We are often asked whether a combined print and cut machine or separate units is the best way forward. Earlier today in the office we had a discussion to come up with the reasons that might sway a decision one way or the other.
As we found out it’s not all plain sailing when you’re looking for the right options in print and cut technology.
No, I don’t mean the final frontier.
Most buying decisions come down to practicality and if you haven’t got the space for two machines, then your decision could be pretty much made.
With the Mimaki print and cut machines being exactly the same size as their print only cousins, if space saving is paramount, you can have both in the same spot.
If space is no issue then it must be a no brainer to get two machines then….
Well, not exactly.
Ask yourself: do I print a lot of stickers? Or is there plenty of plotter vinyl going through your print schedule?
If the answer is no then perhaps a single machine will easily cope with the rare times when the cutter is needed.
Look at the possible bottlenecks within your print throughput.
Is it potentially the printing that could hold you back? Or the cutting? What about the finishing?
Go through each stage of your production and evaluate what could be the weak link.
Think that if the printer is always running, do you want to stop and cut on the same machine? Unload print media to pop in a roll of CAD vinyl to finish off that vehicle graphic?
When one machine is busy, two can always share the workload.
Ease of use
We think a combined machine wins this one, although many experienced printers will say if the software is intuitive, any number of machines are simple to operate.
The benefit of a combined print and cut machine over two separate units is when you want to, you can load up and forget about it. Set it to print and cut all those stickers overnight and the job is done.
It's here that the two machines are clearly the most resourceful.
If you’re producing small volumes of stickers, the print run can be completed, taken off the printer and popped on the cutter for trimming out. The printer is now free to get on with the next job.
Cost of ownership
With two machines you have double the potential issues.
Although, if the cutter throws a wobbly you can still print, and vice versa. You’ll get your work out while you’re waiting for one of the pair to be fixed.
If its all combined you have only one purchase, one installation and one machine to maintain. There’s one machine to operate and one workflow to set up and keep an eye on.
Two machines will be more expensive initially but when most cutting machines can trundle on for years, the standalone device could be by your side through a change of printer.
When combined, its not quite as easy to upgrade just the cutting or print unit.
We couldn’t come up with definitives as to why someone would definitely go for print and cut combined over separate machines. Even when the biscuits were brought out and the kettle flicked on we were still scratching our heads.
If you haven’t the space or throughput then a single machine must be the better option.
If you have the volume then two machines could well fit the bill.
Just check out all the options before making that final decision.
When you’ve searched for info (and maybe that’s just how you ended up on this post) and now looking for unbiased options in print and cut, either combined or separates, get in touch on 01772 250207.
As you can see, we think about how these decisions can affect your workflow and we’re all for making your production a little simpler and, hopefully, a lot more efficient.