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Need Help Suggestions New Plotter - FC9000 or something else?

Discussion in 'Graphtec' started by DSGI, Nov 3, 2019.

  1. DSGI

    DSGI Member

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    Oct 18, 2010
    Kent, WA
    Hello All -

    I currently have an FC8600 that we've had for about 5 years. We purchased it from a company online (US Cutter) and the support has been non-existant (which I kinda expected from them, they are pretty much just an online company, not a distributor with local support, etc.). We've never had great quality cutting from the plotter, mainly it's been registration issues. I don't know if that's the plotter OR the fact we've never had accurate training on the machine. We currently use Caldera RIP to generate cut files and most of the time it works well enough, but I do see quite a bit of skew in our cuts (we normally do a stroke on cut graphics of 9 pt. since that is 1/8 in. and use that as bleed - often times we still have some white showing so we are more than a 1/8 in. off with our plotter cuts).

    Should I look at investing in the FC9000, or consider another brand of plotter? 99% of our work is print to cut (we never stock colored vinyl - print everything on 3M Envision Wrap vinyl or 40C, we also use 3M 55 Series and 3M 7725 for white and black cut vinyl). We are starting to do some reflective vinyl, but that is still a small percentage of our work (5% maybe).

    If we were to stick with a GraphTec plotter, is there a good company in Seattle, WA that anyone recommends for setup and training? We hired Denco Sales to come in and do training for like $185.00 an hour and after about 30 minutes I was like "you don't know how to use this machine any better than we do..."

    Currently, we are printing/plotting 20,000.00 sq. ft. of window cling this week, but on average we run the plotter, 1000 - 2000 sq. ft. a day (so this week is a little larger volume).

    Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
     
  2. DSGI

    DSGI Member

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    Oct 18, 2010
    Kent, WA
    I should add, I'm not really concerned about price, out top priority is the quality of equipment.

    Thanks!
     
  3. ikarasu

    ikarasu Very Active Member

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    Port Coquitlam, bc
    Why are you upgrading, are you looking for more accurateness or is your 8600 broken? We've been using an 8000 for 8-10 years and it's still cutting perfectly fine.

    Are you using a latex printer? if you have heat up too high the media will distort and cause problems with the cutting. If you're using a latex... I recommend a summa as it can read the bowing/distortion better th an graphtec...at least on the older models, I havent tried the newer.


    The FC9000 has a take up reel which looks good. So I'd go with that. Grimco has been great for us and they have a seattle location... I'm sure their techs could train you guys pretty quickly.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. SameDay Signs

    SameDay Signs Member

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    If your doing that much you nuts not to be purchasing a new top end summa...speed is great accuracy is unmatched more jmportantly the customer service is great
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. DSGI

    DSGI Member

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    Oct 18, 2010
    Kent, WA

    Originally I was considering just adding a second FC8600 since I want more speed as our volume is growing and I prefer to have the same machine if possible, but I now see the 9000 is out and in the video on the GraphTec website it talks about 25% better scanning of the marks (which we have a lot of problems with). Also, we have the plotter near one of our 126 in. RTR printers and about 2 months ago the basket was broken when one of our staff dropped a roll of 13 oz. banner on the front part of the basket (the machine was not damaged otherwise, and we've had cutting issues the whole time we've had the machine), so the two poles that hold the basket part are bent down and not moveable in/out. The machine still works but figured it might be time to buy a new one and it's a small investment (our big UV printers are over $150,000.00 when we buy one of them, so for 10 -15K for the plotter it's almost nothing).

    As far as Grimco, they are very limited in the Seattle Office, but since they are such a big company one of their techs most likely could get us up and running. I like to have a local tech though if possible, and I know that Grimco locally isn't going to have good support staff in the Puget Sound area.
     
  6. DSGI

    DSGI Member

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    Kent, WA
    I did look at the Summa cutters, they look much more robust. I also heard that they were located in Seattle (but looking at their website it no longer shows a Seattle, WA address - did they get bought out or something?). Which Summa cutter would you recommend? What is the price point on the Summas compared to the GraphTec FC9000, do you know?
     
  7. ikarasu

    ikarasu Very Active Member

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    There's a ton of graphtec videos online... I'd watch those, it's how I learned.

    What issues are you having with it in particular? Is the cutting off... Or is it just a pain to get it to read the marks? It could be an easy fix.

    The new graphtec has a nice barcode system... It'll read the barcode and automatically grab the cut file and cut. That and the take up... If you're doing 2-3 rolls of vinyl a day I'd definately go with the graphtec. From what I've read and seen on my last day of research the graphtec take up system is better. I've personally.nwver had issues with the cutting on it... But I learned how to do my own arms sensor adjust, how to change the sensitivity, etc.

    I'd suggest you do a factory reset so everything's back to default. Print the arms offset pattern and do that... And see if that fixes the issues you've been having.

    Summas aren't bad. But if you can't figure out the graphtec... Odds are you'll have the same problems, but from Beginning on the summa.

    They also print and use different marks. So you'd have to print a roll using graphtec marks and a roll using summa marks to utilize both machines at once. Not really an issue, just an inconvenience!

    If you want to message me whatever specific problems your having I can see if I can help. There's a few tips and tricks out there that make your life a lot easier.


    I can bet this post is going to be people swearing by either summa or graphtec and hating the other. I'm impartial because I love playing with new tools I know the graphtec.more than I know the summa, but again... Both are considered the best cutters in the industry, you can't go wrong with either.

