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Express SignCraft, San Jose
CNC Router Cuts Time for Large Exterior
"Although we liked the technology offered by the Techno routers, we made the decision to buy it based on the support provided by the company," Stapleton said. "Techno sent an applications engineer to our facility to help set up the router and teach us how to use it. For example, the applications engineer showed us how to set up a spoil board on the vacuum table of the router that can be cut into without damaging the router yet enables air passage to hold the workpiece to the table. He also showed us how the Techno router can cut many different types of materials including, plastics, nonferrous metals and wood. Finally, he showed us how we could use software that we were already familiar with to design the signs and convert the designs into the G-code format used to guide the Techno machine."
Automating the signmaking process
Stapleton and Ortiz design signs in Adobe Illustrator®. They transfer the design files into EnRoute CNC programming software which produces the CNC programs that drive the Techno router. They use the router to produce letter, blanks, faces and all the other sign components. "We design the sign, produce the program, press the start button and walk away while the router produces all the parts of the sign," Ortiz said. The result is that the company executives are able to devote much more of their time to design, sales, finance and human resources activities that contribute to growing the business. The router produces letters and other specialized shapes that are more accurate than can be produced by the most experienced craftsmen. The Techno router has also eliminated much of the time that used to have to be spent checking employees' work because it perfectly duplicates the design.
The first project that Express Signcraft used the new router on involved producing monument signs, building identification signs, building numbers and office numbers for a large office complex. "It was apparent right from the start that the CNC router is much faster and produces a better quality product than traditional hand tools," Stapleton said. "This project would have taken several months using our traditional methods but we did it in less than a month with the CNC router. The savings that we achieved on this project paid for a substantial portion of the router and made it clear that we had made a wise purchase."
Producing large projects in a fraction of the time
Ortiz points out that the CNC router is not the right tool for every job. "We cut vinyl letters on a standard sign plotter," he said. "We use a small table router to cut Braille letters. We use a small laser cutter to cut tactile letters for ADA compliant signs. But switching from manual to CNC production has increased both the quality and productivity of the majority of our work. We can now produce the 50 to 200 signs that might be required for a large project in a fraction of the time that was required in the past. This means that we can offer pricing and delivery times that are in most cases better than what our competitors can provide."
"The result is that we now consistently win large projects," Stapleton concluded. "For example, we produced a 36" tall logo and 20" flat cut acrylic letters for Axial Industries. We built and installed 3D letters for the exterior of Winbond's building and a matching monument sign for their San Jose location. We built a custom 7' tall aluminum monument for Adapt Corporation. Everything comes out exactly the same size, exactly the same shape, exactly the same edge finish. The developers in town know us and have confidence that we can produce a high-quality job in less time at a very competitive price. So they have been giving us job after job. The result is that since we purchased the Techno router both the revenues and profits of this company have substantially increased."
2101 Jericho Turnpike, New Hyde Park, NY 11040 | Telephone: 1.800.819.3366 / 516.328.3970 | Fax: 1.516.358.2576