Tuesday 21 June 2016

Decorator Industries: Ultra-Sonic Success
What you can do with your plotter/cutter?

Posted at 3:29 PM

Decorator Industries, located in Abbotsford, WI has been manufacturing custom crafted interior furnishings for the hospitality industry since 1953. Over the last 50 years they have grown into a world-leading manufacturer by focusing on their mission to supply the highest quality experience to both their customers and employees. For their customers, they are a “first cut” producer, meaning they only use the best (first) fabrics produced by top choice vendors. For their employees they offer per-piece profit sharing and are continuously investing in automation to improve employee productivity (and therefore raising per-piece throughput). When they began bidding a job to replace all of the window blinds, shades, and black-out curtains for a nation-wide hotel chain in the fall of 2015, they turned to Carlson Design to automate their blind cutting.

The Problem:

Cutting window treatments by hand is difficult, time consuming, and wasteful. Each cut must be measured and squared for the blind to properly roll and unroll. They currently do not have the right tools to make these cuts, or seal the edge, or maximize their material yield. This means they are throwing away a lot of expensive first-cut material, and producing few finished parts to show for it.

The Solution:

The Carlson Design PTi-132″ Plotter/Cutter with our NEW Ultra-Sonic Cutting Head and Autonesting software. The Carlson Design Ultra-Sonic advantage allows them to solve all of these problems, making fast, straight, sealed-edge cuts, with maximum material yield.

“I don’t think we would have gotten the job if we didn’t have your system. [The Plotter/Cutter] allows for quicker delivery and lets us save a lot of fabric.” Chris Hannula, Business Development Specialist for DEC Ind. “Those savings were the difference that kept the job from going to [large competitor].”
Carlson Design PTi-132″ Plotter/Cutter with Ultra-Sonic Tool Head on a 11’x16′ Phillocraft Vacuum Table.
Installation Details
Customer Decorator Industries
Plotter Cutter Model PTi-132 Plotter/Cutter
Cutting Attachments Ultra-Sonic Cutting Head
Plotter Cutter Width 132 Inches
Maximum Material Size
Maximum Cut Width
120 Inches
Table Length 16′ Long Phillocraft Vacuum Table
Vacuum Blowers 2 x 5 HP Radial Blowers
  • Window Blinds
  • Blackout Shades
  • Curtains
  • Upholstery

The Ultra-Sonic System:

The Carlson Design Ultra-Sonic Cutting Head is world’s simplest sealed-edge cutting solution when speed and accuracy are essential. We ensure a standardized and easily supported system by integrating a JTE Machine Ultra-Sonic cutting tool onto our rigid Pro PTi-132″ gantry. At 132″ wide, we can Plot/Cut up to 120″ (3m) wide material. The system rides on a 11’x16′ Phillocraft vacuum table, with a custom-drilled metal cutting surface. The Plotter/Cutter and Ultra-Sonic tool are controlled using our Plotmaster Software suite — including autonesting. The results are:

The Ultra-Sonic Cutting Head shares many of it’s components with our standard Pro Production cutting systems, allowing it to also share in the simplicity and supportability of all Carlson Design systems.

The ingenious on-board mount for JTE-Machine’s ultra-sonic power supply on a Carlson PTi-132″ gantry keeps the system simple and standard. This provides easy operator access to power controls, without adding extra cabling or complexity to our best-in-class production cutting system.

Real Results

“The Cutter runs everyday and works Great!”

In just over six months of ownership Decorator Industries has cut over 4000 blinds on their Ultra-Sonic Plotter/Cutter system. Let’s look at some of their real results:

FASTER: Average cut time is almost 90% faster. Jobs that took days are now cut in hours.

SEALED EDGE: Blinds now have a sealed edge – eliminating freying and improving product life and durability.

BETTER QUALITY: Cuts are straighter, more square, and with their sealed edge they “Look much more professional”.

MATERIAL SAVINGS: Autonesting improved material yield in some cases by over 100% and improved their competitive pricing by at least $80,000.

This great looking setup is designed for all-day production cutting.

Faster Cuts, Faster Delivery:

“Speeding up our cut time let us deliver much faster — which the customer always wants. We definitely think this helped us get the order we purchased the machine to fill.” Before automating, the prospect of cutting 100 shades would take a dedicated employee working days. Chris Hannula reported “It now takes about two hours to cut 120 shades. Before [the Plotter/Cutter] it would have taken two days or more. And that’s without having a sealed edge.”

