By Bill Hartman
One of the advantages of finishing machines is they can be quite versatile, cutting, creasing, milling (routing) and cutting v-notches into a wide variety of materials, such as corrugated boards, folding cartons, solid boards, wood, foamboards and a long list of plastics. They have been very helpful for shops that produce point-of-purchase (POP) displays and other signage.
In the past, finishing tables have been equipped with milling spindles that rotate at up to 60,000 revolutions per minute (r.p.m.), offering compatibility with a wide range of tool insert options. They have typically come with a switch-operated bit exchange, to eliminate the need for hand tools.
One of the central issues for signmakers is the speed of the equipment’s throughput, i.e. how fast it can finish a job. While it has been relatively easy to achieve high throughput when dealing with lightweight materials, it has always been a challenge for finishing tables to carry out heavy-duty milling on very dense materials, such as acrylics.
Fortunately, new higher-power milling technologies have now been introduced. With exceptionally strong, water-cooled milling spindles, these 3-kW tools can deliver milling speeds up to three times faster than in the past.
High-power spindles are well-suited for sign shops that need extended milling duty cycles and/or that work extensively with heavy-duty materials, including thick acrylic sheets, wood, medium-density fibreboard (MDF) and aluminum composites. They are designed not only to process materials that in the past were the most challenging, but also to keep a consistent, productive speed and protect the bits at the same time.
Bill Hartman is the vice-president (VP) of digital finishing business development for Esko, which supplies hardware and software for the sign, display, commercial printing, packaging and publishing industries. For more information, visit www.esko.com.