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Esko Kongsberg – The perfect solution for signage, displays and packaging samples

Kongsberg is a range of flatbed cutters manufactured by Esko. Headquartered in Gent, Belgium, Esko has been a market leader in the graphics and industrial industries for decades, with a particular focus on packaging, labels, signs and displays. In addition to the Kongsberg range of cutters, Esko also produce imaging solutions and software.

The Esko Kongsberg C is a series of flatbed cutters designed with specific industries in mind. Flatbed cutters of the past have primarily been created for all-purpose uses within the cutting industry. This often means it’s less clear for consumers when it comes to choosing an ideal cutter for your business.

This Kongsberg C is mainly intended for producing signage, displays and packaging samples, accommodating today’s large format printing sizes. As with most Esko Kongsberg digital finishing solutions, its features and benefits are particularly suited to this industry and we’ll be taking a look at these within this article.

That doesn’t mean it can’t also be used on a range of other projects though. It has tools for all sorts of different applications, materials and production environments, making it a well-rounded, multifunctional cutting table that is easy to use and keeps up with the fastest printers in the industry. The only real limit is your creativity!

The C Series from Esko Kongsberg boasts high standards of versatility, precision, and productivity. A common trait among Kongsberg flatbed cutters.

How Esko Kongsberg Flatbed Cutters work

The Esko Kongsberg range is the perfect example of a multi-functional super-wide digital finisher for signage, display and packaging applications. The cutter plotter uses a composite carbon-based traverse beam that lets it handle larger sheets at high speed to a great degree of accuracy.

The flat cutting area can often be fed automatically by a conveyor if cutting a roll of printed material. For thicker materials that haven’t been printed on, for example, acrylic signage, these can be placed manually or by using a special board feeder and stacker. The cutters also come with a variety of detachable modules for different uses and applications, which is one of the reasons why Esko boasts its versatility.

With the help of its intuitive interface and ergonomic design, the cutter’s computer-aided software operates the cutting tools with impressive precision along its x, y and z axes. It can be programmed to replicate designs exactly like the previous job, allowing you to keep printing. If fed by a roll, this continuous job requires even less effort.

For production purposes, flatbed cutters are the ideal and efficient companion to direct to media printed substrates. Those familiar with flatbed cutter manufacturers will know that Esko Kongsberg C tables definitely keep up with the competition, but we’ll let you decide whether it makes the cut!

Advantages of Esko Kongsberg C Table

Intended for professionals

The Esko Kongsberg C table is specifically designed for professionals within the packaging, wide format signage and display production industries.

The Esko Kongsberg flatbed cutters are designed to handle a wide range of substrates, making them extremely versatile for their intended uses. It can maintain the speed and power needed for professional-grade cuts regardless of material or industry.

With state-of-the-art engineering and aerospace technology, the Kongsberg C is also a very robust range of cutter plotters. Dynamic table mapping and a rack & pinion system mean that the table remains accurate and consistent.

Extremely Productive

The flatbed cutter range was designed to produce fast and efficient cuts to keep up with the developments in printing technology. Esko realised that faster printing is only an advantage if you’ve got a flatbed cutter with the same capabilities. If your cutter can’t produce the cuts at the same speed of the prints, then time is being lost as well as money because of a bottleneck in the production line.

For soft signage, there is also a motorised roll feeder, which will provide a continuous supply of material to the flatbeds conveyor belt. If set up correctly, it can be set up for 24/7 production. No more bottlenecks!

The Esko Kongsberg C boasts cutting speeds of up to 100 metres per minute, which makes the C series the fastest cutter in the Esko range. Several years ago, in tests run by Esko themselves, they found that the Kongsberg C64 performed much faster than competitor Zund’s G3 3XL. When cutting 3mm Dibond for example, the Kongsberg cutter completed its job 239% faster than the Zund.

Automation

Enhancing its extremely productive capabilities, the C series offers multiple opportunities for a user to take advantage of its smart automation functions. Without having to acquire any additional extras, the feature named “MultiZone” allows you to work with two independent vacuum systems at the front and rear, meaning you can double your production. Operators can be loading one sheet whilst the other is being cut. When cutting on the second sheet begins, the first sheet can be removed and another added.

The C series flatbed cutters use a camera system to register new material. The system is able to distinguish the edge of the new material against the flatbed itself, simply by registering the contrast of light material on a dark background. It is also able to read unique barcodes and QR codes. This gives the cutter the ability to quickly switch between unique cutting jobs when there is a queue lined up.

If highly advanced automation is the key element to a successful workflow for your business, then the C66 cutter is also compatible with feeder and stacker robotics. A robotic arm allows material to go from one pallet to another, feeding or stacking it onto the flatbed, improving business capabilities.

Interchangeable and Upgradable Tools

The key to being able to handle multiple substrates and varying depths is the different tool units. These modules can be used in different combinations depending on the job at hand for optimum results. Changing tools is fast and efficient by simply screwing on or unscrewing the tools.

With different tools and modules available, the Esko Kongsberg C Series can also be easily upgraded as your business grows. Additional and upgradable tools will allow you or your business to increase speed and acceleration of the cuts and even venture into different markets easier.

The Esko Kongsberg C Series comes equipped with a total of three tool slots:

  • a heavy-duty tool position
  • an insert position
  • a fast tool position.

The heavy-duty tool has 50 kg of downforce which makes it ideal for double and triple wall corrugated materials. The available attachments mean it’s capable of large creasing on heavy-duty boards, honeycomb boards, triple wall corrugated, solid boards and polypropylene boards. The heavy-duty tool is capable of high-speed perforation at 100m per minute. It also has a 3Kw fluid-cooled milling/routing unit, a foam cutting unit, knife inserts and crease blades. If that’s not enough, the heavy-duty tool comes with an optional dual heavy-duty unit, allowing the use of two heavy-duty tools at once, increasing production speed.

