Edward Mathias
& Company

01928 739799

 01928 739191 info@edwardmathias.com

Plotter Blade Life

QUESTION:-  How long should a blade last?

ANSWER:-    How long is a piece of string?


PLOTTER BLADE LIFE IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PREDICT

Only a fool would try.


THE LIFE OF A BLADE IS AFFECTED BY NUMEROUS FACTORS

Very few of these factors are in the control of the manufacturer.

Almost all are in the control of the user.


If it helps you may assume that most of the better quality plotter blades are likely to last months or years dependent on how they are used and what they cut.

see -  Blade Care

A more appropriate question would be

WHEN SHOULD A BLADE BE CHANGED?


YOU COULD CHANGE IT WHEN YOU CANNOT MAKE IT CUT

But that would rarely occur because most modern plotters have sufficient force to cut with a rusty nail - albeit badly - and long before the blade would fail to cut it would be cutting horribly.


SO WHEN SHOULD IT BE CHANGED?


When the QUALITY of the cut is no longer acceptable.


But How long will it last?

“I have seen a blade advertised as a FIVE MILE blade”

That sounds fantastic - now read on.

SUMMARY


The life of a blade should NOT be judged by how long it has been in a machine.

If the machine is not used the blade will last forever!!!


Blade life should NOT be judged by the number of rolls of vinyl it has cut.

Depending on text size it can do as much cutting on a metre of vinyl as on a full roll.


Blade life SHOULD be judged by:-

The length of time it was cutting.

The speed at which it was cutting.

The material/s it was cutting.

How correctly - or incorrectly - the machine was set.


MORE BORING FACTS

Most of the blades used in the UK are returned to us for exchange or re-sharpening.

We examine them to monitor their performance.


Far too many blades are NOT worn out - they are damaged by accident or carelessness. Great for us - bad for you.


Many of the undamaged blades we see could have continued to cut perfectly well if only the user had set the pressure/force correctly.


Amazingly we have often needed to teach users how to do this because they simply did not know how.


And frighteningly we find that some users DO NOT EVEN KNOW  that the pressure or the speed CAN be changed.


“Er, the man set it up for me”…………………..…………..…..……10 years ago ???


But they usually know why their cars have a steering wheel …….……..…???

That advert was NOT ours but it sounds great so let us analyse it.


FACTS [Simple Mathematics]

One Mile   = 1600 Metres      

Five Miles = 8000 Metres [8,000,000 mm]      

One Hour = 3600 Seconds


Many modern plotters can cut at 1,000 mm per second  [mm/sec] or more

So 8,000,000 mm   

Divided by (1000mm x 3600 seconds)  

gives you 2.2 Hours of use


More realistically, plotters are commonly run at about 500 mm/sec
Which would give you 4.4 Hours of use


So, to cut five miles of vinyl a modern plotter would take:-

2.2 hours at high speed

4.4 hours at average speed

8-10 hours at a slow speed.


ARE YOU STILL IMPRESSED?

Did you REALLY think it meant eight thousand metres [160 fifty metre rolls] of vinyl as used in “normal” production.


Although open to misinterpretation that advert [not ours] was not totally incorrect.

It is probable that any blade could cut five miles or more in linear distance.


In most modern plotters a blade travels a linear mile or more every cutting hour

and it can do many miles of cutting on just a few metres of vinyl.


Although blade life is impossible to predict you will be pleased to know that

most of the better quality plotter blades are likely to last months or years.

If plotters are set and used correctly - far too many are not!


How blades are used and what they cut are major factors.

See: - Blade Care

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