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  • Opinions on Flatbed digital plotter

    Posted by David McDonald on August 16, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Hi All

    We are getting serious about investing in a flatbed plotter, albeit we will be waiting to see what happens in the months following Brexit before signing up for anything (but lets not get started on Brexit)

    We will want a conveyor version, bed size big enough to fit 10X5’s, camera for cut registration, router, and all the usual knives for cutting and creasing correx, PVC, vinyl etc. etc.

    We haven’t had current demo’s yet and we like the look of the Summa, Kongsberg, and Dyss units, plus the potential economy of imported and UK re-badged and supported I-Echo machines. We think Zund units will be way beyond our budget unless 2nd user. We’d prefer a new unit that includes initial support and warranty.

    We’d appreciate any comments and comparisons over the different machines – especially from anyone who’s had direct experience of using more than one model/make. Any feedback on the quality of service and support from the manufacturer or vendor would also be valued.

    Its quite a big step for us and we don’t want to make the wrong decision !!

    Thanks in advance for any information.


  • 12 Replies
  • John Hughes

    August 16, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    Hi Dave. We have a Tekcel from Complete CNC Solutions. It has a 10 x 5 bed but no conveyor belt. Well worth looking at with good customer support although it probably more of a router than cutter but we do cut vinyl on it and has a camera.


  • David McDonald

    August 17, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    Thanks John,

    Yes I’ve heard Tekcel are really good routers and even though we do want a router on the flatbed plotter it will mostly be for vinyl, banners, correx and PVC, with limited acrylic and DiBond as we’ll cut most of the latter on other machines.

    Look forward to hearing from anyone else with experience on Summa, Kongsberg, Dyss etc.


  • Robert Lambie Robert Lambie

    August 18, 2019 at 11:39 pm

    Around 5 years ago I had a demo of the Summa at ArtSystems. It certainly did the job and was much more cost-effective than jumping straight to the likes of the Zund. Even those Summa machines have changed so much since then… the one i had the demo on was the smaller of the two available at the time and I think that’s why I didn’t get a proper feel for it. hard to explain…

    I have a friend that has the Zund and swears by it, he admitted at the time his purchase was more because of thats what he used with a previous company he was with. yet another friend has the Esko Kongsberg… at the time I was leaning more on the Esko but regardless, it was clear you were paying for what it could do, rather than just what I needed it for and that was just vinyl graphics. However, as you will know some are sold modularly, so you do save a fair bit.

    When I was at William Smiths, they were using a Zund with onboard edge sealing for their 3M conspicuity kits/graphics. That was pretty impressive and not something I had even considered the machine for. the edge sealing I mean, not cutting the likes of diamond grade which is another bonus.

    Personally, I think you must have a very high volume of a let’s say vinyl graphics to justify the purchase. My aim was more about streamlining graphics production than trying to open into other areas of work.
    Already having a CNC router for many years now, I cannot think of anything worse than cutting acrylic or foamex in a room on a machine and then switching to vinyl graphics and application tape being cut and the debris not becoming an issue of some sort. maybe I am wrong, but even though the machine makes a great job of cutting both, I think I would rather have a dedicated model in a clean environment.

    I also looked at Fotoba XY cutters, another impressive machine for the likes of truck wraps, roll-up stands- posters etc
    where kiss-cut irregular contours are not required. That said, I see new laminators and printers introducing XY cutting features, limited features but still…

  • David McDonald

    August 20, 2019 at 12:08 pm

    Hi Rob

    Thanks for your thoughts. We are getting to a stage where we regularly have too much vinyl, banners and boards to trim within ever shortening deadlines. We can recruit more staff or pay the same or less on finance for a unit to allow higher productivity (may be better reliability and accuracy at the same time). The unit would allow us to introduce new products but that’s not the main reason at the moment but its good to have to help continue growing the business.

    Very good point about routing in what should be a clean production area.

    Has anyone ever come across i-echo tables?


  • George Neagu

    August 25, 2019 at 10:42 am

    Zund is superior compared to Esko in terms of software, functionality and usability. Clever design and easy to change multiple tools and blades without having to dismantle half of the gantry. It’s more versatile.
    But this is my opinion after using both.

    Zund is very expensive if breaks down but it’s very reliable machine and idiot-proof. As it becomes more popular, I believe parts will become available second hand or third party.

    Consumables are expensive if you buy from Zund but there are third party suppliers these days.

    I don’t recommend service contract, you won’t need it and it’s not worth it for what you get.

    No experience with other cutters but between a new Esko and an used Zund, I choose Zund.

