Initially this combination of tools allowed the team to fulfil a diverse range of client orders, however, Ger was keen to broaden the scope of the work and production capabilities. Having had extensive experience with laser cutters during his career, Ger knew that the addition of the technology would not only work well in combination with the other equipment in the studio, but that it would also allow the team to achieve a superior finish to their products compared to alternative methods.
Keen to add a laser cutter to the business, Ger booked a demonstration at Trotec's Dublin showroom. Ger said "It became apparent that Trotec's market leading reputation was reflected in both the quality of the machines and the service provided by staff during the demonstration". Following the demonstration, Ger purchased an R500 laser cutter which was installed in April 2019.
Since the R500 was first installed, Artfx Limited has seen a 20% rise in productivity. The addition of the laser has been a turning point for the company, having altered the way they approach projects. With the laser cutter they can now achieve a superior level of precision and speed when processing materials, as well as being more economical because the laser is more accurate, resulting in less wasted materials. The laser has also opened new creative avenues to Artfx Limited, offering the designers and model makers more time to develop their ideas and maximise the creative potential of each project.
The laser cutter has been used for a multitude of applications, including creating stencils and 3D shapes for vacforming over, making base profiles for props and much more. Due to the range of projects the laser is used for, it is regarded by the team as an important design tool rather than a simple cutting machine. Some of the stand out projects produced using the laser include a float for Dublin Pride 2019 and a 4m x 8m map of Dublin made from mirrored acrylic for the national stage at the Abbey Theatre.
To capitalise on the success that Artfx Limited has achieved during the first year of laser ownership, Ger invested in a second Trotec laser, this time the Speedy 360 laser engraving machine, which was installed in February 2020. The Speedy is used in tandem with the R500 to produce different parts of projects. The speed, accuracy, finesse and agility of the Speedy 360 allows the team to create highly detailed cutting and engraving jobs, while the R500 provides a reliable workhorse to cut the larger elements of projects, including templates and stencils. The use of machines in tandem has further boosted productivity for Artfx Limited with a smoother workflow, allowing the team to continuously work with the lasers.
Ger has particularly praised the support he has received from Trotec, especially the Ireland area manager who was professional throughout the buying process and beyond, ensuring that Ger received the advice needed to make the best decision for his business. Aside from the cutting quality and the customer service, Ger has found Trotec's laser software a significant improvement from those which he has previous experience with, allowing quick set-up times and the user to maximise laser processing time.