Awards & Engraving

August '17

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20 • A&E AUGUST 2017 In order to get a good image, however, there are some adjustments to make to compen- sate for the lower DPI. To demonstrate, I ran a set of images on painted tiles. First, you need to increase the power, otherwise the image will not be dark enough. Low DPI, however, will result in an image where the dots, upon closer inspection, are readily evident. You can soften that dot pattern by using a dithering pattern in your print driver. In this case, Stucki dithering was used. At 300 DPI, the dithering pattern made the dots virtu- ally disappear. It created a nearly identical image to the 600 DPI image but in half the time. I usually do one or two dozen of these tiles at a time, so the time savings can be significant. WORK PROCESS Going back to the parts marking oppor- tunity mentioned at the start of this article, there are several ways to cut into the overall job time of 33 hours. You may be able to use some of the tips already discussed. With high-volume jobs, however, the most significant time savings opportu- nity is usually found in the overall work process—multi-tasking. While you may have a larger laser with a work area that allows you to mark 100 or 200 pieces at a time, that may not be the most efficient quantity. I look for the sweet spot—the number of pieces that can be marked in the machine that takes roughly the same time to unpack, prepare, load, remove, clean and repack the same number of pieces. Also, having a jig to hold the parts gives you an advantage in that it allows you to load parts on a second jig while the first loaded jig is in the machine being marked. The work sequence for this type of job would go something like this: Unpack and prepare parts, load the jig, put the jig in the machine, and run the job. While the job is running, unpack and prepare the next batch of parts and load a second jig. When the job is done, remove the completed parts, replace with the second jig, and run the next job. Clean and repack the just-completed parts. Repeat step two until the last batch is loaded. In this type of process, the first run, where there's nothing already running in the machine, and the last run, where there are no more parts to unpack, are the least YOUR LASER AT WORK This set of painted tiles demonstrates the adjustments needed to compensate for a lower DPI. While it may not be an option for everyone, contracting out certain jobs can save time to dedicate toward other jobs.

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