Large quantity orders of repetitive cuts are made easy with the Carlson Design Plotter/Cutter. That “sticky note” shows four different sized blinds ordered in quantities of 155, 12, 126, and 12. Before their Plotter/Cutter this order would have take over a week to cut — now it won’t even take a full day.

According to Chris, the Plotter/Cutter takes approximately one minute to cut one shade, which is easy to believe after watching the above video. Cutting by hand it can take 8-10 minutes.

Sealed Edge Advantage

“The sealed edge and cut quality have really made everything look a lot more professional. No more frey’s, and the cuts are much straighter and squarer”. The Ultra-Sonic cutting tool is the fastest solution for achieving a sealed edge — capable of cutting up to 30 IPS. Sealing the edge of a blind makes a big difference in quality — check out the comparison between a sealed and non-sealed edge in the video below.

Cuts are also much more square. “With the machine there isn’t any wobble. We love the extra straight cuts.”

To demonstrate, Chris rolled and finished a blind during the installation.

A machine cut blind lays straighter, rolls smoother, and is easier to assemble.

The finished edge seen by the customer looks much cleaner.

Saving Material Made Easy:

Decorator Industries only cuts “first cut” fabric — which means it’s the best. However, it also means it’s the most expensive. When hand cutting, they would cross cut the roll at the length of each shade — often throwing away as much or more scrap than finished product. Using our Autonesting software they were able to fit twice as many panels in the same amount of material.

That savings is huge when competitively quoting a big job — “and the difference that kept the job from going to [large competitor]”.

One of their first jobs consisted of 138 of one size rectangle (45.5×56.5) and 167 of another (57.25×68.5). We ran these patterns through our autonester and quickly determined the needed to cut 69 nested tables. “The great thing about Autonesting is how easy it is to change the quantity.” Running at 15IPS, each table cut in 1:56. All 305 patterns were cut in half-a-day, with maximum material yield.

Nesting patterns allows them to cut edge-to-edge. To further speed up cut time, they can “kill” the cut along the factory edge.

Even simple patterns, like 1.5″ strips, can benefit from nesting — below we utilize and existing piece of “scrap” material to cut trim strips.

To secure their material during cutting we use a thin plastic sheet to “vacuum bag” their material.

These strips are slid into a custom extrusion. The more accurately and consistently these strips are cut, the quicker they can be assembled into a finished product.

Opportunity Generator:

“One of our only complaints is we want to be able to cut even more on the table.” Let’s do it!

The Ultra-Sonic cutting head can plot/cut much more than just rectangles. During the installation we helped them cut elastic triangles, different upholstery materials, and even lettering.

A wide variety of materials are used in the hospitality industry – the Ultra-Sonic cutting head is very versatile.

It’s also very accurate. To demonstrate accuracy we used our built-in text generator to cut out their company name.

Accuracy and a sealed edge!

The Ultra-Sonic tool can cut more than rectangles. Using our Sketchup plugin they were able to draw a 12″x12″x19″ triangle typically die-cut out of elastic.

The elastic benefits from the sealed edge. The material is vacuum bagged during cutting to prevent shift.

We’d like to give a big thank you to Chris, Jordan, and the rest of the team at Decorator Industries for helping make this a great installation. We look forward to hearing about the future jobs sold, and the time and material saved.

Installation Notes:

They had their table assembled and leveled before we arrived. This allowed us to finish their entire installation by 1pm on the first day of the install. That allowed for more time to focus on software training and exploring additional opportunity.

They provided their own All-in-one Windows PC and operator’s workstation.

The PTi-132″ Plotter/Cutter with Ultra-Sonic cutting head mounted to a standard Phillocraft steel frame table. These tables come in endless 4′ long sections, allowing them to easily expand their table later if needed.

Their table is plumbed with two 5HP radial vacuum blowers.

A perforated steel cutting surface is necessary when cutting with the Ultra-Sonic Cutting Head. A woven mesh layer between the table top and cutting surface ensures good vacuum flow.

The simplicity of our Ultra-Sonic mount ensures their still only three cables running off the side of the Plotter/Cutter: power, air, and control.

They used their Plotter/Cutter pen holder to mark clear alignment lines on the cutting surface. When cutting repetitive patterns it is a good idea to move your start point to extend the life of your cutting surface.

Glamour Shot! One last look at a fantastic setup!