1st Installation in the UK of the Duplo PFi Blade B3 cutting table

sidneykidney

Well-known member
He's an article from this weeks Print Week. We're the first installation in the UK but rather than worrying that we have version 1.0 rather than 1.1, I don't seem to have found any bugs as yet!!!!
This cutting table compliments out existing kit which includes a Xerox digital press and Matrix Digital foiler/laminator. This will allow us to create bespoke items and promotional material and well as short run carton packaging.

 

Ynot_UK

Well-known member
We looked into the Duplo PFii Blade, however went with the Vivid Veloblade 64 instead. We opted for this purely because of our existing relationship with Vivid and running an existing Matrix 370DP & Omniflow - which the majority of our jobs will go through immediately before moving on to the flatbed cutter - it made sense from a troubleshooting perspective of working with one supplier's support team. I understand both machines are physically the same, and originate from the same source, however the Duplo CAD software is evidently "less Chinese". Early days yet (ours was installed last week) however we've had pleasing results on a couple of jobs so far and have plenty of kiss and die cutting work lined up for the machine over the next few months.

Veloblade.JPG
 

sidneykidney

Well-known member
You're right about Vivids software being chinese. Duplo rewrote their version, I could be wrong but I think it was rewritten by Esko. We went with Duplo because of our history with them on finishing equipment and their excellent service and after sales support. Unfortunately, after we purchased a Matrix 370 from Vivid for laminating and foiling, the after sales was non-existent. I took around six months of my own time and material to master the machine myself and how to foil properly on various materials. The only time anyone had come to see us from Vivid was the training on installation and we never saw them again...we were sold and box and had to just get on with it ourselves.

We use our Duplo PFiBlade for short run foiled, laminated carton packaging as well as point of sale, shelf wobblers, kiss cut shaped stickers, etc.
We've found Duplo very helpful in their after sales and they're always coming up with new ideas on improving the machine. We currently testing out an embossing feature!!!
 

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beeline

Member
@sidneykidney and @Ynot_UK

We're thinking about investing into a digital die cutting system as well. I did some research and there are quite a few providers available on the market, next to Duplo and Vivid. Many of them offering the same machine under a different brand name (Jwei LS, iEcho PK, MagnoPro iCut, Haas Autocut), others offering their own developments (Valiani Omnia, Zünd S3 – however starting at 45k and 100k respectively). Service and maintenance, as well as software are important - so currently thinking about going with Duplo (already have a DocuCutter and are very happy with service and responsiveness).

We're planning to run some prototypes on it (mainly folders), as well as short- to medium-length runs of folding cartons (250+ gsm, 50-500 units, i.e. 50-1.000 SRA3 sheets per job). For longer runs we have a Heidelberg Zylinder, as well as two HD A3 Tiegel.

A couple of questions, building on your experience:
  • At which volume would you move from digital die cut to Zylinder/Tiegel?
  • How reliable is the delivery section of your Duplo/Vivid (i.e. how often do you need to clear the tray because of a pile-up?
  • Or are you working with bars to keep the cut-out pieces in place?
 

Ynot_UK

Well-known member
@sidneykidney and @Ynot_UK

A couple of questions, building on your experience:
  • At which volume would you move from digital die cut to Zylinder/Tiegel?
We don't use the VeloBlade every day, indeed some weeks it is not used at all. However when we do use it, it can be working for 8+ hours, with short breaks.
Our justification for it was based on several factors, in no particular order:
  • the ability to produce short runs of samples for piloting and user acceptance testing and then make changes to them without incurring finishing house costs (massively enhancing customer service offering)
  • the ability to produce full runs in-house, primarily to remove relying on external suppliers (less stress, quicker turnaround, better customer service, increased margins)
  • having a particular regular order for die cutting on an always time sensitive job, where a combination of an external supplier cut quality, reliability to adhere to tight deadlines and courier ineptitude made us decide around this time last year, "we don't care what this costs, we're going to invest whatever is required to bring the full process inhouse!"...
  • The VeloBlade represented a significant investment for us, so realistically I can't see us subbing out anything which we print inhouse for die or kiss cutting.

  • How reliable is the delivery section of your Duplo/Vivid (i.e. how often do you need to clear the tray because of a pile-up?
  • Die cutting and kiss cutting need to be treated differently on exit and there is an art to positioning the catch tray, depending on the type of cut and the substrate.
    • For kiss cut SRA3 sheets with a gloss laminate top - which we've produced many thousands of - the VeloBlade will happily work for several hours and give you a nice cleanly stacked catch tray of several hundred sheets.
    • The only proviso to this is, because there is no automatic monitoring of knife life, it is prudent to do a test peel every 50 to 100 sheets or so (depending on the length of cutting happening per sheet), to ensure your kiss cut is sufficiently deep. If you don't do this, I guarantee you will get caught out and of course, it is not visually apparent whether a kiss cut is deep enough. I hope in time Vivid will develop a software solution to fix this issue, as it's on a par with those early laser printers that would gradually run out of toner without stopping (I guess not everyone on here will be old enough to know what I'm talking about...)
    • For die cutting, sure, the output is untidy, but it doesn't actually matter. Put a blank sheet on the catch tray and when you periodically empty it, the weed falls away and it's easy to gather the die cut pieces.
    • The finished shape and size of the cut pieces will determine the best position for the catch tray. Very occasionally you may get a weed related jam, which backs up and stops the machine. For the die cut jobs we do, the machine is so quick, I tend to remain in the area of the machine and regularly empty it.

