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Trotec Speedy 400

Cutting and engraving are now commonplace in print and the application of laser technology is matching this with a number of clever machines. Brian Sims explores the Trotec Speedy 400 which stands out as one of these

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At the heart of the Speedy 400 sits the CeramiCore resonator, supplied by American company Iradion Laser

Full Speed Ahead

There are a large number of developments in the printing industry and some of them seem like natural progressions of traditional equipment. Technologies which would normally be considered to be outside the range of the graphics industry are now also comfortably sat alongside lithographic and digital printing equipment as if they have always had a place there.

One of these technologies is laser cutting and engraving and one of the key suppliers of this equipment is Trotec. The manufacturer has several laser machines which can cut and engrave a wide scope of materials, and the largest of the selection is the Speedy 400.

Ceramic Core Technology

At the heart of the Speedy 400 sits what Trotec states is one of the best options for a laser engraving machine. Known as CeramiCore and supplied by American company Iradion Laser, this technology is not commonplace, so to understand why Trotec believes this is the best option for its equipment, a look into the construction of the laser device is needed.

A large majority of lasers are produced via the use of all metal or glass bodies which contain the electrodes on the inside of the resonator (the device producing the laser light). This throws up a number of issues which can affect the power of the laser and the longevity of the device itself.

The construction of the CeramiCore resonator is, as the name suggests, made wholly of a ceramic material. It is constructed in two halves which are bonded together and fired at 800°C. The electrodes are then placed on the outside rather than on the inside of the body itself.

This brings a number of advantages. Firstly, the fact that the material is ceramic means it is stable and does not suffer from changes with increased heat, and welds or other joints do not need to be sealed which in turn can fail in service.

With the electrodes placed on the outside of the resonator, there is no need for seals around wires and cables to contain the gases which can also be problematic. Finally, ceramic lasers can be operated at much higher pressures due to the nature of the design. This means quicker production, typically at a lower power demand.

In Iradion Laser, Trotec feels it has a supplier that provides leading laser technology and the benefits of this are directly passed to the user through a laser machine with a very long and reliable life. In a number of machines, the strength and longevity of the laser can be the achilles heel. 

Apply the Technology

So, how does all this clever technology apply itself beneficially to the needs of a printer? The Speedy 400 uses both CO2 and Fibre lasers to cover a large number of materials to be cut or engraved. With a very broad explanation, the use of CO2 lasers allows the cutting and engraving of materials such as glass, natural fibres, wood, paper, and a wide range of plastics.

The Speedy 400 uses both CO2 and fibre lasers to cover a large number of materials to be cut or engraved

Fibre lasers are best suited to engraving but mainly on metals such as aluminium, brass, copper, and steel whereas coated metals, anodised aluminium, and stainless steel would use CO2. 

The obvious question is which of these technologies do you use? Well, Trotec has this covered off with Flexx technology. Rather than force its clients into a corner with difficult choices and limiting the materials they can process, Flexx technology combines both types of lasers within the same machine.

Rather than force its clients into a corner with difficult choices and limiting the materials they can process, Flexx technology combines both types of lasers within the same machine

When changing the material you want to engrave or cut, the Speedy 400 switches in two mouse clicks to the correct laser process for the selected substrate. The name Speedy 400 is well assigned for this laser engraver as Trotec has taken the power of the laser from the CeramiCore technology and coupled it to a drive system it calls OptiMotion.

It would have been a waste of the clever laser technology if it was not being driven around the workspace at the highest speed possible. However, the laser head flies around the cabin at 4.3m per second which Trotec claims is eight times faster than its competitors.

The OptiMotion motion control not only makes the most of the laser technology, but it produces the smoothest of curves and accurate profiles and drastically improves productivity.

 CO2 lasers enable the cutting and engraving of materials such as glass, natural fibres, wood, paper, and plastics

The range of materials that can be engraved or cut on the Speedy 400 is large with all types of metals, plastics, wood, leather, paper, and so on able to be processed on it. To facilitate this, the Speedy 400 comes with several devices and features to ensure there is the highest production output possible.

Shorter Focal Length

The laser head itself comes with eight different focus lenses to ensure the focal length of the laser is best suited for the task it is deployed to complete. Trotec says as a rule of thumb, engraving has a shorter focal length, cutting longer.

There is the ability to feed larger or bulky substrates via a pass-through hatch in the front and back of the machine. You are still safely away from the laser as you are still protected via the machine’s hinged-down cover. The holding of materials is also catered for with six different beds that can be easily interchanged to suit whatever is being processed.

For cutting tasks, the aluminium grid table provides one with acrylic slats for thicker materials; a vacuum table which is best suited to engraving; an acrylic grid table for laminates and plastics as they remain flat after processing; a ferromagnetic table which can secure papers with the use of magnets; and a honeycomb cutting support which is best used in conjunction with the vacuum table.

Pulling all this technology together needs something equally as clever and Trotec does this via software called Ruby. The laser graphic software is used for seamless design and application workflow and you can produce your design and prepare it within the same web-based environment. The Speedy 400 has a touchscreen panel that integrates with Ruby meaning it can be prepared by one operator and then used by another. 

Overall, this small red box from Trotec delivers with detail and speed.


  • Production speed  4.3m/s
  • Working area (W x D)  1016 x 610mm
  • Max. height1 of workpiece  283mm
  • Max. acceleration  50m/s2
  • Overall dimensions (W x D x H  1428 x 952 x 1050mm

Brian Sims Principal Consultant, Metis Print Consultancy, www.metis-uk.eu

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