Awards & Engraving

August '17

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Page 23 of 84

A&E AUGUST 2017 • 21 Laser Engraving efficient. You can, however, save a lot of time on all of those runs in between by being productive while the machine is running. The real measure of success is being able to keep the laser running while you perform the other tasks necessary to complete the job. That 33-hour job can be slashed significantly. CONTRACTING While not for everyone, another area to consider saving time is to contract out some of the tasks that you usually do. Focus on those tasks that create bottlenecks and pre- vent you from building stock and making sales. I recently relieved bottlenecks in the processes for some of my more popular retail items by contracting out parts of the work—work that was keeping me from operating the laser. I used to mill my own wood thins used in several of the retail products that I offer. I'd dedicate a day to making them, which meant the laser sat idle while the shop filled with sawdust. Then I found a woodworker with much better equipment than mine. I supply the lumber and he mills it to my specifications. I regained that day I lost and he keeps all of the sawdust in his shop and out of mine. I also used to cut, engrave and sew a tote bag for another of my retail items. Now I have a vendor supply logo-printed bags at less than half of what my material costs were. Less time at the sewing machine means more time at the laser. The photo on page 20 sums up what is possible. I wouldn't be very competitive in the retail world with an item like this if not for having incorporated many of the techniques and processes already discussed. The boards were cut using nested vector lines and finger joints. The photograph was rastered with a lower DPI setting and Stucki dithering. The border graphic was done by breaking up the graphic. The tote bag was supplied by a vendor and the mini-bags are made by a contractor. And I produce 28 sets at a time in a streamlined work process. Design work, layouts, breaking apart graphics, settings, streamlining the work process, and contracting out work to others are just a few of the ways to save time. With time and experience, you'll find many other ways. Even the smallest amount of time savings can be significant with high-volume work. Review what you're doing and work out the processes that will save you time. It's a great way to improve your bottom line. Jim Puentes opened COOLaserCraft in 2008, providing his clients with marking, cutting and fabrication services. Contact Jim at A&E A Cut Above The Rest SUPPLYING WORLD-CLASS CO 2 LARGE FORMAT LASER CUTTING AND ENGRAVING SYSTEMS • Metal Cutting Capabilities • K-Vision Camera Registration • Large Format Bed Sizes up to 80" x 120" • Laser Sources of 150, 250 and 400 Watts • KCAM Software Gives You More Control • Z-Axis Rotary Device • Process Acrylic, Sheet Metal, Wood and More Class IV (Open Bed) Laser System Class I (Enclosed) Laser System M O V I N G L I G H T | K E R N L A S E R S . C O M | 8 8 8 - 6 6 0 - 2 7 5 5 | M A D E I N T H E U S A

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