Ainsley Signs Chooses Kongsberg X44 Edge digital cutting table from CMYUK

October 17, 2022
The Kongsberg X44 Edge from CMYUK in operation at Ainsley Signs The Kongsberg X44 Edge from CMYUK in operation at Ainsley Signs

Ainsley Signs has purchased a Kongsberg X44 Edge digital cutting table from CMYUK. It replaces an old CNC machine and immediately turbo charges the company’s production processes.

Our old CNC machine was purchased in 2012, but rather than a like for like replacement, we decided to invest in machinery that could give us the best of both worlds."

Josh Ainsley, Commercial Director

Traditional signwriting to digital production

Currently celebrating a landmark 70 years in business, Ainsley Signs based in Middleton, Manchester was founded in 1952 as a traditional sign writing business by Nelson Ainsley. Grandson Josh joined the company in 2010, later buying out his uncle in 2019, and now co-owns the company equally with his Managing Director father, Ian Ainsley.

The company moved into digital production in 1998 and currently runs a digital flatbed and several roll-to-roll printers. Its customer base is predominately the construction sector and services companies from the Midlands to the top end of Scotland.

Josh took Adam Taylor, the company’s CNC router operator with him to review cutters from Zund, Kongsberg, and Summa. “Out of the three I got a much better feel for the Kongsberg and Adam preferred it as well. I was also really impressed with CMYUK’s customer service that included the extra training. As a whole package, investing in the Kongsberg was by far the better option. The user interface seemed much easier to use and the price was good as well,” he says.

Kongsberg tooling

Josh purchased the Kongsberg X44 Edge MultiCUT toolhead model that has a milling spindle up to 45,000 RPM. An integrated camera system ensures precision registration and cutting every time. One of the benefits of the table is that it’s a modular system that allows users to purchase tools as and when required. In addition to the above, Josh bought a VariAngle tool that is unique to Kongsberg, which automatically cuts at any angle between 0 – 60o without any operator intervention, perfect for producing aluminium sign trays.

Other purchases included an engraving tool plus creaser and box production software. This has allowed the company to start producing its own branded delivery boxes that perfectly fits the signs it has produced.

“We were buying boxes in at a certain size that we were using to send out our work. By making our own we’ve saved money, reduced the amount of packaging materials required, and improved our general corporate presentation,” he says.

With the X44 Edge, the company can now print and cut generic banners for the construction industry far more quickly and efficiently than before. Previously, it had the capacity to print and hand-cut a small number of mesh banners at a time which were then held in stock in a process that took approximately 3 hours. Now with the Kongsberg it can cut an entire 50m mesh roll in under 40 minutes, without the issue of human error.

Says Josh, “I regard the Kongsberg and the Zund as the Rolls Royce of digital cutting. They are pretty much identical in capability but what’s staggering is that the Kongsberg is significantly less expensive. It’s a fantastic addition to our business and has already had instant impact.”

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