  • Deleted User

    Deleted User
    August 29, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    Can’t comment on other flatbed cutters but not long ago purchased summa f series and for the money its best investment, made.

    What before I though of being a volume orders now the productivity in printing and finishing is going on so fast, that can’t get enough orders through to keep the full day occupied for the cutter with 3 printers running at the same time.

    Any questions about summa let me know


  • Bernard Gallagher Bernard Gallagher

    August 29, 2019 at 9:59 pm

    SDM are pushing the Summa at the minute I’m tempted to get a demo but I know I’ll prob end up investing [emoji85][emoji85] are they really that quick finishing?? We are currently struggling to keep up with deadlines because of volume. Getting experienced staff is hard & im reaching a point where space for staff is another issue!! How do you guys deal with the dust from cutting foamex to change to vinyl?

  • Deleted User

    Deleted User
    August 30, 2019 at 5:25 am


    I mainly purchased the Summa with the intention of cutting banners and vinyl, I do not route much into foamex don’t have that much orders on the uv printer as would want to have so for most orders on foamex or correx are usually straight cuts so the amount I do its always quicker to use steeltrak although apparently could cut correx with the double edge without the need of changing to a router unit.

    Foamex would create a lot debris, vacuum is quite good of sucking them up but there will be always some left and many users would recommend having a second vacuum next to the summa just to clean the bed after finishing cutting on foamex.

    You don’t actually cut foamex directly on the belt as seen on the photo as there is a secondary mat that comes on the roll which is I think 2 mm and you let that on the belt and then put the rigid material and route so any debris would actually be on that mat so when you swap to vinyl cutting you will take that mat off so most debris will fall anyway of the main conveyor belt taking that you have not vacuumed them. If there is no second vacuum to quickly vacume them up there is a function on summa axis to automatically use the built in router vacuum to clean the bed, and it will clean the bed up and down from left to right but its rather slow and if you plan on doing much foamex best is to just get a second vacuum and before swapping just give it a quick clean.

    To me getting summa was great decision, as I am a single person working so do not employ anybody else for help. you will cut quicker then you can print. I got 2 UV and one solvent printer and they can’t keep the summa working non stop, you get the times where summa will have to wait as there are no prints ready.

    Longest roll I think I cut is something over 30 meters of banner, so printed all as one batch loaded on the summa few minutes later all cut into single banners from roll, as soon as first banner is cut I take the banner and go with it to the welder to hem the edges, to cut the 30 meter would only take literally few minutes to cut and accuracy over that 30 meters is spot on and what best you can walk away as its doing it and do something else for these couple of minutes.

    Since I got the summa I almost never use a manual knife for cutting or a ruler anymore, I know its a lot of money, like in my case I had to add a 3 phase power nearly a grand to put it in in the place I needed then had to get onyx thrive another ££ and something nobody told me at the summa demo is to use a barcoding I had to purchase a barcoding license for goproduce summa which is ridiculously expensive if you think all it was just couple digits number to activate the function on the software.

    I don’t know how I could go back now being without the summa now, I would cry and won’t come in 😛 Whatever brand you would get I am sure all would make you happy and behave just as well, you pocket may not be so happy but I am sure regardless whether its summa, zund or esko all would make your life easier. Go produce in my case as far as it goes a software I did not actually needed much training on it already as it was self explanatory and you get videos on youtube as well which I watched every single one prior ordereding summa.

    Don’t cross summa of the list as its a good piece of kit in my opinion.

  • Bernard Gallagher Bernard Gallagher

    August 30, 2019 at 7:54 pm

    I think a visit to Sign UK will be needed now to see!! They sound great

  • Deleted User

    Deleted User
    August 30, 2019 at 8:26 pm

    Go for it have them produce a quote for you see what deal they can offer you, if you do decide to purchase drop me a PM and I will get you in touch with my guy who handled my sale and I got a cracking deal from him as they buy few of these at a time to get better discounts which they pass on to customers so they may have some offers now, who knows and you can compare both. If you do decide to go with a summa go with a best deal you can manage to get as at the end of the day the whole install planning, training, delivery and every thing else will get to one company that will handle it all regardless who the seller was. So a re-seller should be, I think, who you get the most out of not who you like the most, or closest:)

    For demo of course use the closest 😛

  • Andrew O Brien

    August 30, 2019 at 8:51 pm
    quote Bernard Gallagher:

    I think a visit to Sign UK will be needed now to see!! They sound great

    Forget Sign UK go to Fespa. Spend 2 days at the show. It’s great.

  • Bernard Gallagher Bernard Gallagher

    September 2, 2019 at 9:18 pm

    I have yet to be. Must get looking