Established in 2014, Active Window Films operates from its manufacturing base in Birmingham. The company has the largest range of polyester window films in the UK and is a leading supplier of interior decorative architectural vinyl COVER STYL’ to the hospitality sector and signage community. The company can even offer an installation service and gives full technical backup on all materials supplied. Unlike paper backed vinyl, polyester window films can be fully transparent offering superb optical clarity with vibrant colours. A variety of finishes are available including mirror reflective, opaque blocking, one-way, anti UV and dichroic. As well as the materials’ aesthetic appeal, window films can be applied for a variety of technical purposes including safety, solar control, UV protection, heat and glare reduction. Depending on the grade used, it can offer protection from vandalism, theft and even explosions. Sam Ward, Graphics Director explains “Polyester window film is a fantastic product that is incredibly lightweight and strong. It does not suffer from shrinkage found in conventional vinyl. These specialized glass films can range from 40 to 800 microns in thickness. Unfortunately, they have very thin protective backing liners of 20 to 40 microns. Historically we have had a hard time cutting these materials with conventional equipment. This can be frustrating, labour intensive and costly. Dichroic film for example can cost up to £300 per m2.” He adds “For some time, we have wanted to invest in a machine to cut our materials, improve efficiency, eliminate material waste and facilitate growth.”
After demonstrations of the DYSS digital cutter range at AG/CAD’s Winsford offices, Active window films chose to invest in a versatile DYSS X7-1624C. With its 22kg down force, the DYSS cutter makes easy work of even the thickest film. With machine-controlled depth tolerances of up to one hundredth of a millimeter, cutting through the film whilst leaving the backing material intact — even when only a few microns thick and over large areas — is possible.
Sam explains: “As well as accuracy in cutting, we have been able to improve lead times, reduce labour in production and massively improve the quality of finish of both the films we supply and our own marketing material. With the decorative textured vinyl side of our business, we can now automate cutting in a way that simply was not possible on our conventional Roland, Mimaki and DGI roll fed vinyl cutters. We can plan jobs on a sheet using the nesting facility found in the KASEMAKE software supplied with the DYSS cutter and make best use of the DYSS’ 1650 x 2450mm cutting area. This means we can achieve greater efficiency and are able to reduce the number of stock sizes we hold for each material.”
Ever So Personal
In 2019 the Active Window Film team formed a new brand – Ever So Personal. The new company operates from the same Birmingham premises and is involved in the gift manufacturing business. Ever So Personal offers a vast and ever-growing range of personalised and bespoke products including signs, gift cards, acrylic photo mounts, house numbers, personalised packaging, and even bespoke floor coverings. Although all these products have historically been finished in house, the introduction of the DYSS X7 has again improved efficiency.
Sam comments “The finish on the DYSS is excellent, the routed acrylic produced on the digital cutter is superior to the finish we originally achieved on our laser cutters and requires no further finishing.” DYSS digital cutters use a high frequency router to precisely cut intricate shapes and detail, spinning at up to 60,000rpm the router can be programmed to use a finishing pass to polish the edge of acrylic items, reducing the requirement for further finishing.
Ever So Personal prints and manufactures all its own products in house using a variety of different machines and printers and can digitally print, cut, and engrave virtually any material or surface. In addition to a Jetrix KX6U-LED, the company has recently made a major investment in a second flatbed digital printer, a Jetrix LXi7.
Not only can bespoke products be manufactured, but now personalised packaging can also be offered. Die-less cutting on the DYSS gives full flexibility over design, whether it is a single laser engraved glass in its own branded gift box or a display box of ten glasses for a party. Any option is possible, without the requirement to hold stock of any finished packaging.
With laser cutting or etching, and digital printing, the exact position of the products being produced is paramount. The ability to cut positioning jigs out of Foamex has made simple work of what can be a time-consuming process.
The DYSS X7 Super Head configuration was specified to give the flexibility of two tangentially controlled tool slots and an integrated high frequency router. Any of the standard DYSS tooling will fit the machine.
An advantage found on all the router options supplied with DYSS digital cutters is the vacuum waste ducting. With many digital cutters, the vacuum ducting is positioned on the top of the moving cutter head, with larger bed size cutters, this can be a problem if ceiling height is low. DYSS cutters have the waste ducting routed along the gantry, this removes any potential height restriction issues.
The DYSS X7-1624C was supplied with a full complement of standard tooling including the reciprocating knife tool (RKT), kiss cut tool (KKT), tangential knife tool (TKT), V cut tool (XVT) and rotary blade tool (RBT). When accompanied by the high frequency router, the staff at the two companies can cut, crease and rout materials ranging from window films and textured vinyl to textiles, box board, corrugated board, Correx, polypropylene, foam, Foamex, plywood, Dibond (ACM) and acrylic.
The imagination of the staff and customers is the only thing required to turn ideas into reality and add to the bottom line, all the way through the various processes.
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