If you are familiar with automated cutting systems and want a closer look at what Aeronaut Automation has to offer, you will find links to cutters with cutting technology such as laser, ultrasonic, crush cut and blade alongside and above.
If you are new to the world of automated cutting and plotting, you will want to discover the many different ways that these machines can cut fabric. And before you buy a system, you need to work out what type of cutting technology is the right one for you work, your budget and your materials.
Probably the quick way is to call one of Aeronaut's sales people, but hopefully, you can browse around this site and find the answers you need.
High ply or low ply?
The first decision to make is whether you need a high ply or a low ply cutter. Aeronaut only makes low ply and single ply cutters. As a generalisation, high ply cutters are used for high volume, low cost goods such as garments and upholstery where high accuracy is not required. Low and single ply cutters are used for high-value, lower volume goods where greater cutting accuracy is needed. Low ply cutters can perform tasks such as marking, creasing, scoring, sanding and buffing which are not possible with high ply cutters or conveyor tables.
Low ply cutters are actually used for both low and high volume production, but are perhaps more suited to industries where high accuracy is required, and short runs, just-in-time production or one-offs are made.Our customers do cut multiple layers where the job demands it, but typically, most Aeronaut cutters only cut one layer of material at a time, which can be up to 20 mm in thickness.
Is marking necessary on patterns?
Single ply cutting is essential for many industries where the cut pieces need to be marked with seam lines, strike-up marks or marked for positioning details such as eyelets, webbing, logos and other features of the finished product. In many cases, fabricators find that the ability to plot markings is a greater time saver than the cutting itself. One of our customers claimed their cutter had "revolutionised their production the pieces just fall together under the welder" and this was mainly due to the increased amount of information which was marked on patterns.
Single and low ply cutters work at much higher speeds than high ply cutters. They also carry more than one tool including drag blades, drill punches and marker pens.The decision on which type of cutter is right for your work should be based on the tools you need for your work, now and into the future.
Almost all Aeronaut cutters carry quick-change tooling making them more future proof than conventional automated cutters.
What type of cutting technology is best for my materials blade, laser or ultrasonic?
Blade cutters are the most common type of automated cutter. The blade can be a rotary blade, which has a clean and fast rolling and shearing action. The cut quality is very good on almost all materials, and in a lot of technical fabrics, the cut edge does not need sealing.
Oscillating blade cutters are common where thick material has to be cut, or when the shapes of patterns are too detailed for even a small diameter rotary blade. Because of the oscillating or reciprocating action of the blade (like a jig-saw), the surface of the cutting table needs to be soft enough for the blade to penetrate.
Drag blades to a similar job to oscillating blades and are used when very detailed shapes are required but because they don't have an oscillating action, they can be used on the same hardcutting surface as a rotary blade.
Laser cutters are commonly used to cut synthetic fabric and are an advantage where the burning or vaporising action of the laser beam can seal the cut edges. Lasers are good at cutting very lightweight fabric which may be difficult to cut with a blade tool if the blade moves or drags the fabric while it is being cut.
Ultrasonic cutters are also used on synthetic fabric to give an edge seal.Ultrasonic cuttersare good on thick fabric or fabric where there is a very uneven weave or variation in thickness, where a laser will often give a poor edge finish.
What's the cost of a cutting system?
- If the materials you cut are expensive, you may find that reduced waste alone will pay for the cost of an automated cutting system.
- If your patterns have to be cut or joined to any degree of accuracy, you may find that the increased accuracy of automated cutting systems will lead to big cost savings down the production line and that will pay for the cost of the machinery.
- Machines don't make mistakes like humans, and can work as long as you want every day and deliver the same quality results. If you have products rejected because of quality errors, you need to look at automated cutting.
- Automated cutting systems don't normally resign from their job, and set up in competition to you a few blocks away.
- Any automated cutting is better than none at all!
So maybe the dollar cost of the system is not the biggest consideration!
All Aeronaut automated cutting systems are made to measure. The cutters and vacuum tables we make vary in width to suit the fabric each customer uses, the width and length of their patterns, the size of their cutting room and of course the size of their budget.
In many cases, the choice of cutter and the length of the vacuum table gets down to budget while the width of the cutting table is fixed by the widest fabric used.
How to get a price on an automated cutting system from Aeronaut.
For a ball park quote on a cutting system, you need to go to the contacts link on this site knowing the following information.
- What fabrics do you want to cut?
- How long and how wide do you think your cutting table needs to be?
- Are your patterns large or small?
- Are your patterns simple or complex?
- What operations do you need to perform on the table? Cut? Mark? Drill?
Aeronaut manufactures a wider range of machines than most manufacturers and can offer excellent machines to people on a budget as well as full systems to people whose technical needs are greater and who have a budget to suit.
Blade cutting is generally the cheapest technology. Entry level machines such as the Elektron Mono LC are reasonably priced, and at the same time are full industrial cutters. Machines such as the Elektron Quattro and Elektron B2 are more versatile, and more complex, and this is reflected in the price.
Low power lasersare actually very cheap. They can also cut light-weight synthetic fabric very fast often much faster than a blade cutter. The nesting gap the allowance between patterns on the cutting table when laser cutting, can be zero, leading to much reduced waste.
High power laser cutterscan be fairly pricey to buy, though they are relatively cheap to run since there are no consumables and waste is minimal. The service life of modern "all metal" lasers is also very long. There are some big advantages to laser cutting, and the entry price should not be all you think about when considering a laser cutting system.
Ultrasonic cuttingis not suited to all materials, but there are some materials which cannot be cut any other way. Ultrasonic cutting tools are not a very expensive item, but the special surface on the vacuum table adds to the total cost.
To get a better idea of each of these different cutting technologies and how they work in Aeronaut's automated cutting systems, click on the menu headings in the Cutting Equipment section.