Sail and awning maker installs automated laser cutting machine

Dolphin Sails has installed a heavy-duty automated flatbed laser cutting machine to improve productivity and save costs.

Harwich, Essex, England - Sail, cover, and awning manufacturer Dolphin Sails has installed a Blackman and White (Heybridge, Maldon, Essex, England) Mastercut heavy-duty automated flatbed laser cutting machine at the company's sail loft to improve productivity and save costs.

The Mastercut machine has a multi-tool head that holds both a knife blade and a laser cutter for cutting a wide range of materials without having to change tools.

The company uses composite and laminated polymer fabrics for its products, which are woven textiles. If they are cut with a knife, the edges have to be sewn to prevent fraying, explains Dolphin’s managing director Mathew Vincent. But the newly installed laser cutting machine heat-seals the edges of the material as it cuts, enabling faster cutting and eliminating the need to sew the material edges, he says.

The machine has a 3.2 × 14 m flatbed, which allows the company to handle much larger patterns for their products. The laser cuts with ±0.02mm accuracy and at speeds up to 1100mm/s without direct contact with the material. Fully automated nesting algorithms allow patterns to be laid out to the exact material width in seconds.

The company installed the machine a few weeks ago, but has already experienced savings of 2–3% on material costs, Vincent says.

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