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Variety Cutting

A full service print shop is able to offer more when they invest in a cutter.

By Thomas Franklin

3 of a 4 Part Series

Like many digital print businesses, McFarland, WI-based Brandboxx Display Graphics saw an acute need to bolster its cutting/routing capabilities with the purchase of a UV flatbed—the 63-inch Inca UV with white ink—a little over a year ago.

The 16-year-old shop styles itself as an all-terrain printer, producing the full range of trade show, retail, display, and fleet graphics digitally on a wide assortment of media. While originally a color separation firm, the company remodeled its business to push into display graphics two years ago, explains Jim Sullivan, president/CEO, Brandboxx Display Graphics. "Our customers pushed us into inkjet proofs. So we bought an inkjet printer and the posters and displays followed."

The firm was no stranger to finishing, Sullivan says, but the Inca purchase brought a need to light.

"We were cutting on smaller equipment, but after we purchased the Inca we knew our finishing was going to pick up," Sullivan says. It wasn’t simply a matter of size, Sullivan explains. "Our cutting business was growing and we were outsourcing larger jobs and more complicated ones, so we were losing gross profits."

The company invested in a Kongsberg i-XL22 wide format table router with MGE’s i-cut vision system in November 2006. "We needed precision, industrial strength, and 100 percent up-time with great support surrounding it." Such around-the-clock production is the hallmark of Brandboxx. The company runs its 22 employees—four of whom are trained on the Kongsberg—in three shifts to help fulfill its promise of a fully satisfied customer.

"We were blown away with how it’s worked out," Sullivan observes. Work has stayed in-house, and the bottom line was boosted. "It paid for itself in six months," Sullivan states. A graphic created for Playscapes, Inc. and routed on the Kongsberg i-XL22 is an example of the more intricate cutting work Brandboxx was able to keep in-house following their purchase.

Additionally, shares Sullivan, "[The Kongsberg] significantly reduced the spoilage we were getting from our previous system, we were able to take back 100 percent of what we were outsourcing, and we were able to take on projects we had never done before."

The unit’s 66x120-inch cutting area allows the company to finish work on the Inca UV and its 63-inch Mimaki JV solvent printer, but also provides Brandboxx the ability to take complete control of a project and meet customer demands for prompt turnaround. This aligns with the firm’s commitment to customer service. "We differentiate ourselves by being the easiest company to work with: [we promise] on time delivery and a defect-free product with no failures in the field."

Using MGE’s i-cut vision system encourages the firm to become significantly more efficient in how it executes its production workflow, Sullivan observes. "You really need to plan a job through the entire shop so you can get efficiencies up front. You have to do planning. If the finishing room isn’t talking to prepress, who isn’t talking to production, you’re going to make your recycler really unhappy."

Since its purchase, Brandboxx has employed the Kongsberg to produce retail point-of-purchase (POP) display graphics, prototypes, and short-run packaging for consumer brand line shows, among other products. The firm’s one complaint? Sullivan admits, "I really wish they doubled the price of the system—it would keep my competitors away from it."

Click here to read Part 1 of this exclusive online series, The Final Cut.
Click here to read Part 2 of this exclusive online series, BIGraphics Makes the Cut.

Feb2008, Digital Output

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