Me & My: Zünd G3 3XL


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Jul 13, 2023

Me & My: Zünd G3 3XL

Simon Eccles Friday, May 5, 2023

Simon Eccles Friday, May 5, 2023

Founded 25 years ago in Kettering, Northants, Artisan Signs is a family-run, large-format print and signage company that works with a broad range of clients, taking in large retail, marketing and exhibition agencies through to local businesses and organisations.

Equipment investments in recent years have helped it to expand into textile soft signage and exhibition stands. The latest of these was a 3.2x3.2m Zünd G3 cutting table that can handle the largest formats output by the company's roll-fed and flatbed printers. The order was placed following the Sign & Digital show in 2022.

"Throughout our history, we have developed from a traditional signmaker into a leading large-format printer," says MD Graham Davey. "Over the past few years we have also expanded into delivering full custom-built exhibition stands for a handful of clients and are keen to grow this arm of the business moving forward."

Artisan Signs was set up by Davey and his father, Geoffrey, in 1998. After Geoffrey retired in 2007, it was run by Graham and his wife, Alison. In 2021, their son Jake joined as business development manager.

Artisan's services range from interior and exterior signs printed on vinyl, banner material, UV-cured flatbed printing directly to rigid media and boards, soft signage on textiles including stretch materials for light boxes, precision-cut lettering and vehicle graphics. Handling everything from design through to printing, finishing and installation means the company has a respectable range of equipment.

Sustainability is an important factor in its operations, as Alison Davey told Printweek in 2021: "We’ve been working on our own sustainability and practising what we preach, but it is becoming more and more important to our clients, as it should.

"Pricing on sustainable products has improved over the past decade, so making these vital changes is much more accessible and people are really realising how necessary it is to focus on the environment," she added.

Artisan's latest Zünd cutting table is a G3 3XL-3200 model, which replaced a previous 1.8m-wide Zünd model that was 18 years old. The new Zünd is large enough to handle media printed on Artisan's 3.2m-wide Mimaki roll-fed inkjet, as well as rigid media printed on its 3.0x2.5m Canon Arizona 550XT flatbed UV printer. There's also a 1.6m HP Latex 560 in Artisan's line-up.

Other finishing kit includes a full sewing studio and a comprehensive array of finishing equipment, including laminators, laser cutting, mounting tables, vinyl plotter, heat bending and more.

What is the new Zünd used for?

"The Zünd is responsible for trimming and cutting to shape almost everything we produce," says Davey. "The extensive range of tooling we specified, as well as the three tool modules, one of which was the dedicated router unit, gives us the capability to quickly switch between cutting tools but also switch the media we are cutting without having to stop the machine and change tools out every time there's a media change.

"We do also have a lasercutter, which is great for quickly producing intricate details and handling additional work while the Zünd is busy," he adds.

Why choose that model?

"We have been a Zünd customer for 18 years and our previous machine didn't put a foot wrong the whole time we had it," says Davey. "The driving factor for upgrading was to increase the cutting width and also that due to the age of our previous machine, it was soon to become unsupported.

"We did consider other options such as the Kongsberg unit but, ultimately, our relationship with Zünd and the reliability of the equipment is what swayed us. Our previous machine was 1.6m wide, which meant we were handcutting our fabric and banner work that came off our 3.2m Mimaki. We produce a lot of fabric and banners for exhibition clients, and cutting by hand was obviously quite time-consuming. The new machine has a cutting area of 3.2m by 3.2m and we optioned an additional 1.6m bed extension, as well as the roll feed, which has dramatically reduced the time involved in trimming our wider graphics."

Artisan also specified the optional 1kW router, as well as a full range of tools suited to almost any material they can print onto. "This means, whether it's Dibond, foamex, acrylic, card or any other rigid or rolled material, we can cut it to any size or shape required."

What's a Zünd G3?

Swiss cutting table maker Zünd is a family- owned business founded in 1984. It bought its established UK agent in 2017 and runs it today as Zünd UK Limited in St Albans. Its current range of tables include the workhorse G3 modular range, originally launched in 2008 and updated ever since.

