Vehicle wrapping and signage skills taught

Llandrillo Menai college buys Graphtec cutter

The machine arrived in May
The machine arrived in May

North Wales higher education and vocational training provider Llandrillo Menai Group (LMG) has taken delivery of a new Graphtec cutter, helping it train students in a wider range of signage and display manufacturing skills.

Arriving in May, the Graphtex CE7000-60 digital cutter was purchased primarily for the training group’s Vehicle Refinishing course, but will now be available to students across LMG’s 21,000-strong cohort.

Gavin Roberts, motor vehicle lecturer at LMG, said: “On our Vehicle Refinishing courses we try to ‘stretch and challenge’ our students to push their skills further than what is expected on their qualification. 

“Until now, we have had to outsource cutting stencils to external suppliers, which takes time and is quite costly. We decided that by investing in our own cutting machine, we would have more practical and financial control over these projects. We also thought this could help us branch out into more signage and display graphics projects.” 

Roberts added that the team had decided to go for the Graphtec because they felt it could handle the needs of students from across the college.

Working with a variety of materials including Mylar, low-tack vinyl and PPF film, as well as heat transfer and textile film for textile production, it can likewise cut pen plotting film for CAD work.

“The applications are limitless, and we will encourage sharing across the site, and possibly consider adding another machine to complement the workflow,” he said.

“We will initially use the machine to cut stencils for airbrushing onto vehicles. This means we will have immediate cost savings as we no longer have to outsource this work. We have set up the equipment in a room in our Vehicle Body Repair Centre to create projects for assignments, including artwork for project cars, custom design, and application of window and paint protective film (PPF),” Roberts said.

PPF has become a significant market in the aftermarket vehicle care industry, Roberts added: “This is an important and exciting career skill, and we are delighted to offer our learners the tools and technology they need to fully embrace it in our workshop and then be able to take it into a working environment.”

Ellen Wain, business development manager from Graphtec GB, worked closely with the college to help them select the right machine. 

She said: “There has been a lot of talk in the sign and display industry about the need to encourage more young people into the trade. 

“This is a great example of how colleges can help their learners to have a broader understanding of the technology used by our industry and hopefully foster long-lasting interest.”