Foiling dies made simple with ArtCAM
When competing against other block-makers for Clays’ business, Coatings Direct found that having the right CADCAM system in place gave them that competitive edge.
Independent publisher Michael O’Mara Books required a complex and pioneering cover-for-case block design for ‘The Books’ series. To rise to the challenge and secure this business, Clays Ltd, the book manufacturer needed foiling dies they could rely on to provide a reliable and seam-free process between receiving copy and the finished books.
Clays has been working successfully with Coatings Direct (based in Harleston, Suffolk) for the past six years. With the use of ArtCAM (www.artcam.com), a CADCAM software package from Delcam, Coatings Direct has consistently been able to create blocks from designs supplied by Clays within strict time constraints.
Vic Britton, manager of the block-making department at Coatings Direct, has been using ArtCAM for almost eight years. Once artwork is received from the manufacturer, a metal plate reproducing the image supplied by the client must be made quickly and accurately as "our industry is extremely time-sensitive, with us receiving deadlines by the hour”. Receiving increasingly more complex files adds to this challenge, as the more intricate designs require more plates to be made by Coatings within the same time frame.
‘The Girl’s Book of Glamour’ (by Sally Jeffrie, published by Michael O’Mara’s ‘Buster Books’ imprint), is an example of a highly complex job for both block-making and production of finished copies, because the cover-for-case design is foiled in two passes; black and silver. This requires two separate plates to be made and an accurate blocking technique when manufacturing the cases. Before ArtCAM this would have entailed acid etching to clear away the bulk of the material followed by hand carving the remainder of the design for each individual template. Now with ArtCAM, "for one template what originally would take up to eight hours to carve would now only take only three, saving us five hours in total.”
"Prior to ArtCAM we were also often faced with inconsistency between plates which meant that we had to adjust them or create the plates again from scratch. ArtCAM however enables consistency and quality.”
Designed for the engraving industry, ArtCAM can import a variety of file formats such as Photoshop files & PDFs sent directly from the customer into the software. Once brought into the software vectors can be made on the image then be tidied up using a range of vector tools to create neat crisp edges. "Vectorizing saves us vast amounts of time as we can clean up the vectors before machining, giving a higher quality plate and less time refining & re-machining them.”
Within the software, specific CNC machining tools can be selected to match the machinery in the factory and toolpaths set to machine the metal templates. With the enhanced machining strategies available, toolpaths can then be optimised to reduce material wastage and reduce machining times. This timesaving could then be passed onto Clays who, with their foiling dies could produce their finished book on time.
Edward Powell, ArtCAM Development Manager, believes that "by maintaining regular contact with our customers, such as Coatings Direct, we have been able to continually develop our product in line with their specific needs. Understanding the nature of our customers’ businesses, budgets and prior design experience has also enabled us to tailor unique training and support services to meet a variety of needs.”
Vic says that "Each year ArtCAM has developed more and more, which is why we stay with Delcam”.
12 March 2008