It was right in the middle of the global Coronavirus break-out when U.S. based Quaker Chroma Imaging purchased a Summa L3214 cutter. Quaker Chroma has mostly produced protective material with the machine.
This way, the L3214 has cut over 40,000 face masks continuously, as well as thousands of clear barrier signage processed to help people keep the prescribed distances. Initially, Quaker Chroma Imaging laid eyes on another brand of laser cutting machine. Then an industry expert recommended that they visit the Printing United show in Dallas and watch the Summa L3214 demonstrate its skills. It only took ten minutes for Quaker Chroma’s owner to be convinced and purchase the L3214.
Craig Tinkelman, owner of Quaker Chroma Imaging explained, ‘When we saw the L3214 performing, there were especially two characteristics of the machine that truly blew us away. On the one hand, it was wonderful to see the advancement of the material happening so smoothly and flawlessly. On the other hand, the continuous cutting of the machine is definitely a great perk. This unique on-the-fly cutting feature is key to considerable productivity increase. When compared with other brands of laser cutters, the L3214 from Summa simply is far more efficient.
‘With the L3214, the material never gets stuck. The laser cutter just starts to process continuously, ensuring tens of thousands of perfectly cut pieces, ready to roll off the table. I just can’t wait until the Corona-era is passed. Because imagine what else the machine is capable of doing.’
Before the L3214, the production process looked very different. First, they had to take a printed roll, unroll it onto the table, cut it apart, measure it, warm it up to the sides and only then could they bring it to the sewing department. According to Tinkelman, this was not only time consuming and extremely cumbersome, but it also involved a lot of staff.
‘With the L3214, the fabric goes straight from the printer onto the L3214 and starts to cut immediately. Moreover, the cut pieces have sealed edges already, so there is no need to warm up the sides of the fabric anymore. This means we have been able to speed up production substantially. Earlier we had to turn away work – which is not something a business wants to do – but now we don’t because the capacity with the L3214 is so much bigger.’
The speed and accuracy of the L3214 have been great advantages in the production of protective masks and barriers. But Quaker Chroma already discovered another application where the machine really stands out.
‘For years, we tried to have a typical lightbox material cut in a way the quality is satisfactory. But we have never been able to do so until the arrival of the L3214. With the L3214, cutting this particular kind of material is now child’s play. The Summa laser cutter cuts it with utmost precision, which is really necessary because the fabric needs to fit perfectly over the structure without ripples. Only the L3214 is able to cut it that perfectly according to the quality standards this application requires. After the backlit material is cut, it can go straight to the sewing department, so we can immediately distribute it to the retail stores and trade shows.’