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A great thing about laser engraving and cutting systems is how fast they can etch a pattern or cut out even the most intricate design. Still, laser operators are always looking for ways to increase productivity. Here are a few tips and tricks you can use to ensure that you are operating your laser at its highest potential.
1. Engrave multiple items in one batch
One thing that will reduce production time is printing multiples. If you have a project that requires engraving more than one item of the same or similar design - like plaques or coasters - print multiple pieces at once, instead of one at a time. We've found that by engraving in batches, users experience up to a 37% increase in time savings.
2. Adjust the resolution
Resolution is another factor to consider when you want to increase throughput. A clear image is important in any engraving job, but the higher the DPI is, the longer an item will take to engrave. DPI refers to dots per inch, and the higher the DPI the closer together the engraved dots are going to be. This results in a highly detailed engraved image but may take longer than you'd like. By lowering your engraving resolution a bit, you can increase your time savings by up to 33% or more.
3. Use color mapping
Color mapping is a great time saver. Let’s say you have a design with three columns, each with about 20 names. By default, the laser sees this as one image and the laser head will travel over the white space between columns in order to engrave the entire graphic you've sent to print. Using color mapping enables you to skip all that white space by assigning each column a different color and an associated engraving order. With this method, the laser will engrave one column at a time, only travelling over the white space between columns when it's time to move on to the next set of names. This approach can save you upwards of 43% depending on the items you’re engraving.
4. Pre-engrave items
Customization is extremely popular, and thus a great business opportunity, but one-off jobs can be very inefficient. Loading up the same design over and over again to engrave the same item multiple times can consume a lot of your production time. We suggest pre-engraving an inventory of popular items before individual orders come in.
5. Use the Job Manager
The Job Manager is an easy way to streamline your laser processing workflow. This is an incredible time saver that gives you access to job time recorders, a materials database and much more. You can tailor the software so you can easily locate and replicate jobs at the touch of a button.
Hopefully these tips and tricks will help you make your engraving/cutting adventures less time consuming and more productive. Happy lasering!