FASTSIGNS of Burlington, Ontario is broadening its product offerings to clients, bolstered by the December 2012 installation of a Kongsberg XN24 cutting table that easily handles a wide range of substrates, including corrugated and solid boards, folding carton, wood, and a wide range of plastics.
The FASTSIGNS franchise has more than 530 independently owned and operation units. The Burlington unit, established in 1996, is the top Canadian revenue producer in the organization. Like its fellow FASTSIGNS operations, it uses the latest signmaking systems and techniques to create high-impact signs that generate results for its business clients. It has three 6-color roll-to-roll printers as well as one UV flatbed, one thermal printer for spot color decals, and one laser engraver.
“Prior to the Kongsberg XN24 table, we used a router that wasn’t able to cut through all the materials that we can now,” says Diane Henderson, president of this FASTSIGNS unit. And, the Kongsberg table is more efficient because we don’t spend a lot of time changing tools.”
The Kongsberg XN features a set of advanced, quick-change tool heads, for easy set up for processing different materials. “Our operator produces many different types of jobs, and it used to take 20 minutes to switch over tools. Now it’s extremely fast,” notes Henderson. When cutting wood, FASTSIGNS’ Kongsberg XN24 high-power milling spindle delivers milling speeds that are three times faster than previous models. These capabilities, along with its extremely accurate print-to-cut registration, are very important.
Durability was also a major factor. “It was a considerable investment,” says Henderson. “We wanted to make sure that if we looked at it seven years from now we wouldn’t miss a feature. It will last for quite a while; it has advanced technology and is made for heavy-duty manufacturing.”
“We also really like the software—i-cut Layout and ArtiosCAD,” comments Henderson.”i-cut Layout saves us so much time. One client orders signs every week—50 signs one week and 200 the next, in different sizes—and they can be double-sided. We use i-cut Layout to step & repeat and set up the print and cut files. It takes one-quarter of the time to set up a double-sided job.”
The company is still learning how to use ArtiosCAD to its best advantage, currently using the structural design software to make boxes, small tabletop product holders, and big-stand easel signs.
The Kongsberg table also ensures that this franchisee follows the overall company’s direction. Last year, FASTSIGNS underwent a brand change. Explains Henderson, “Now, we are ‘more than fast, more than signs.’ We are moving from being a sign manufacturer to more of a full-service marketing services company, a place where a business can get all of its marketing materials. We still manufacture signs, but we are also fulfilling the promise of much more.”
One recent business interaction shows just how valuable the Kongsberg is to the operation. “A marketing service company often sends a project kit to various locations to demo a consumer product,” describes Henderson. “We have always made the signs for the kits, but other vendors printed the box and built the kit. Now, because of the Kongsberg table, we are able to take care of the boxes, the signs, and kit it. We can do everything.”
Adds Henderson, “With this machine you become more efficient, and do more for your customer. We are very pleased with this investment.”