ESP brings new ideas to the table with the addition of the UK's largest Zünd cutter.
Measuring 3.2 x 6 m, the biggest Zünd flat-bed cutter to be installed in the UK is now up and running at Maidstone based ESP Technologies Group. The company, which specialises in branding applications as well as a broad variety of wide- and superwide-format display print, is renowned for its “thinking out of the box” attitude. As such, its reputation for combining innovation with sensible investment to produce high quality output on time needed to be matched with the ability to automate many of its finishing processes, including cutting and routing.
Stephen Hood, managing director of ESP Technologies Group, looked thoroughly at all the options on the market before deciding on the Zünd. “Size isn’t everything but, because one of our specialities lies in producing superwide-format displays and banners, we needed a cutting solution which could handle large jobs as well as the smaller more intricate applications,” he states.
ESP Technologies Group has often scored firsts in the digital display industry, being an early adopter of the EFI VUTEk UltraVu 5300 and PressVu, HP’s Designjet Z6100 and, more recently, an EFI VUTEk QS3200 and FlexEuropa E-Jet Fusion. These machines are amongst those which complement the company-s existing screen process capabilities, with roll-fed digital production up to 5 m, direct-to-substrate UV-curable printing with a maximum width of 3.2 m and aqueous-based and dye sublimation options available at 1.6 m all resulting in varied output which require different finishing requirements.
The Zünd 3XL-3000CV has a bed size of 3.2 x 6 m and is designed to through- and kiss-cut as well as handle engraving and routing operations. Able to work with roll-fed and rigid materials, typical substrates used by ESP Technologies Group range from banners, vinyls and textiles through to hard and soft foamboard products to DiBond, acrylics and styrenes, and these all match the capabilities of the cutter.
Until now, much of the company’s work has involved time-consuming and labour intensive manual finishing, including slitting, but the addition of the Zünd 3XL-3000CV will speed up this end of the production process as well as remove the margin for error. Because of ESP Technologies Group-s ability to work across all sizes and types of material, its cutter needed to reflect the same amount of versatility in operation and be able to work with a variety of thicknesses, lengths and widths.
One of the appeals of the Zünd cutter, as well as its size, was its interchangeable tool inserts. “Finding a machine that was large enough for our requirements was a challenge in itself,” explains Hood. “But we also needed a system which could route heavier substrates yet slit finer materials, and give us the accuracy and clean finish which are both vital criteria in all our applications.
“Our investment in digital equipment has always been based on getting the best solution to allow us to give our customer base high quality end products which, often, go beyond conventional displays,” Hood continues. “ESP Technologies Group thrives on challenges and our reputation for ‘thinking out of the box’ means we can often produce a job which others might not perceive as being possible. The addition of the Zünd will, literally, enable us to bring new ideas to the table.”
The Zünd 3XL-3000CV was supplied and installed by Zünd’s UK operation which is head-quartered in St Albans, Hertfordshire. As newcomers to computerised cutting procedures, Hood also valued the on-site training which gave his work-force a thorough grounding on the use of the machine.
In order to comply with ESP’s sustainability programme, Hood required Zünd to install a frequency converter. This enables electricity consumption from the machine-s very powerful 12.5 kW vacuum pump to be reduced to the minimum needed when cutting narrower substrates. This is the first time such a modification has been included in a Zünd installation and is another example of ESP’s forward looking and innovative approach.
“This unit is now a vital element in our production process and, incorporating it into our work-flow, means that we can turn jobs round even more quickly and efficiently,” concludes Hood. “I also believe the timing was right for purchasing this Zünd cutter – although it-s the first of its size to be introduced into the UK, the 3XL-3000CV is being used successfully internationally which proves its Zünd Swiss-built pedigree.”
ESP Technologies Group was formed in 1993 and initially concentrated on screen-printed displays and point-of-purchase applications. As the demand for wide-format digital output evolved and expanded, this was addressed with consistent investment in machines which would grow with the company as it moved into the branding market. Today its portfolio of services includes back-lit graphics using its own Colourtrans rear-illuminated film, banners, hoardings and building wraps, exhibition graphics, digital wall-coverings, vehicle liveries, floor and window graphics and point-of-purchase applications.
Further information is available from Stephen Hood at ESP Technologies Group, 2 Euroway, Wood Close, Quarry Wood, Aylesford, Kent ME20 7UB, telephone 01622 715000 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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