It's time. You've designed a great product and you're about to put it into production. You want to have one or more parts of your product laser cut. First, try one example to assess whether what you have in mind actually works out in practice. And then, if that is the case and you decide to produce multiple copies, you want to be able to easily have the part cut in larger quantities.
In short, you are faced with the choice of your partner in laser cutting.
But what should you actually pay attention to when choosing your laser cutting partner?
That depends on what is important to you: is quick results a priority or are low costs important? Is top quality a requirement, or do you think sustainability is important? Do you think it is important that your laser cutting partner thinks along with you and provides advice, or is it important that the ordering process is fast and efficient?
Below are some things you will want to consider when choosing your laser cutting partner.
The success of a laser-cut product largely depends on the design and the choice of materials within the design. An experienced partner in laser cutting only works with reliable materials and will be able to recognize (major) errors or problems in a design before production.
At Snijlab we not only have a lot of experience with laser cutting, we also have the design and engineering knowledge and experience needed to recognize these errors or problems. If this is the case, we will block production of the part and contact the customer to report the problem and resolve it in consultation.
For prototyping and one-offs
When you need a prototype of your design, or you only need one copy at all, you want to be able to act quickly and cost-efficiently, yet accurately.
Is it possible with your chosen laser cutting partner to have a new version available tomorrow, if you have to continue or have a presentation?
If you place an urgent order with us before 12 noon, you can pick up your order the same day after 4 pm, or it will be delivered to you the next day before 12 noon.
What are the costs for one copy? Are these high and are there start-up costs?
You can buy a single piece of a unique part for just €25, while a large collector's plate made of a valuable material can cost more than €100. For us, start-up costs are charged for each product. If you order multiple copies, the start-up costs are spread and the unit price drops. If you order different products made from the same material, you pay lower start-up costs for each subsequent product.
For complex drawings; Do you receive a 'proof' in advance, or a preview that you can check to see how your file has been read?
A preview is a standard part of our ordering process. The preview shows which operations we will do and serves as a contract document. It is therefore very important to check this preview carefully.
In large numbers
If you want to have your design cut in large numbers, matters such as finishing, post-treatment, packaging and simplicity of the ordering process are important when choosing your laser cutting partner.
How clear and easy is the ordering process? Is there a risk that the end result is just not right based on your design (drawing)?
With us, the ordering process is completely online in one clear environment. No email exchange with scattered information. No waiting time.
You have full control when ordering. Not only about your drawing and material, but also which foil is/is not on it, is residual material included, how is it packaged, etc.
You can find a previously ordered product (drawing + settings) under 'my products' in the online environment and order it again. Then you can be sure that the end result is exactly the same.
If you order many/often parts: is it possible to have your own item number or description placed on the packaging? To be able to keep things apart and to ensure that the components are put into use smoothly.
When you order from us, you can specify your own name or item number per order, but also per product. You will find these item numbers on the packaging upon delivery. Don't worry, there are no difficult-to-remove stickers on your part ;-).
How are the parts packaged and how much work does it take to get them ready for use? Are they in the residual panel and do you have to remove them from the panel and process the residual material? This provides good protection during transport, but removing large quantities is a lot of work.
Depending on what you make and in what edition, it may be more convenient to receive individual parts or parts in the sheet. With us you have the choice and know what to expect based on this information .
Can your laser cutting partner make your parts without any foil on them?
Laser cutting without foil is the standard for many types of wood and paper. Some plastics (including polyacetal and HDPE) are also supplied without foil as standard. This option is also available with acrylics, for example, even though they are supplied with foil as standard; we then remove the foil before cutting.
The advantage of no foil is that you do not have to remove the foil. This is especially important for large numbers of parts. It also makes a difference in material use not to use foil.
The disadvantage is that process deposits can form on your parts. You can remove this from wood types by sanding, from plastics by wiping away the deposits with a damp cloth. How disturbing the process touch is depends on the level of detail (with large shapes it is often barely noticeable, with fine work it is more noticeable), the type of material (on light colored material it is more visible) and the application (with a visual application it is relevant, with technical applications often not).
But without protective film, there is smoke and reflection deposits on the material. You have to finish that. How do you do that and how much time does it take? Or do you take inferior finishes for granted?
"Clean" cutting without repetitive manual work. That was the goal when we developed autoSPOT, our machine suitable for serial work. When laser cutting with autoSPOT, no foil is needed and no/barely any deposits.
For business buyers
If you are a 'regular customer' of your laser cutting partner, then the way you do business is important. Ideally, you want the process of ordering, producing, delivering, invoicing and paying to run like a well-oiled machine.
In many online shops, prepayment is customary. But this often does not fit into your purchasing process. Is it possible to register to order on account?
With us you can register your company once for payment on account. You will then receive an additional payment option in the ordering environment with which you can place orders on account.
If you often have many parts laser cut, it is useful to have a clear order overview from which you can order things again. Is this possible?
Previously created products can be found in 'my products' onsnijlab.nl. Here you can search by product name, number, material type, order number, etc. This makes placing a repeat order a piece of cake.
For the financial department, a certain purchasing reference/PO number must often be included on the invoice and the invoice must be sent to a specific email address. Is that easy to arrange?
As a business customer at Snijlab, your purchasing reference is easy to complete and can be followed in all correspondence. Do you need a quote in advance for approval within your organization? You can download it within a few clicks, providing the correct references. You can have invoices sent to a different email address as standard. For example, from your financial department so that you no longer have to administer it yourself.
Are there advantages for regular customers who order regularly?
We stock/keep special materials, thicknesses or colors in stock for returning customers. We also provide advice/contribute to optimization of the design in series work. This can lead to lower costs, better quality or less work for the recipient. We can often make efficiency gains in recurring productions. If that is the case, we can lower/provide a discount on the prices for that production.
Finally, if sustainability is an important issue for you, you naturally want to know whether this is also the case for your future partner in laser cutting and what they do in this regard.
How sustainable are the materials used?
Our wood comes from sustainably managed forests. We are FSC certified ourselves to maintain the Chain of Custody where possible. We already offer acrylics that are fully recycled. When purchasing, we strive for the shortest possible transport routes.
How is residual material handled? Is this material recycled?
We separate the waste flows from our materials. Our wish is to be able to recycle each material type separately and we are actively working on developing these options.
All in all, quite a few things to pay attention to when choosing your laser cutting partner. Once you have made a choice based on the above points, a very promising collaboration lies ahead. A collaboration that enables you to design and produce better and better products, to continue to innovate and thus strengthen your position in the market. Nice is not it?!