The G3 is available in a choice of five widths from 1.33m to 3.2m, with a choice of lengths adding up to 11 variations. The 3XL model with 3.2x3.2m bed used by Artisan Signs is the largest on offer. Zünd offers a total of 26 tools for the head, with three loaded at any time – it's possible to operate two tools simultaneously and synchronously on the same job (for example, cutting out two items at once from a multi-up job). It can process materials up to a thickness of 110mm.

The bed's vacuum area is divided into zones, which can be switched on and off individually across the width of the machine. Instead of a conventional pump, a vacuum turbine is fitted, which is quieter and needs a lot less electricity.

Zünd says it designs its machines for a lifetime of at least 15 years, so makes provision for updates as time goes on and as a user's needs may change. The control workstation has a flat screen with keyboard and mouse running Zünd's Cut Center software, plus a touchpad controller, by the side of the cutter. Input can be from suitable large-format Rip-workflows with provision for cutting layers. A handheld barcode reader can detect job references printed on sheets that are used to set up the job. Manually placed sheets are aligned by positioning a laser spot over registration marks. Alternatively, a head-mounted colour camera can be fitted to detect the marks. The head can detect the surface automatically for greater accuracy on the partial-thickness cuts made by the router and v-groove heads.

How did the installation go?

"The installation was smooth and uneventful," says Davey. "Zünd arranged for the removal of our old machine and the installation of the new one during the same week. Within a couple of days we were up and running, with full training for the production team as well."

How do the operators find it? "We were already very familiar with the capabilities of the Zünd from our previous machine, but this one is a real step up in terms of speed and how user friendly it is," Davey says. "It has allowed us to cut down production lead times as well as offer products cut to custom shapes at a much larger size. As a result we have been able to increase our production capacity and facilitate further growth of the company."

How about support from the manufacturer? "The service from Zünd has been great throughout, we have only had one minor issue since installation, but the engineers were out first thing the next morning and had us back up and running within the day."

So, would he recommend the G3 to others? "Absolutely. If anything, looking back, we could have taken the step sooner!"


Bed size 3.21x3.2m

Max material width 3.49m

Max speed X-Y axis 1.4m/sec

Max acceleration X-Y axis 9.3m/sec

Beam height 30/60/120mm

Max media thickness 110mm

Repeatability ±0.03mm

Footprint 4.5x4.1m (with workstation but not table extension)

Weight 1,610kg

Contact Zünd UK 01727 833 003


Artisan Signs is a family-run, large-format print and signage business that celebrated 25 years in business in September 2022. Starting from roots in traditional signage and vinyl graphics, Artisan has grown into a large-format print and exhibition graphics specialist, working with a wide range of clients from local businesses through to international event organisers and retail designers. It employs 12 people at its 700sqm site in Kettering. The company operates a fleet of wide-format printers from Canon, Mimaki and HP that cover flatbed and roll-to-roll printing up to 3.2m wide. A comprehensive range of pre-press, production and finishing equipment, combined with mature processes, allows Artisan to offer an end-to-end service with excellent results.

What has it brought to the business?

Artisan Signs’ latest Zünd G3 cutter is a 3.2x.3.2m model that replaced an earlier 1.6m-wide Zünd. It can handle all the formats that the printers output, including its 3.2m-wide Mimaki UV-LED printer that was installed for textile work. It is also allowing the company to offer 3D routing work, as well as cutting flat materials up to 110mm thick.

Founded 25 years ago in Kettering, Northants, Artisan Signs is a family-run, large-format print and signage company that works with a broad range of clients, taking in large retail, marketing and exhibition agencies through to local businesses and organisations. What is the new Zünd used for? Why choose that model? What's a Zünd G3? How did the installation go? SPECIFICATIONS Bed size Max material width Max speed X-Y axis Max acceleration X-Y axis Beam height Max media thickness Repeatability Footprint Weight Contact COMPANY PROFILE What has it brought to the business?