Routing & Engraving feature - Sept 2012

Graphix Imaging cuts out the hard work with a Tekcel GFX router

Tekcel's Marketing Director Huw Davies gives us the low down on how Graphix Imaging are benefitting for using Tekcel's GFX CNC router.

Graphix Imaging - one of London's leading providers of large format graphic solutions, has recently installed a new 3m x 2m Tekcel GFX router/cutter to complement its impressive printing capabilities.


The new Tekcel GFX router/cutter combines the uncompromising CNC routing capabilities necessary to machine all manner of metals, plastics, woods and composites used daily by sign, display and exhibition companies, with the cut/print registration camera and knifecutting/ creasing tools required to contour cut the materials popularly fed through large format digital printers. Unlike other systems on the market, where either the routing or knife-cutting utility is a bolt-on component often requiring manual removal and replacement, the Tekcel GFX fully integrates routing, registration and cutting tools into one comprehensive, Auto Tool Change, high production system. In addition to the ability to switch between the routing, bevelling or folding tools traditionally associated with CNC routers, the Tekcel GFX can be optioned to provide an operator with the choice of oscillating knife-cutting, tangential knife-cutting, steered wheel cutting or creasing - all at the touch of a button and all with the benefit of an easy-to-use, 'cut to print' digital camera registration system on board.

Specialists in large format print production; Graphix Imaging offers its customers a comprehensive range of products and services ranging from practical advice to the complete project management of nationwide retail display campaigns. Printing direct to both roll and rigid media, Graphix Imaging had looked at a number of CNC cutting and routing systems on the market before placing its order for the Tekcel GFX.

As Managing Director, Lee Solomon, explains: "During our demonstration of the GFX router at Tekcel's showrooms in Bristol, we had the opportunity to cut printed vinyl and 10mm thick foamex, 6mm and 12mm acrylic, 18mm MDF and aluminium composite materials. You name it we cut it. Basically, the GFX did everything we asked of it and we could see its potential for doing so much more. We placed the order there and then."

Tekcel GFX Router and Cutter

As with all the models in the Tekcel router range, the Tekcel GFX has been designed to deliver the precision, productivity and reliability long associated with the Tekcel name and offers it to a much broader audience. In keeping with the Tekcel manufacturing ethos of 'only the best will do', the new Tekcel GFX features advanced ballscrew drives on every axis, complete with digital encoded servo motors that deliver smooth, accurate, motion control at speed. Providing the cutting power for the Tekcel GFX is an equally impressive, 8kw spindle fitted with ceramic bearings and electric fan cooling to ensure a long service life.

This versatile motor provides exceptional performance throughout its 6-24000 rpm range. The Tekcel GFX also benefits from automatic tool indexing that can accurately measure the length of each and every cutter, knife blade or tool for precise cutting and creasing depths, particularly essential for dealing with Point of Sale print work, inlays and folding aluminium composite trays. According to Tekcel, the introduction of the new Tekcel GFX is a direct response to market research and industry feedback. The convergence of the sign, display, exhibition, shopfitting and print industries through the widespread adoption of large format digital printing has given rise to the need for a comprehensive CNC routing and cutting system that's capable of machining everything. From stainless steel to self-adhesive vinyl, and just about anything in between.

The new Tekcel GFX is that system. Other features of the new Tekcel GFX include fully automated vacuum bed and dust extraction systems. The 'hole and pocket' vacuum bed design effectively provides hundreds of suction cups to hold material in place and can be skimmed to provide an absolutely level surface for accurate routing, cutting and creasing. The underlying aluminium slat profile and manifold system delivers exceptional hold down suction across all areas of the bed.

Tekcel CNC Router

A high pressure dust foot ably assists vacuum extraction systems to remove swarf efficiently when routing and can be easily removed when not required. The Tekcel router range is available in a range of popular bed sizes all the way up to 4m x 2m as standard. Tekcel CNC Solutions is also capable of delivering custom solutions for companies with specific requirements that fall outside its current model range.

For further information call Tekcel CNC Solutions on 01275 342 668 or visit

Making Routing and Engraving work for your business

Andrew Dudley, Business Manager (3D & Consumer) at Roland DG UK highlights the importance of engraving hardware options, that would boost revenues for enterprising sign makers.

Sign makers have always displayed a readiness to embrace new technologies to ensure they continue to offer their customers new, added value services. At a time when cash is king and positive cash-flow is so vital to success, here at Roland DG we have seen a marked increase in enquiries regarding our engraving technology, mainly from sign makers looking for ways to boost output and, therefore, revenue. So how could engraving fit into an existing sign and display operation?

Roland DG EGX-350

The answer is actually very straightforward – engraved signage, corporate gifts and awards are highly relevant to much of a sign maker’s existing customer base. Those that buy printed signage, generally also buy engraved signage. And, in addition, they are likely to buy other, higher value engraved items, because sign makers who have adopted an engraving solution are not limited to just signage.

For example, a customer purchasing signage for an exhibition or event may also be open to the idea of producing corporate gifts and giveaways for the same show. The market for other personalised lighters, watches, rings or key rings – anything – is potentially huge and the margins impressive.

Roland DG’s market leading EGX-350 is the ideal platform from which to break into the engraving market. It is a highly versatile machine, capable of producing a wide range of products from brass plaques to corporate gifts, indoor signage and awards with crisp texts and clear graphics. The Roland engraving range also includes the slightly larger models, the EGX-400 and EGX-600, as well as the Metaza MPX-90 impact-printer for engraving photographs for truly unique and personal gifts.

Roland DG Metaza MPx-90

The Metaza MPX-90 uses a vibrating diamond to permanently engrave both bitmap and vector images onto flat and irregular surfaces and can permanently mark tough materials like titanium and stainless steel. And Roland’s range of engravers can work with glass, gold, silver, stainless steel, brass, aluminium, acrylics, plastics, laminates and wood; a range of materials that has really opened the eyes of many signmakers to the lucrative potential of engraving equipment.

If you have any experience with vinyl cutting – as most sign makers will - then the learning curve with engraving technology is negligible; the software and principles are similar and you will be up and running from day one. Even if you’ve no experience with vinyl cutting, the learning curve remains slight, because modern software is developed with ease of use in mind.

Features such as auto surface detection for detecting undulating surfaces make the EGX-350 quick and easy to use and the machine simply connects via USB to a PC or Mac, from where it is driven by Roland DG’s intuitive Engrave Studio software, which is included with the package. The EGX-350 is clean, efficient and ideal for retail or workshop environments alike. And, compared with printing technology, engraving machines are available for a relatively small capital outlay, which makes them the perfect solution for any whose margins on printed output are being squeezed.

For more information please visit or call 0845 230 9060.

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