Optimum Signs invests in new Kongsberg

Hannah Jordan
Friday, January 10, 2020

Sign specialist Optimum Signs has installed a new Esko Kongsberg X24 cutting table at its Preston facility.

Austin: "It’s revolutionised the way we work"
Austin: "It’s revolutionised the way we work"

Managing director Matt Austin decided to buy the X24 last autumn when a trade client he was working with on a large retail project developed problems with its CNC Router. The job involved applying standard vinyl to 16,000 pre–routed lacquered MDF panels, so Austin approached specialist wide-format equipment supplier CMYUK for advice.

Austin decided on the X24 cutter, which cost around £90,000 and was installed on 29-30 October, helping the company to complete the job and, according to Austin, has brought with it a raft of cost- and time-saving benefits through the automation of various processes.

One such job involves the business producing 750 signs for a customer every quarter, taking up to three days to produce, however the X24 has slashed production time to 4.5hrs with just 1.5hrs of operator input. 

Austin said: “When we delivered this job for the first time, the comment that immediately came back was had we bought these in from somewhere else? The quality was so much better. Previously we had been applying 750 graphics to 750 panels, now we apply graphics to four large panels and the X24 does the rest.”

Austin added the company would previously buy in acrylic casing for its neon lighting to sit in but said this can now be fabricated in-house using the X24, with the same for folded Dibond trays and flatcut lettering. 

“When Nick Reed at CMYUK said the X24 was accurate down to 0.01 of a millimetre I didn’t believe him, but it’s absolutely true and this accuracy allows us to come up with all types of concepts with confidence. I’ve come full circle making furniture now, which in the past really excited me. Walking into the CMYUK showroom and seeing the X24, I’ve never looked back.”

Additional to Optimum Signs' kit portfolio, the X24 has joined four Mimaki printers, two Graphtec plotters, a Rollsroller flatbed applicator, and laminating equipment at the firm's 370sqm site.

The standard configuration device comes with router, kiss-cut knife, drag knife and a camera system for perfect print to cut registration. It also comprises a conveyorised bed for handling roll-to-roll media. It has a work area of 1,680x3,200mm and a maximum speed of 50m/min.

“It’s revolutionised the way we work,” Austin said. “We’re doing so much stuff on it. It’s unbelievable. It’s such an amazing machine.”

The device, he added, is allowing the company to work on more innovative projects such as a recent job for Rolex at a couple of exclusive events, which involved the creation of a 3D gold crown featuring RGB colour changing inside it.

10-staff Optimum Signs, which was established in 2009, produces a wide range of signs from digitally printed to traditional neon and claims to be the only company in the UK that manufactures both neon and LED signage in-house.

Printweek welcomes informed debate, but all comments must comply with our house rules which can be read here: A-Z of using the Printweek forums


© MA Business Limited 2022. Published by MA Business Limited, St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road, London, SE24 0PB, a company registered in England and Wales no. 06779864. MA Business is part of the Mark Allen Group .