Since 1996, Pathfinder has been dedicated to the continual development and improvement of automatic knife cutting technology for flexible and semi rigid materials. The Sewn goods industry serviced by Pathfinder include: apparel, furniture, automotive, home furnishings, personal accessories, canvas products, and inflatables. The Industrial sector serviced by Pathfinder include: aerospace, transportation interiors, HVAC, Military, packaging and signage.
Pathfinder has been responsible for significant milestones and development of automatic knife cutting technology.
Some of these developments and world firsts can be seen in the following example:
Digital Variable Vacuum as standard equipment feature, Vacuum Economizer®:
Most of the power consumed within an automatic knife cutting machine is in generating vacuum required to hold material during the cutting process. By comparison, all other machine movements and tasks consume very little power. Pathfinder's VacuumEconomiser® is designed to reduce the vacuum when not required and therefore power consumption. Digital variable vacuum control contributes further towards minimizing power consumption in two (2) ways: (1) Power consumption during the cutting process- Without digital variable vacuum the operator will be limited to pre-defined vacuum levels that are not optimized. In most situations either too much or too little vacuum will be generated resulting in poor cut quality/productivity and unnecessary power consumption. (2) Power consumption at power on and during transition- Without digital variable vacuum the amount of power required to turn on the vacuum and to transition between vacuum levels is significantly higher resulting in a higher power costs and mechanical wear and tear.
Pathfinder has been offering power savings with the Vacuum Economizer® as a standard feature since 1997.
Increase your profitability.
Ergonomic single user interface (PathWorks®):
Pathfinder's cutting technology (1997) was the first machine of its kind to incorporate a single digital user interface where every task is performed on screen using graphical icons. Even today, most cutting systems incorporate additional control panels and knobs to be used by the operators. Some systems still maintain an operator computer console separated from the cutting system and in some cases the operator faces away from the work in progress and the cutting system.
The single user interface has been proven in production and has been designed to reduce operator fatigue, increase productivity and reduce operator training. It is the ultimate in ergonomics.
QuickDraw® Knife Sharpening:
The QuickDraw® knife sharpening system was invented by Pathfinder and has major advantages not found in any other sharpening system.
Our competitor's sharpening systems have a sharpening stone or band that is driven by a motor via couplings, making contact with the knife mechanically. The sharpening sequence always occurs when the knife is out of the fabric taking time away from cutting.
Additionally, these systems have a lot of wear and tear moving parts requiring regular maintenance, adjustment and parts replacement.
Pathfinder's patented QuickDraw® sharpening system sharpens the knife perfectly and equally on both sides with no moving parts aside from the diamond stone. There are typically no adjustments required for the life of the machine with virtually no maintenance required. In addition to this, the QuickDraw® sharpening system does not take away from the cutting time/productivity during the sharpening cycle.
QuickDraw® = greater productivity, no maintenance, no adjustments, no parts replacement = Increase your profitability.
Synchronised Parts Identification-Offload Display/Offload printer:
Many manufacturers require cut parts to be identified as they are removed from the automatic cutting system offload area. Whether it is a size range, bundle ID, Kit ID or order number it is crucial to ensure parts are correctly transferred for the next process.
Pathfinder pioneered the Offload Display (OFD) and Offload Printer (OFP) system.
The OFD enables parts to be identified via a synchronised offload screen by text or by colour offering additional information as required related to the work in progress.
The OFP generates parts labels automatically synchronized with the cut parts delivered to the operator. Labels are configurable to suit customer's specific requirements.
In some applications manufacturers pre-print the full size marker/nest and this is laid on top of the material prior to cutting for the purpose of piece identification. This process has significant costs otherwise eliminated by Pathfinders OFD and OFP innovation.
OFD/OFP = Reduced error, eliminate printed paper consumable cost, eliminate reliance on wide format printer, increase productivity = Increase profitability.
Piezo Ink-jet printing:
Pathfinder first release direct piezo ink-jet printing as an option within the K-series cutting system in 1999. The piezo print head was mounted within the cutting head- technology was developed by Pathfinder for manufacturer's that required non-contact high speed printing directly on the cut part.
Mx390 wide format-High-Ply cutting:
For special applications where material widths can reach 3900mm (153 inches), Pathfinder developed the Mx390. The Mx390 is considered to be the world most powerful cutting system capable of cutting material widths up to 3900mm at a cutting height up to 100mm under compression. Total cutting area compressive down force can reach a massive 14,000 Kgs.