Laser cutting has brought a number of innovations to the retail sector. With this new technology, manufacturers have become able to provide more to retailers in a shorter amount of time and at a lower cost.
Here are five different ways that laser cutting is driving innovation, not just in manufacturing but also in retail.
Laser cutters can cut many more materials than can traditional cutting methods. A single laser cutter is able to cut everything from paper to wood without any hardware modification. That’s not the case with other cutting devices. This means manufacturers can offer retailers many different material options at the same cutting cost.
Laser cutters can cut a wide variety of materials, including the following:
- Cloth, felt, and cotton
- Soft signage
- Foam board and foam core
- Extruded acrylic
These are just some of the materials that a laser cutter can cut. If you need something created from a different material, there’s a good chance that it can be done.
Fabrics Can Be Easily Cut for Projects
Lasers can cut fabric without any difficulty, making it quick and easy to cut projects that are also very affordable to ship. This gives retailers the ability to use fabrics instead of other materials. It also reduces the amount of waste, since fabric projects typically do not have as much left over scrap, or the scrap that is created can be used elsewhere. That makes these products more environmentally friendly.
Setup costs are also dramatically lower since SEG frames can be used to quickly change the graphics for different projects. This allows for shorter product runs which cost no more than do huge bulk orders. Manufacturers can even quickly create one-off designs if needed. This gives retailers more flexibility in designing unique pieces or in creating small runs of different pieces.
The final graphics themselves can be incredibly large, yet the products can be folded into fairly small packages. Because they’re also very lightweight, shipping costs are much less than they would be if using other materials. Also, various vibrant inks allow for the creation of very bright, eye-catching designs. That ink vibrancy also makes fabric a favorite for use in light boxes.
Laser cutting allows manufacturers to offer options such as engraving or sunken lettering that can provide unique and aesthetically attractive signs and other displays. While this could be done with some other cutting techniques, it often requires more time and effort to do so. Laser cutting devices can quickly engrave products and then go back to cutting fabric or other materials without any extra work. To make matters more interesting, even materials that cannot be cut may be able to be etched. Materials such as aluminum, glass, ceramic and rock, for example, are engrave-able and add one more capability to a manufacturers skill set.
Laser cutters do not need any special tools to cut certain materials. These machines can go from cutting fabric to cardboard or foam without any changes to their setup or hardware. This means there’s very little downtime between projects. Manufacturers, therefore, can offer retailers the same turnaround time no matter what materials they need cut.
This also opens up faster and more inexpensive shipping methods. As mentioned above, shipping fabric is much less expensive than shipping other products. It’s also easier to ship soft signage because it’s not as difficult to package. That fact further decreases turnaround time.
Project turnaround time when using laser cutting also isn’t dependent on human operators. Laser cutters are generally controlled by computers. This means they can make large runs of pieces that are absolutely identical in every way without the need for any breaks. Most laser machines don’t even need much maintenance, and multiple cutters can work around the clock under the supervision of one human expert.
Laser cutting is one of, if not the, most flexible cutting technology currently in use in the manufacturing industry. Any part that can be designed can be cut, no matter how oddly shaped or how detailed. Laser cutters are often capable of cutting designs that could simply not be cut mechanically by routing or manually. All users have to do is create a blueprint using design software that is compatible with the laser’s computer-controlled system.
Laser cutting has transformed what’s possible in retail. Everything from product creation to store signage and marketing can take advantage of this innovative new manufacturing method. If you’re in need of laser cutting services or want to discuss what can be done with a laser cutter, you can contact the experts at MCT Digital. They can assist you with everything from finding partners to help in your locality, to developing the perfect solution for your print shop. Take a look at MCT’s VersaTech2(TM) solutions to see just how easy it is to deploy a laser cutter, but also how to leverage its routing and knife cutting capabilities, providing the market with the only flatbed cutting “all-in-one” solution with full automation.