Aeronaut manufactures floor mounting kits so many Aeronaut cutters can be run on the floor or an existing flat topped work bench. The range of cutters which can be floor mounted includes Elektron and carbon gantry machines.
Where a lot of work is done on the floor, floor mounting may be a good idea. A floor mounted cutter, plotter or string sail machine may be the most practical solution where the materials to be processed are very wide, heavy, bulky or stiff and difficult to manage on a table. Materials like this may not need a vacuum table because their weight and stiffness holds them in place while they are being cut.
Stiff materials such as carpet can be effectively cut with a floor mounted cutter. In this case, the stiffness and weight of the fabric makes sure that there is minimal movement when cutting. See the Special Purpose Machines menu for an example of a floor mounted carpet cutter which cuts 2,000 - 3,500 metres or carpet each week.
If there there is a lot of traffic or vehicles such as fork-lifts also using the floor, the guide rails can be recessed into the floor or ramps provided with a closing strip so that the fork-lifts can roll over the guide rails without damaging them.
There are a number of other reasons why a company might want to consider mounting a cutter on an existing work surface or on a floor. Budget is obviously one of these reasons! A good vacuum table is a significant part of the cost of an automated cutting system. The mechanical difference between a floor mounted cutter and one mounted on a vacuum table is very small. What this means is that you can move to a full vacuum table at any stage with only small changes to the hold-down system of the machine. Your investment in the cutting system is well looked after.
Obviously, when blade cutting, the blade must bear down on some suitable surface such as hard plastic, wood (MDF, chipboard, particleboard, plywood) or linoleum. Depending on the type of material you are working with and the type of cutting used, the substrate may be cut up or not.
With most floor mounted setups, you would be cutting without the benefit of vacuum. Although for most purposes, too much vacuum is not enough, it is possible to cut some materials without vacuum hold down. Even difficult materials such as woven shade cloth or mesh can be cut surprisingly well. With these fabrics, the amount of open area in the fabric makes vacuum hold down unlikely unless a sacrificial plastic is used over the top when cutting and this is not always desirable or economically viable.
Materials such as PVC can be cut without vacuum. In this case, a sacrificial layer of PVC is laid on the cutting surface. The diameter of the support discs either side of the cutting blade are selected so they cut 99% of the material being cut, and barely mark the sacrificial layer. The stickiness or attraction of the two layers of PVC helps to ensure the cut is accurate. This sacrificial layer may last 6 months or more.
Other applications for floor-mounted machines are in manufacturing yarn-laid or string sails and plotting with ink-jet pens directly onto carpet backing for making hand tufted custom carpets.
In these applications, where the gantry is wide… typically 6 to 10.5 metres (18 to 33 feet), and workers need to walk around the job to remove and position material, it makes sense not to use a full-height table. Cutters are either mounted directly to the floor or where vacuum is required, a low-stage constructed with vacuum run underneath.
For more information on floor mounted and special purpose machines, see the following links: