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At the cutting edge of laser cutting technology

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Cutlite Penta is a specialist provider of carbon dioxide laser processing solutions. It is one of the leading Italian companies in the design, development and distribution of laser-based cutting and engraving equipment. Its reputation for competence and quality means that it has also established itself in the world market, with manufacturing, sales and technical support subsidiaries in China, Brazil and the US.

“The company was only very small when it started,” says Managing Director Delio Patrizio Mugnaioni. “There were just five people which is why the company name includes the Greek word for five. Since the beginning we have enjoyed the support of El.En SpA, one of the most important players in the laser industry.”

El.En SpA is involved in cutting edge laser development and research, and collaborates with the leading national research institutes in the field. Cutlite Penta was founded in 1992 to produce industrial laser cutting systems and is now part of El.En SpA’s industrial division.

From the beginning, Cutlite Penta has developed and produced laser cutting equipment for working with wood and plexiglass. Its wood cutting lasers are designed for cutting die-board using the ‘American’ system.

The precision of the laser cutting system is used to cut paths on plywood sheets with a very stable and precise width and with a cutting kerf, giving fast and precise results. “We make two different types of cutting machines in this area,” says Mr. Mugnaioni. “Our flatbed system for flat dieboards and our rotary system are able to produce precise rotary dieboards and process cylindrical shells to produce dieboards which satisfy market requirements. It is impossible to achieve such fast and precise results with traditional cutting methods such as jigsaws.”

This cutting precision is what makes laser cutting technology so eminently suitable for the plexiglass market. Here cuts are frequently required on the finished product so that a clean and accurate cut is vital. Thanks to the extreme fineness of the laser, it is possible to produce a thin cut just a few tenths of a millimetre in width.

Although laser cutting equipment for plywood using the American system is a more traditional area of application, it is a niche market with only two or three companies in the world able to supply the necessary equipment. Here, Cutlite Penta is the market leader in its home market, having supplied over 90% of the machines installed in Italy for this purpose. The firm also has strong export markets in Germany, South America, Great Britain, Turkey, Spain and Portugal, as well as orders worldwide.

“We were pioneers in the laser cutting of acrylic and plexiglass,” says Mr. Mugnaioni. “The technology required to achieve the level of precision we were looking for is highly complex, particularly because we are cutting the end product. It is very important that the cut is clean and smooth.”

The challenge in this market is maintaining productivity and, at the same time, the quality of the finished product. This requires a design philosophy which aims to produce machines for heavy industrial applications. Acrylic cutting is the company’s main market and over 1,000 machines have been installed.

One of the important factors influencing the decision to supply equipment for cutting both plastics and wood is that they each target an entirely different customer base. Cutlite Penta also develops and manufactures laser cutting equipment for metal as part of a strategy of strengthening its presence in key markets.

Cutlite Penta operates at the cutting edge of advanced technology. Its development work was based on the carbon dioxide laser systems of its parent company El.En SpA. “We started out with traditional laser systems but soon we also succeeded in developing laser systems that worked using radio frequencies,” explains Mr. Mugnaioni. “These systems make it possible to laser backlighting systems for poster advertising and a host of other creative applications.”

The company’s outstanding product portfolio and technological edge have lead to rapid growth in recent years. Turnover reached 20 million EUR in 2015; an increase of 30% over the previous year’s result. “Our strength continues to lie in our ability to adapt and integrate diverse technologies,” says Mr. Mugnaioni. “We will continue to invest in research and development to ensure that we remain at the cutting edge of the laser cutting market.”

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