready-on-the-market things you can make with a laser or you can create your own." An Assortment of Products The laser engraver allows companies to make an assortment of products, such as tags, identity plates and labels, and enter a wide variety of markets including signage, display, awards and recognition, rubber stamp and personalized products. These companies often use acrylic, which is readily available and easy to laser, but there are other options of materials that have many benefits. "Lasers are incredibly versatile machines for both cutting and mark- ing a vast number of substrates. While acrylics are by far our favorites, lasers are exceptional for marking wood, cork, leather, aluminum, brick, glass and many others," says Bobbi Payne, technical ser- vices advisor for Rowmark LLC, a sign plastic manufacturer in Findlay, Ohio. Working with acrylic requires fewer steps than the other materials, present- ing one of many advantages, says Dave Stevens, industrial applications man- ager for Trotec Laser Inc., a provider of high-speed laser equipment based in a Plymouth, Michigan. "Acrylic can be produced with a clean flame and polished-cut directly from the laser system, requiring no post-process- ing like most other methods of cutting," Stevens says. "The fast laser engraving, marking and unmatched laser cutting ability, combined with the versatility, convenience and affordability, are just a few of the main draws of acrylic." Unlike most other materials, acrylic allows for engraving at depth with cuts into the material and for marking, pro- viding a contrast without depth, Stevens says. Acrylic also can support glazing, where the laser produces a window or An acrylic award on the laser table ready to be engraved. Image courtesy of JDS Industries. Rowmark LLC in Findlay, Ohio, manufactur- ers extruded acrylic for this recognition piece and offers the material in many col- ors, finishes and gauges. opaque clear effect on frosted acrylic, he says. "It doesn't take much to leave a mark on (acrylic), and the mark it leaves is a nice, frosted contrast, usually to the clear acrylic or even the coated acrylic," says Sara Thompson, fabrication supervisor at JDS Industries, Inc., a wholesaler of per- sonalization and sign supplies in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

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