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Under the Hood

Intec ColorCut SC5000

Brian Sims discovers how the new SC5000 auto sheet cutter from Intec has successfully combined two technologies to produce a fully automated, digital cutting and creasing machine

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Intec has launched a new crossover model – the SC5000

The cream of the crop

A lot is said about crossover models – the car industry coined the term some time ago and now the market is flooded with models and are now mainstream products. Every now and again, the print industry comes up with their own crossover products; a single piece of equipment that combines technology from two or more other products which the designers hope has market value.

Intec has been working for two years on a machine that would pull together the technology of a vinyl cutter, which can cut card and labels but equally give high levels of automation. The outcome of those efforts is the SC5000, a fully automated digital cutting and creasing machine.

Clearly when you design a product such as the SC5000, you need the correct market for it to fall into. The problem of producing a crossover product is you are speculating the market will accept the combination of technology or models. Intec seems to have pitched its new product just right.

The automated sheet feeder boasts dual technology


Intec has been producing a series of large flatbed cutting and creasing machines for some time, widening the range of products since launching its first device at FESPA 2019 and are now offering its third generation of machines.

So, what is contained in the neatly boxed SC5000? At the heart of the machine there is a cutter and creaser combining both technologies, not only in one machine, but both can be deployed on one product, in one pass.

Intec has taken the proven technology of a flatbed device but has added a brand-new sheet feeding system, so you can have up to 1000 sheets fed through the cutter with no operator intervention.

Intec has taken the proven technology of a flatbed device but has added a brand-new sheet feeding system

 
The sheets are lifted and transported into the machine by a patented vacuum suction belt that usually sits under the stack but in this case, it sits above. On the transport of each sheet there is a jet of air that blasts into the stack to ensure clear and reliable lifting and separation of sheet after sheet. There are separation fingers just in case two sheets are lifted and the function of the feeding device pushes the sheet slightly backwards, bowing the sheet ensuring the most difficult of substrates are fed, flawlessly.

The machine is cleverly designed to have a cross beam that holds both the cutter and creaser which also doubles up as the sheet retaining device. The design function of this configuration is to have the cutting and creasing head set between the sheet holding rollers getting the cut or crease line closer to the media edges.

So, you have the dual technology linked to an automated sheet feeder, but how do you then get the cut and crease profile required and produced on the sheet? This is where some very clever technology takes over in the form of a QR code reader picking up a 3D code on one corner of the sheet. From that code, the machine simply picks up the necessary file and deploys it on the live sheet. No need to call up a file or set up the machine for each sheet – the machine recognises what is required where, and just gets on with the job.

Crossover technology

You could be forgiven for being nervous about this, but Intec has an eighth generation Vision3 CCD camera accurately reading each code, and in a flash, it collects the cut/crease file on the fly. This means that you can have a mixed stack of work and the SC5000 will just plough through the stack, jumping between files as required. The machine runs with no operator intervention and detects what file is needed and the operator just watches the machine producing to its heart content.

The machine runs with no operator intervention and detects what file is needed and the operator just watches the machine producing to its heart content


Once the sheets have been cut and or creased, they stream from the device into an angled tray which cleverly folds away into a drawer system meaning the SC5000 takes up very little room.

So what can the SC5000 produce sheet over sheet? The device is designed to produce cut and creased product on a sheet size up to 330mm x 485mm and a maximum thickness of 350 microns. The tools on the SC5000 vary from a 1mm cemented carbide blade with 30°, 45° and 60° angles for various substrates and a dual ended creasing tool. There is a newly designed cutting strip in the SC5000 which owes its effectiveness from the well proven flatbed cutters produced by Intec.

The SC5000 has incorporated the technology of a vinyl cutter but is able to cut card and labels


This allows you to produce any shape up to maximum substrate thickness and kiss cut labels at a speed of 960mm per second. The SC5000 also uses what is known as SmartTag retention to make sure the finished products lie as flat as possible.

To ensure sheet on sheet registration and accurate final product the SC5000 uses SmartMark technology linked via the ColorCut Pro Production Studio software. This combination means a user of the device can produce a wide range of products from a one-off prototype or small cartons, through to 1000s of labels or point-of-sale products, including vinyl or card shelf wobblers and all styles of labels and cut and creased products in between.

Each SC5000 is shipped with the ColorCut Pro software which is the digital heart of the whole system. As with all well designed software it is intuitive, simple to use and maximises both the potential of the machine’s hardware but at high levels of efficiency.

When you are finished with the machine, you can fold the delivery stack away under the cutter and wheel it into a corner of the factory floor.

The SC5000 does show there is space in the print industry for crossover models. This device shows with some clever thinking and out of the box design, any printer can own a digital sheet cutter capable of producing a wide range of cut and creased products, without spending a penny on a cutting dies or spending time on extensive set up times.


Brian Sims Principal Consultant, Metis Print Consultancy, www.metis-uk.eu

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