A laser cutting overview, as published in Print Week.

Laser Bureau specialises in laser cutting paper. The company, which is based in Sharnbrook, Befordshire, and has a sister business called Cutture, based in London, can engrave, perforate and namecut – it also offers a hand finishing service. According to Laser Bureau managing director, Chris Demott, the company’s “eye is always on quality”. This quest to be the best is reflected in the company’s client list, which includes the likes of Harrods, Molton Brown and Ferrari. 

“Our work is varied which is a really exciting challenge; we can go from making large-scale pieces for point-of-sale and exhibitions, to intricate tags and place cards for events,” says Demott. 

He adds that the company receives more and more requests to laser cut elements for packaging – and particularly luxury cartons that require that little bit of extra flair to set products apart from the competition. Another growing area of business is brochures and book covers. Demott says that as these get more creative “laser cutting is now a viable option due to the higher volumes we can now produce with our equipment”.

Laser Bureau uses two different types of laser cutter. “We have cabinet lasers from Trotec – these are laser plotters,” says Demott. “The cabinet lasers are really flexible and although we specialise in cutting paper and card they will happily cut and engrave other materials like acrylic and wood.”

More recently the company has invested in a high-speed digital Galvo laser cutter sold by Motioncutter, which is significantly quicker than the Trotecs, according to Demott.

 

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Eye catching details.

 

 

“The Motioncutter is ideal for cutting paper and card and the control you have to refine your cut is amazing. As the name suggests they also cut in motion, so with a traditional feeder you can load in a pallet of paper and, using either sheet or print detection, laser cut much larger volumes than previously possible because you don’t need to hand feed.”

He adds that a key attraction of the Motioncutter is how relatively straightforward it is to incorporate numbering and personalisation into laser cut designs. “Every invitation or magazine cover, for instance, can now have a guest’s or client’s name cut out, that really has the wow factor,” explains Demott. “Another feature of laser cutters that are probably the most under utilised and the thing that still surprises me every time we do it is you can laser kiss cut. We produce adhesive-backed labels for some clients and the complexity of cut is impressive, but the fact that you can adjust the laser so it doesn’t cut all the way through the backing sheet makes them really easy to peel and apply.”

 

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Large order? 

 

 

He adds that in addition to cutting the company also offers alternatives to other finishes – for example, adding a laser crease or perforation. “It means we are becoming an option for short run work that would usually be die-cut, saving on tooling costs. You can also push the designs further than you can with die-cutting, adding extra detail or text that would normally not be possible with a forme.” 

Demott says there are lots of different options when it comes to laser cutting technology and the investment outlay need not be huge – especially if someone wants to use the equipment for prototyping or very short-run work. 

“The thing to remember is many businesses choose to work with a specialist laser cutting service because ultimately it involves cutting paper with fire. To do this safely requires specialist knowledge and training. To do it quickly and as cleanly as possible requires a much larger investment in equipment,” says Demott.

 

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Every copy unique.