Beacon Graphic Systems - 800 762-9205 - Signmaking Academy :Getting Started :History H101

[Letter O]nce upon a time there was a company called Gerber Scientific that manufactured the first vinyl cutter. This vinyl cutter began a revolution in the signmaking industry and changed the way that signs are made today. It sold for $10,000 and had a small LED to view the text and dimensions of the lettering. It came with 1 font internally and additional fonts could be purchased for $285 each. They were installed in slots as circuit board type cards and a maximum of 10 could be installed at one time.
They chose a width of 15" for the vinyl and it needed to be punched to be used in the machine. A maximum width of 13.5" could be cut and any length. This "Signmaker" as it was referred to, was easy to use and increased the productivity of many sign shops. In addition, many franchises developed as a result of this development because a layman could be trained to type in text, cut lettering and make signs.
In the late 80's some other systems were developed to compete with the Gerber. They were based on using a personal computer, software and a pen plotter which was converted with a vinyl cutting attachment. These vinyl cutters were made by Houston Instruments and Ioline and they were not as reliable as the Gerber nor did they track the vinyl as well, however customers were able to overcome the problems with training and patience. These systems, marketed by HTD and TechnoArts, were priced thousands of dollars less than Gerber and the software contained more features and many fonts. In addition the systems could produce graphics and utilized unpunched materials.
The next major development was the design of the Roland CAMM-1 vinyl cutter which paved the way for the next generation of vinyl cutting systems. This vinyl cutter was designed for vinyl cutting and it used HPGL (Hewlett Packard Graphic Language). These systems were priced lower than the earlier systems because it eliminated the "middle-man" since a system could be "put-together" by a Roland dealer utilizing the 3 major components; "Computer", "Software" and "Vinyl Cutter".
Today the Roland CAMM-1 has evolved into the most popular vinyl cutter on the market because of it excellent reliablity, high-performance and the responsive service by Roland Digital Group.
The software was being continually updated with new features such as "Outline/Inline" and "Distortion/Special Effects". As we all know, the computers were also getting faster and more powerful to handle the more sophisticated software programs. A few programs have evolved with the everchanging demands of the industry and the features of each software package are very similar. The FlexiSIGN & ULTRA-Flex design software packages are among the leading programs for vinyl cutting and printing. The difference between packages lies in the basic menu layout and the commitment for support from the dealer and software manufacturer.
We are committed to exceeding your expectations with extraordinary service and exceptional technical support to ensure your business success. Please feel free to contact one of our product support specialists to discuss your signmaking and vinyl graphics needs.


Most recent revision June 07, 2007