Meanwhile, the insert position has a drill tool insert, a ballpoint insert and a fiber tip tool. Which one you use depends on the job at hand.

The fast tool position has reciprocating and static tools that make it ideal for corrugated board, foam board and thin panels. It also comes with tools designed for cutting adhesive vinyl, textiles and tools for making braille signs.

Simple Software

The key to any flatbed cutter plotter is how it’s used. All of these fascinating features and benefits are only useful if the operator knows how to use them. There are plenty of complex operations to perform that could transform your productivity and this is why the Esko Kongsberg software aims to be as simple as possible.

The i-cut Production Console (iPC) provides icon-based communication and support for a variety of languages. It also offers personalisation options, allowing for separate logins for each operator.

Esko’s Quick Box feature within the software allows for quick and easy packaging design without the need for any CAD skills or experience. With instant access to an extensive library of structural designs, it means that you can get to work on producing packaging whilst you learn more about the cutter and its more advanced capabilities. The software also provides access to the ArtiosCAD Display Store, where you can download creative POP display templates, ready to produce with the material you have on the table.

Esko’s i-cut suite, which is available as a subscription-based software, also claims to be faster and more accurate than Adobe Illustrator.

Perhaps the most useful part of the Esko Kongsberg software is its device manager, which integrates with the iPC. Here you are able to monitor all ongoing cutting jobs and optimise them for the best output. This includes scheduling cutting jobs, making use of the automation software for continuous production runs.

In addition to these simplifying features, everything is ergonomically designed. This means that when no conveyor feed option is installed, the workstation can be mounted left, right and in the machine front, making software accessible from most angles.

The 5 C’s

The best way to summarise the Esko Kongsberg C series is with the words of Esko themselves. Esko describes its C series with the following:

“Capability – The Kongsberg C is designed to handle all types of substrates, thick to thin.

Capacity – The Kongsberg C is the only super-wide finisher to offer a 3kW continuous duty high-performance milling unit.

Consistency – The Kongsberg C delivers the same performance every time, even on the most demanding materials or for the most complex jobs.

Choice – The Kongsberg C offers size and productivity simultaneously, eliminating the need to own dedicated digital finishers for different applications.

Complete – The Kongsberg C offers a full solution consisting of hardware, software, bits & blades, and services.”

What can I make with an Esko Kongsberg Cutter?

Despite being designed for the display, packing and signage industries, the C series of flatbed cutters is one of the most versatile. Due to its impressive array of interchangeable tools, it has the ability to crease or cut through many substrates, including some which are not typically associated with packing, signage or display. The C series can handle the below substrates up to 3330mm wide with the C60 taking lengths of 2125mm and the C64 lengths up to 3730mm:

  • Wood
  • Corrugated Board
  • Foam
  • Plexiglass & Acrylic
  • MDF
  • Textiles
  • Vinyl & Adhesives
  • Aluminium
  • Folding Carton
  • Plastics
  • Honeycomb, rigid paper board and fluted core board
  • Solid Board
  • ACM
  • Corrugated Plastic
  • Carpet
  • Rubber
  • Paper

Since the C series cutter plotters can accommodate such a wide range of materials, it means businesses can be equipped to produce various different products, potentially diversifying their offering. Here are but a few of things you can produce on a large scale with an Esko Kongsberg:

  • Signs
  • Sample boxes
  • POP displays
  • Protective Packaging
  • Engraving
  • Front panels
  • Banners
  • Flags
  • Advertising items
  • Vinyl banners
  • Document folders
  • Rain covers
  • Sun shading
  • Credit cards
  • Light boxes
  • Gifts and cosmetics
  • Carpets
  • Mouse Mats

Things to consider when looking at flatbed cutters

Choosing a flatbed cutter for the future

When choosing a flatbed cutter plotter, it’s important to think not just about your immediate requirements, but your future requirements too. Given its ability to cut a wide range of substrates, the C series could be the ideal cutter plotter for a growing business that has long-term plans to diversify its products. For example, many printing and sign making companies have recently had the opportunity to meet new customer needs during the COVID-19 pandemic by producing signage.

With its automation add-ons and extra tools, the C series range of flatbed cutters is also ideal for businesses or professionals that want to scale up production.

An Esko Kongsberg cutter plotter will likely outlast most printers. Since the Esko Kongsberg C series is designed to match the printing speeds of today’s printers, in years to come, it will still be a viable option for cutting substrates at great speeds. 

Remember, a cutter plotter can be a large, long-term investment, so it’s important to make it worthwhile.

Do I have space?

The C series brings with it great production capabilities, allowing multiple projects to be completed simultaneously. Its effectiveness is due in part to its large size. The largest in the range, the C66, takes up 5100 x 5520 mm of space. The C24, which is the smallest cutter in the C series, take up 3600 x 3900 mm of space. Regardless of which you choose, make sure you take note of the dimensions and ensure you not only have enough space to fit the flatbed cutter, but also enough space for your operations and a comfortable workspace.

Buying new or used?

SSE Worldwide has a range of different flatbed cutters, including used Esko Kongsberg cutters. The benefit to purchasing a flatbed cutter with SSE Worldwide is that we supply both new and used cutters.

Previously owned flatbed cutters are an affordable alternative to an investment in a brand new flatbed cutter. The Esko Kongsberg C series was designed to not only keep up with the printers of today but to also be compatible with printers of the future, meaning even a used Kongsberg C Series flatbed cutter is still one of the fastest in the market today.

For more information on our range of available flatbed cutters, please feel free to contact us and our experts will be happy to assist you. We can even arrange a demo so you can see the capabilities of our flatbed cutters.

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