The marketplace continually demands innovation and efficiency in all that we do. The software and systems we use to produce products also need to support continual innovation and growth. Working smarter is no longer just something to think about; working smarter is a key part to any successful company. So, what is the next step up from basic engraving software? There are a few answers to advanced engraving and cutting software.
Several advanced programs are available that give laser operators the tools they need to grow into new markets and applications. Two recommended programs for advancing from a basic layout program would be EngraveLab and Type3. Both packages feature a lot of training support, but most importantly they are designed for commercial engraving and cutting.
Let’s start by looking at an engraving application that can be difficult to handle with basic layout software. Serialization and bar coding are two important aspects to engraving industrial products with a laser system. Serializing is the process of engraving sequential numbers onto the product. The process starts by inserting a merge code in the area where the engraving is needed. In the case of small parts like dog tags, it would be possible to have a jig that holds 100 parts that each need a sequential number engraved on them. The software has a field to enter the desired beginning and ending serial numbers. The magic happens when the software generates the number and places it into the correct engraving position for all 100 parts.
Another common function for engraving where an advanced layout program excels is in the creation of control panels and especially creating dial graphics. A dial graphic is a series of small lines that look like lines on a car’s speedometer and represent that the dial has been rotated. Typically, these radial lines are positioned every 3 to 5 degrees. Advanced layout software has built-in features to easily produce the lines to be engraved in a variety of degrees, length, and thickness.
Is laser cutting an area you would like to excel in? Take advantage of a feature called nesting that these advanced programs have. Nesting is a powerful feature because it will automatically move and optimally rotate each vector on the layout. Material is optimized for minimal waste using this technique with the software, making sure the vector cutting graphics are as tightly nested next to each other as possible.
These advanced layout programs can perform basic engraving and cutting operations. The features discussed just scratch the surface of the tools that are available for laser shops to expand into new markets and become more efficient.
—Mike Fruciano, Coherent