Aspire Signs Case Study - SAGETECH MACHINERY

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Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Aspire Signs Case Study

Zapkut panel saw helps realise Signmaker's aspirations

Aspire Signs Press Release
Released 30th October 2013



While buying sheet materials in cut-to-size can be a pragmatic solution that works well enough for predictable and limited volumes of work, its limitations quickly become apparent. Those limitations present the growing signmaker with a key decision: how to manage the cutting of sheet materials for maximum efficiency and flexibility, while minimising costs.

Swindon, UK based Aspire Signs found their answer in Sagetech Ltd's Zapkut ZM16 moving column vertical panel saw.

Established three years ago, Aspire Signs provides a wide range of interior, exterior and vehicular signage. The company has secured diverse clients, ranging from solo tradesmen through to multi-million pound businesses.

Restrictions to growth

As Aspire Signs grew, it quickly became clear to Director Ollie Stobbs that buying sheet materials in cut to the required sizes, while apparently the obvious approach, was restricting the company's ability to capitalise on many sales opportunities. It was also leading to the wasting of materials which if used, could contribute to the growing company's bottom-line profits.

"To respond to rush orders, we needed to be able to stock sheet materials and cut them on site," Ollie recalled. "Also, I wanted to be able to make use of off cuts: they were basically profit going in the bin."

Additionally, while 'free' cut-to-size services are currently widespread as a result of fierce competition among signmaking sheet material manufacturers, these offers are likely to dry up as the economy recovers and demand rises. As a result increasing numbers of signmakers are looking to bring cutting in house.

Knowing he needed a vertical panel saw, Ollie's challenge was one of prices. In common with many small businesses, he had limited budget to work with and, as he noted, most vertical panel saws fell into the "Stupid money" pigeon-hole.

The solution – at the right price

The breakthrough came when Ollie saw an article in the sign press telling the story of how a Zapkut ZM panel saw had enabled another signmaker to break through the growth ceiling imposed by buying materials in cut to size (here).

Having talked through the ZM's capabilities with Sagetech and seen a machine in action, Ollie was impressed. "Sagetech were really helpful, and it was obvious that the ZM would do everything we needed. On top of that, the price was excellent," he enthused.

A couple of years on, Ollie remains pleased with the ZM16. "It's absolutely superb – you can't beat it," he said. "It's really compact, sitting out of the way in the corner. It's hassle-free, produces very little dust and the cut finish is excellent. The variable speed control is really useful for different materials."

Versatile and easy

Aspire Signs' Zapkut ZM16 finds its primary use in cutting Dibond and Acrylic, as well as some MDF and Foamex – ZM saws will also cut Corex, solid aluminium sheet and plywood, among other materials.

The frustration arising from having sheet materials in stock but no viable way to cut them in order to respond to 'rush' orders has gone: "It's a two minute, one man job," Ollie commented. "Slide the sheet onto the machine – vertical sheet handling is a lot easier than horizontal – set the blade for the dimensions required, and cut. Done. It's so much easier and makes us so much more flexible."

How would Ollie sum up the Zapkut ZM16? "It's great! It was easy to set up and install, it's simple and quick to use, the measurement scales are accurate and it's very compact, especially taking into account the sheet sizes it will cut."


The Zapkut ZM16 moving column vertical panel saw is part of Sagetech's extensive range, including the Zapkut ZK portable panel saw family and the heavier-duty Koolkut machines. The range covers applications from occasional cutting through to mid/heavy industrial use, catering for all popular signmaking and woodworking sheet sizes from 8' x 4' (2.4m x 1.2m) to 3.1m x 2.1m. Unlike many 'guillotine' cutters, Sagetech's saws cut horizontally as well as vertically, so require no extra headroom to cut the full length of even those 3m x 2m sheets.

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