Awards & Engraving

April '17

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44 • A&E APRIL 2017 R outers may be off the radar for those who own an awards business. Being much larger than the typical rotary engraving machine, or other equipment typically found in the awards retail environment, routers are often classified as being part of large sig- nage shops or other industrial market businesses. While that may be one of the main roles routers play, they can fulfill a need that awards and engraving busi- nesses all have: the need to expand. It's no secret that many businesses are looking for other means of profit in today's world. If you aren't sure where your business should go next, adding routing equipment may be the answer. Like any new piece of machinery, there are many considerations to make before doing so. MANY DIFFERENT PATHS You might be wondering what the main role is for a router or what it is capable of doing. The simple answer to that question is a lot. Generally speaking, these machines are used for larger proj- ects, particularly cutting and creating sig- nage, but that's not all. " ( Ro u t e r s a r e u s e d f o r ) p r e c i s e shaping and cutting of various substrates, particularly for material types and thick- nesses that are not favorable to laser pro- cessing," states Randy Bentley, Engraving Systems Support. He lists sign making, cabinetry, control panels and furniture projects as just a few of the many applica- tions routers can be used for. As an awards shop, some of those things may not match up with your business plan, although some may help you expand down the road. The good news is, routers can do more according to Chuck Donaldson, Antares Inc. "Routers can be used for a variety of manufac- turing (applications) including awards production… I have personally used a single router to produce acrylic award blanks to be sublimated later," he says. That capability means one thing for the awards retailer: more versatility to add more profit. WHAT'S YOUR DESTINATION? Knowing that routers can and do have a place in an awards shop may peak your interest. But to really grasp this tech- nology, you must have an understanding of equipment size and basic functions. Alongside a few other considerations, these factors will determine if a router has a place in your shop. According to Donaldson, there are two classes of routers. "Table-top routers range from approximately 16 by 24 inches to 24 by 36 inches, (while) flat-bed routers range in size from approximately 2 by 4 feet up to a massive 10 by 50 feet," he says. The variety of sizes available allows routers to process many different sub- strates, according to Roy Valentine, Techno CNC Systems LLC. "A CNC router can handle any project size that is within the working area of the machine travel pro- cess area," he specifies. "It can serve as an engraving tool but also allows the owner to expand its capabilities, all in one tool." And the best part is, it works quite nicely in tandem with other equipment most awards For those shops looking to expand into the signage market, a router can be a great option. IMAGE COURTESY VISION ENGRAVING & ROUTING SYSTEMS Finding the Route to Success By Cassie Green Is adding a router the right move for your business?

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