Cutting Systems Lasers help digital carton production

Traditional methods of manufacturing folding cartons is complex and time consuming with each stage in the process performed in isolation

These factors all lead to reduce lead times, setup and tooling costs. CIM systems use patented laser control


his can oſten lead to large quantities of work in progress and multiple set-ups to change

from one product to another. However, the flexibility and power of lasers makes it possible to streamline these processes and operations into a single digital production line, which delivers the highest levels of productivity, and even allows the production of different product variants, on the fly. The ability to link the individual manufacturing process digitally within LasX’s CIM (Cartons In Minutes) digital manufacturing line, makes it possible to produce only what is needed, when it is needed. Eliminating unnecessary work in progress set up times and product handling, reduces both manufacturing timescales and costs. From a product designer’s perspective,

removing the constraints imposed by the mechanical die-sets traditionally used in carton production offers greater degrees of

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freedom. In addition to the product artwork, each item is located with fiducials and identified by a bar code - originating from a layered PDF file - containing the cut and scoring information required by the laser. Complex, variable and nested shapes can all be created whilst matching digital printing speeds. Several different sized and shaped folding cartons can be produced on a single sheet, optimising material usage. Furthermore, lasers offer the ability to combine multiple processes in a single run, that means cutting, scoring, perforating and etching can all be done using the same system in one step as opposed to many.

software and advanced vision technology to assure precise, repeatable cut-to-print registration. Instant job change at production speed is accomplished either through programming or by reading the printed bar codes. These digital manufacturing systems, which are capable of using either sheet fed or roll fed material, are scalable to meet the needs of any production environment. Systems can be configured with up to two 1000W lasers to perform mixed converting operations while achieving throughput speeds as high as 15,000 cartons per hour, still with instant order/ product changeover capabilities in continuous production runs. Following printing and laser processing,

Using the CIM system, finished cartons can be available for shipping literally within minutes

automation also aids in the digital manufacturing workflow. Pick-and-place robots, positioned after the laser-processing module, identify each piece and stack, sort, rotate and / or shingle them as required. By organising the finished parts using automation, significant time-savings can be realised. The laser-processed pieces can then be directly sent to additional finishing processes such as folder-gluers and then packaged. Multiple conveyor belts can be used at the end of a laser-processing module to send different products to various stations. The CIM systems and technology

described in this article are available from Bromsgrove based TLM Laser.


April 2019

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