Blog_Graphtec_FC8600_header_300x149Continuing our 'New and Improved' products theme, this week we take a look at the Graphtec FC8600 Pro Series vinyl cutters. The FC8600 is a slight modification of the FC8000 series. Graphtec's FC series cutters have always been the cream of the crop, offering class-leading speed, power, and precision backed up by remarkable reliability. They are truly amazing machines. The FC8600 cutters offers the same excellence as the FC8000, with a few upgrades and modifications. A Madison Avenue man might say they offer the same great taste, now with 600 more grams of Vitamin G: more Graphtec Goodness! Where does the extra Vitamin Graphtec come from and what can it do for your signs and graphics business?

Same Reliable Graphtec Vinyl Cutter Features

As noted, the FC8000 was already an outstanding vinyl cutter. It was engineered to very high standard based on Graphtec's 30+ years of experience manufacturing plotters and cutters. It would take more space than we have here to list all its virtues, but in terms of bread and butter benefits to sign makers, here are the top features.
  • Digitally controlled drive motors produce excellent tracking, up to 50 feet.
  • Maximum cutting speed of 58 inches/second supports high volume production.
  • Maximum 600 grams of cutting force make the FC8000/8600s equal to any material used in the sign industry.
  • Graphtec's tangential emulation activates a user- adjustable overcut that produces precisely cut corners, even on intricate designs in thick media. Tangential emulation produces the same benefits as tangential blade control, without the drawbacks of slower speed, added cost, and lifting edges, also known as "vinyl ears"
  • Tool Soft Landing Intelligence measures the surface of media loaded to allow the cutting head to move over the media in precise paths that eliminate wasted vertical motion. Users can also control the force of the initial blade contact on the media. This feature increases throughput and takes the frustration out of cutting thin, sensitive materials like automotive window tint film.
  • This All of this precision and versatility is worthless if it doesn't show up for work every day. Many sign makers literally run their Graphtec FC cutters around the clock. Bullet proof reliability is built-in.

New features Added to the Graphtec FC8600 Vinyl Cutter

With all that excellence already baked in, how did Graphtec make the new product even better? Where does the added Vitamin G come from? The FC8600 comes with enhanced software, firmware, and connectivity.
Fig 1: A wide variety of ready-to-use shapes is just one of the surprising features in Graphtec Studio software Fig 1: A wide variety of ready-to-use shapes is just one of the surprising features in Graphtec Studio software
• Graphtec Studio software. For those who are starting with no graphic design software, The FC8600 is now has a more user-friendly proposition. Graphtec Studio is the design application for those who don't already have Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW. It's not quite as extensive as either of those vector design titans, but it's easier to learn and covers the basic signmaking functions. Graphtec Studio offers a very good assortment of sign design tools, including bitmap tracing, text and shape tools, welding and more. For CorelDRAW and Illustrator users, the Cutting Master 3 plug-in remains and offers some nice features of its own including segmented registration marks for extra long print and cut jobs. Cutting Master 3 works with CorelDRAW X4/5/6, Illustrator CS4/5/6 and is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8 as well as Mac OS 10.5-10.8. • The Ethernet option is no longer an option. Usually when someone tells you something is not an option, it's bad news. Not in this case. Now the Ethernet port is built in to every FC8600 plotter, supplementing the USB and serial connectivity options. This supports the use of FC8600 cutters as network devices. Designers can send jobs to the plotters without having their work stations physically connected to the cutters. Designers can even select a cutter from the network based on its current condition settings. This feature is especially helpful for growing companies whose business volume requires the use of several cutters. The network option supports more flexible workforce and production management.
Fig 2: The ARMS 5.0 firmware expands the usable cutting area and reduces media waste. Fig 2: The ARMS 5.0 firmware expands the usable cutting area and reduces media waste.
• ARMS 5.0. Graphtec's Advanced Registration Mark Sensor allows the cutter to be used to die or contour cut digitally printed graphics. FC Series cutters are used in conjunction with all kinds of large format printers including MUTOH and HP. The ARMS 5.0 firmware increases its user friendliness in several ways. The mark scanning process is now automated so you don't have to position the blade over the first registration mark. The plotter searches in a wider area and finds the first mark pretty much on its own. Another major improvement involves the cutting area. Now the cutter can go beyond the area defined by the registration marks. This expands the usable imaging area and reduces media waste. There is also a new Copy mode in the ARMS firmware. In sheet mode, copies of printed sheets can be contour cut without going back to the software. In roll mode, rows of decals can be cut, then cut off using the cross-cut function. And the mark detection process has been simplified so that scanning is 30% faster. They also made it more flexible in detecting marks on various media. ARMS 5.0 can now read blue marks on white vinyl or white marks on black vinyl. There are advancements in other areas including a faster perf-cut method and automatic paneling. If we've whetted your appetite, and you want the full story of the FC8600 in delicious detail, please click here for a comprehensive presentation, including full specifications and competitive analysis. If you've been putting off replacing your old cutter, Graphtec has made a powerful argument to stop procrastinating. You get all the outstanding features that have made Graphtec the most respected name in vinyl cutters, plus some cool new ones that will just make our life a little easier. You get the same outstanding sign making equipment, fortified with 600% more Vitamin G! Your sign shop will be bursting with Graphtec goodness; otherwise known as productivity and profit. And it's got a cool blue racing stripe! If your mouth is watering and you've just got to have one right now, click here to view the full range of cutter sizes and package options. You might want to order two.