  • Or are you working with bars to keep the cut-out pieces in place?
  • Only the magnetic guides that come with the machine, which for kiss cut jobs do a splendid job.

In summary, the VeloBlade has transformed our finishing line and we are well pleased with the investment. As I've made no secret of on other posts, we like Vivid very much as a company - they have a great ethos and get what matters right, understanding the market and staying close to their customers. We bought the VeloBlade because we already had the Matrix & OmniFlow, and were very happy with the products and the support.

We've had the VeloBlade about six months now and to give a balanced view, there are just two real frustrations, which we're confident Vivid will in time fix (should be easy as they are both software related).
  • The software on the original Veloblade 64 and 68. From what I've seen in the showroom, the larger Volta and Nexus models have really nice software, whereas the "JingWei CAD/CAM" software that comes bundled with the smaller VeloBlade 64 and 68 contain alarmingly high levels of Chinesium! We would love to be upgraded to an English version.
  • The vast majority of Veloblade 64 cutting tables are used by SRA3+ outfits, such as our own. Yet there is a need to manually locate the initial registration position at the start of each job (and when the Chinese software hangs).
Hope the above is useful for you.
 

Eric Boucher

Well-known member
Hi,
I am also currently looking at the Duplo PFI Blade. Do any of you use the QR code option for repeated jobs? I'm wondering if you can just stack different jobs in the feeder and let the machine work by itself, reading each QR code before cutting?
 

beeline

Member
Because of a significant price difference between the Duplo and Vivid pre-negotiation (> EUR 4.000!!) and the proximity of a dealer/technician to our location I'm reconsidering a Vivid/Veloblade machine (Veloblade Volta 64/69 – VeloBlade Volta 64 | Digital Die Cutting Systems | Vivid Laminating) rather than Duplo.

Have you – @Ynot_UK or others in this forum – had a look at the software that comes with the Volta 64/69 models? Any remarks or caveats on that? Planning a showroom tour next week so grateful for any hints regarding what to look for, probe into, and ask about.
 

Ynot_UK

Well-known member
@beeline I have seen and watched the software in the showroom on the Volta and Nexus for several hours a few months back. It looks loads better than the Chinese (JingWei) software we have on the VeloBlade 64 and has a nice GUI that traces on the monitor what the tools are doing in real time. In the time I was there it didn't hang or crash at any stage, which is more than can be said for the JingWei software (still hoping we will get upgraded as we love the cutting table but not the software). Good luck next week, take some of your own files & substrates, I'm sure Duncan and his team will look after you well. No doubt you'll report back post-visit.
 

beeline

Member
@beeline I have seen and watched the software in the showroom on the Volta and Nexus for several hours a few months back. It looks loads better than the Chinese (JingWei) software we have on the VeloBlade 64 and has a nice GUI that traces on the monitor what the tools are doing in real time. In the time I was there it didn't hang or crash at any stage, which is more than can be said for the JingWei software (still hoping we will get upgraded as we love the cutting table but not the software). Good luck next week, take some of your own files & substrates, I'm sure Duncan and his team will look after you well. No doubt you'll report back post-visit.
thanks for the input. just found out that the previous version was manufactured by jingwei not sinajet, thus the difference in software. i'll be at a german showroom but happily report back!
 

joshlindsay

Well-known member
I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of our JingWei LST 0806 cutter. Will be upgrading from an Intec FB900 as now we've build up some digital cutting work I'd like make the most of auto sheet feeding. I've heard the software is a little clunky but functional.
 

Eric Boucher

Well-known member
Hi,
Is anyone running either of these:

Intec Colorcut LC-600

Vulcan SC-350

I'm curious to know how they perform. I know they're in another class as the PFI Blade / Veloblade, but they might be enough for what we need to do.
Thanks.
 

Ynot_UK

Well-known member
@Eric Boucher we looked at something similar before getting the VeloBlade- the Graphtec F-Mark.
The UK distributor was very helpful and whilst it looked OK for kiss cutting, it was the die cutting that put us off as to do this successfully to any volume needs the vacuum flatbed IMO
 

tngcas

Well-known member
Hi,
Is anyone running either of these:

Intec Colorcut LC-600

Vulcan SC-350

I'm curious to know how they perform. I know they're in another class as the PFI Blade / Veloblade, but they might be enough for what we need to do.
Thanks.
My understanding is that because these aren't on a vacuum fed bed they leave little tabs that have to be manually cut/broken after you're done. Speaking specifically of die cutting and not kiss cutting. Otherwise the pieces would fall/shift during the cutting process. That works for some uses but not others. There was a guy who had the Vulcan style one a while back who said he had good results with his machine.
 

Ynot_UK

Well-known member
I've not seen the output, although for the volumes we do and the need for a perfectly straight edge, it wouldn't work for us, which is why we took the VeloBlade route.

Even with the VeloBlade, to get a perfect cut, you have to get the position where the drag knife starts somewhere other than the centre of a straight cut line, to prevent an imperfection.

Another thing, if you are intending on cutting full bleed digital without lamination, test this and specifically ensure you're happy with the output and that the knife isn't wrecking the toner on the cutting line. Full bleed die cuts with flaking toner leaving white speckled edges is not pretty.
 

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