Glenart College revolutionizes project work with Trotec laser.

The R400 has revolutionised the way Glenart College teaches its engineering course. The speed and power of the laser system saves students between 2 and 3 hours of work for simple work processes and broadens the range of materials students can use.


Student project work using varied materials


Arlow, Republic of Ireland

Laser machine

R400 100 watt laser cutter

A historical institution

For over 100 years Glenart College has been educating students in Arlow, Republic of Ireland. The institution now boasts the best second-level facilities in the local area and provides a wide range of curricular and extracurricular activities to help students become critical thinkers and problem solvers with transferable skills for their future careers.

Bringing a cutting edge to project work

With dedicated classrooms for Graphics, DCG, Technology, Woodwork and Engineering, Glenart College emphasises practical project work with a range of tools such as welding, CNC routing, 3D printing and laser cutters available for student use.
Before the university had invested in a laser cutter, Glenart students spent the majority of their time manually processing project work, with hand tools and welding, which didn’t allow much time for design work. This restricted the complexity of their designs and the materials students could work with.
Laser cutting in education was uncommon in the Republic of Ireland for many years unlike in the UK, but the Department of Education noticed the rise in prominence of laser cutters and ran an initiative to ensure each secondary school would have at least one laser cutter. Glenart College first began considering integrating a laser cutter into its technology department in 2019 as a means to make project work more efficient for students. Philip Robinson, teacher in engineering, had previously taught in England for many years where laser technology was commonplace and had experience with different laser systems.
Having recently moved back to Ireland, Philip was keen for the team at Glenart to take advantage of the government initiative and began to research laser systems with a similar specification to what he had previously worked with. Philip discovered Trotec’s R400 laser cutter during his research, and having previously used the Rayjet 50 in a former role, he was already familiar with the quality and reliability of Trotec systems. With Covid-19 lockdowns in place across the country, Trotec’s sales manager for Ireland provided Philip with a range of content about the system, including a series of application videos about what was possible on varied materials.
Impressed with the possibilities that the R400 offered, coupled with the 100-watt CO2 laser power and the larger bed size, Glenart College decided to invest in an R400 laser cutter which was installed in March 2021.

Revolutionising the education process

The R400 has revolutionised the way Glenart College teaches its engineering course. The speed and power of the laser system saves between 2 and 3 hours of work for simple processes such as hole cutting. This frees students to spend more time in the design process of their project, while the integration of the system as a means of CAD/CAM allows the college to move away from exclusive metal work into more varied materials.
With the introduction of the laser system, Glenart has added a laser cutting module to the curriculum. This module enables students to create a wide range of applications not specific to engineering, including keyrings and lightboxes to name some. A project to create family portraits using wood was especially popular with the students, who each created a photo-engraved family portrait.  

Reflecting on the purchase of the laser, Philip and the engineering team are fully confident in their decision. The pre and after-sales support given by Trotec’s area manager has been a great help, including additional training after the installation. For the 9 months of the school term, the laser is consistently used by students and staff, and during busy periods, such as exam season, the R400 is in non-stop action from 8:30 am – 4:00 pm. Philip regularly maintains the laser to ensure it is in optimal working condition and ready for the students to use.
Looking to the future, Philip says the woodworking team, who periodically use the R400 for project work, will be the next department to invest in a laser cutter. 

“The R400 has been an invaluable investment for Glenart College. The laser cutter is exactly what we needed, as it allows students to achieve an industry-standard quality for their project work and gives them transferable skills for their careers.”

Philip Robinson
Engineering teacher

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