    Only suggestion is whether you get the new graphtec, or.the be summa... Pay extra and get the take up system. If you do 2-3 rolls a day it'll make your life a hell of a lot easier.
     
  8. SameDay Signs

    SameDay Signs Member

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    Here is my suggestion as a non flatbed plotter there is really nothing even comparable w quality, accurqcy and speed is great

    Below is screenshot what i would suggest though
     

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. CL Visual

    CL Visual Member

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    Copiague, NY
    I swtiched from the FC8600 over to summa S2t160 with opas cam. I do mainly print and cut. This machine has saved us about 20 hours a week of useless labor. The take up feature is really great. The FC9000 now has the takeup but I would give it a few months so you're not the test dummy for their machine. Let them work the kinks out. The one drawback of the summa is that you need to have a computer within 10 feet of the plotter because the camera uses USB only. I can still cut from anywhere but the camera program needs to be hooked up to comp nearby. Supposedly the FC9000 doesn't need that. Something to be aware of.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. We have an 8600 and a summa t1400 tangential cutter side by side. No one wants to use the 8600 anymore because the summa is easier to use and cuts better. Unfair comparison I know as the 8600 is just a drag cutter, but still. If you are doing print cut and there is a lot of detail, I would recommend the tangential cutter. But if and when the head goes it will cost ya to fix it!

    As for the restrictions on distance for the Summa you can easily get around that by using a network to USB switch. We run ours off of one.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Robert Gruner

    Robert Gruner Member

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    Mar 6, 2012
    houston tx
    DSGI,

    The new Graphtec FC-9000 drag knife series appears to be a very well built cutter. They have beefed up the frame and added bar code reader. They offer an optional and extremely pricey automatic take-up roller for their 54" cutter for $2400 and and an optional take-up roller for their 64" cutter for $2700. In addition, Graphtec has increased their respective MSRP.

    The Summa S2T tangential knife series might be a better solution for your specific application. Summa offers optional automatic take-up rollers for around $1500. I believe you will find most end users who have experienced owning both the Graphtec drag knife cutter and the Summa tangential knife cutter will tell you that tangential knife cutters are superior. I believe Summa is still running a Print United show special on their roll cutters through the end of the month. Summa S2T cutters can be purchased for the S2D cutter price. The net effect of this offer allows end users to purchase the Summa S2T cutter for LESS than the new Graphtec FC9000.

    If you desire a local reseller in Seattle, call Phil Johnson at Airmark. They handle both Summa and Graphtec and have excellent service.

    Good cutting.

    Bob Gruner
     
  12. eahicks

    eahicks Magna Cum Laude - School of Hard Knocks

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    We did the same, but opted out on the cam. Do you think from your experience so far the cam is worth it? I heard it's just a tiny bit faster with it, and we are having pretty good results so far. I've had a few really long prints that seemed to have gone off track and ruined the prints. Just have to slow it down when doing long runs.
     
  13. TomK

    TomK Member

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    Summa all the way, we got out of a FC8600 and moved to two Summa cutters and never looked back.
     
  14. Bly

    Bly Very Active Member

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    The camera is super fast.
    If you do a lot of print/cut it will save a lot of time.
    The only proviso is it won't work over ethernet - you have to use a USB cable.
     
  15. DSGI

    DSGI Member

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    Oct 18, 2010
    Kent, WA
    We purchased a new Summa S2 T160 with OPOS camera yesterday from Airmark. They will be installing the system today.

    During the demo I did the camera was blazing fast at scanning the marks, much faster and more accurate than the S2 T160 without the camera, in fact the S2 T160 without the camera couldn't find the dots on a frosted/clear film we are printing on.

    ----

    Once we get it up and running I'll let everyone know how it compares to the FC8600 (if it works well, I'll get a second Summa and get rid of the FC8600).
     
    • Like Like x 3
  16. greysquirrel

    greysquirrel Member

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    Aug 13, 2015
    West Berlin, NJ
    SPEND THE EXTRA MONEY ON A SUMMA...BETTER TECH SUPPORT. SORRY IM ON THE EAST COAST, ITS TECH SUPPORT COMES FROM CALIFORNIA. YOU CANNOT CALL ANYONE. must email...they are asian...once the translation happens they will email back an answer within an 8 hour window...summa is represented and supported by most dealers....

    on the equipment side as well...the summa will always out perform...camera is quick and accurate and the tangential blade is super quick.
     
  17. TomK

    TomK Member

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    Virginia
    BETTER LATE ThEn nEvEr I GueSS. :D
     
  18. night eagle

    night eagle Active Member

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    If you already know the graphtec system...going to another graphtec will not cost you down time while learning a new cutter. They all work the same. They say summa is a better cutter but I’ve tried both and prefer the graphtec.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  19. easystickerco

    easystickerco New Member

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    I went with Graphtec cause the "Cutting Master" software plug-in works on both Win/Mac versions of Ai. I did get the FC9000-140 with auto take up and love it!. I can print multiple files with Barcode, save the cut files onto a memory stick. Once I'm done laminating I load the roll on the cutter, tape to take up, let the Graphtec take over. It will read bar code, load the file on memory stick and continuously cut every job after on the roll.
    Though my Graphtec isn't true tangential, I've never had anyone complain about the cut quality.

    Both Summa & Graphtec are awesome cutters!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  20. jpescobar

    jpescobar Member

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    Jun 5, 2016
    Tunisia
    I know it's off-topic but Mutoh launched a new cutting plotter series called ValueCut 2.
    I'm considering to buy one since I can't afford Summa and Graphtec plotters.

    https://mutoh.com/products/valuecut-2/
     
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