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Cutting Corners

(April 2012) posted on Mon Apr 09, 2012

PrismTech Graphics has utilized digital cutting technology to increase efficiency and expand clients’ imaginations.

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By Britney Grimmelsman

“The characters were conceived flat by a designer who never gave any consideration as to how it was going to be freestanding. We were given the freedom to engineer feet onto the characters in the client’s files using Adobe Illustrator,” says Beaton. The characters needed to be durable enough to last outdoors and heavy enough to not be blown away. Using its Océ Arizona 550GT flatbed in quality layered mode, PrismTech output the standees onto an e-panel aluminum composite, which has a thinner face of aluminum on each side, saving a few dollars per sheet, says Beaton.

Then, using the MultiCut i-XL24, the team cut out the characters and shipped the standees in pieces to be assembled onsite. “The biggest issue with this job was getting the precise cut so the pieces would fit together tight, but not too tight,” Beaton continues. “We made a series of components and printed an instruction sheet for the client to assemble. In the end, about 15 different characters were produced and shipped.”

Because PrismTech handles a lot of fulfillment and distribution, shipping costs are a constant cause for concern. A frequent client of PrismTech’s, a Canadian casino, called for a short-term interactive display that was to be shipped unassembled, and assembled by the end-user. While the design concepts were supplied by a creative agency, PrismTech was given the liberty to engineer the files in Adobe Illustrator as needed to meet the project’s requirements.

“Materials and output method were based around the need to keep shipping costs down and the capabilities of our finishing equipment. We chose Ultra Board [United Industries] because it’s rigid, cuts quickly, and prints well. We also used an emulsion PVC, which has more foaming compound in it, resulting in a lighter media for the detailed areas that required finer-cutting. Shipping costs and durability combined with short-term use were the deciding factors – keep it light and strong enough to hold up for one month of use, and then be disposable.”

PrismTech created several prototypes using the Arizona 550GT to refine engineering, and took pictures during this process to be used later as a photographic assembly instruction manual. “With this display, the biggest challenge was to get the hundreds of small pieces to fit together and fit tight enough to stay in place while not being so tight so it would not fit together or not be functional,” explains Beaton.