Falcontec, a UK based manufacturer of rotary foiling and embossing tools understands that given today’s current economic climate, a strong competitive edge is required to compete in such a challenging and international marketplace.
For many this may mean compromising quality for speed, especially in such a time sensitive industry as engraving, for example choosing to use cold foiling over hot foiling. Although this method of adding a speciality effect is considered fast, it cannot compete with the quality of imagery produced with solid brass hot foil rotary dies.
Instead of making this compromise, Falcontec uses ArtCAM to drive down its manufacturing time, whilst maintaining the benefits of hot foiling. This then enables them to provide their customers with dies within deadlines as short as one working day.
Autodesk ArtCAM allows Falcontec to quickly create vector (line) artwork or import customer generated material (such as pdf, eps, dwg , dxf , bmp, jpg, tif, gif files, etc) directly into the software and to then create the necessary toolpaths to produce an accurate CNC machined die.
Mike, Programming Supervisor at Falcontec, says, “Most the files that we receive from our customers are Adobe Illustrator files. These usually contain a number of levels, which highlight the areas of the design that they want embossed or foiled, for instance. When a customer checks the quality of the work they submit it is usually the visually pleasing elements of the design, but this doesn’t mean it is suitable for machining.”
He continues, “This is where ArtCAM’s ‘Vector Doctor’ becomes extremely useful. It not only allows you to see vectors that could cause machining issues but it automatically fixes them, saving so much heartache, especially when some jobs we receive have up to 30,000 vectors.”
Another effective and time-saving feature within ArtCAM is ‘Offset Vectors’. This modelling tool allows Mike to quickly select a vector and create a copy within a set distance around or to the side of it. The swiftly created vector/s not only give a consistent shape in the vector design but can then be used to add shape and dimension to the artwork.
Once the artwork is complete, Mike can choose from a range of machining strategies designed to improve accuracy whilst reducing the time taken on the machine. He comments, “With our previous software calculating the toolpaths for machining took anything up to half a day, now it can be done in seconds. We also had no indication on how long it would take. With ArtCAM this can be monitored with the progress bar but you very rarely need to watch because it is that quick.”
Falcontec also provide customers with a choice of embossing dies. For example, an engraved female die used in conjunction with a hard rubber anvil, or for the finest detail male and female sets. If the customer later requires the production of a male counterpart, thanks to ArtCAM they can produce an engraved rotary male die that fits perfectly. Falcontec Director, Stan Vigurs comments, “One of the reasons we bought ArtCAM was to do more 3D work and every day we are finding more scope to do so. Originally our organisation concentrated purely on the label converting industry, but now we are able to do more and more work for packaging, book binding and even saddlery.”
He continues, “As a company, we regularly review how we can reduce the time required to set-up a machine and machine-trimming time so that we can pass these time savings onto our customers. ArtCAM continually helps us do that. “