Sign Ink Invests in Hybrid CNC Routing & Cutting Solution from SD-Italy

SOLON, OH – March 13, 2024 – Graphco, a leading graphic-arts equipment dealer/distributor in the United States, in two months will install an Augusta F150R Pro automatic cutting plotter at Sign Ink, LLC near Richmond, VA. Manufactured in Europe by SD-Italy, the wide-format, digital finishing/routing machine is set to be delivered after it is demonstrated on the tradeshow floor at ISA International Sign Expo 2024 in Orlando, FL (April 10-12).

The company plans to use the F150R Pro computer numerical control (CNC) model to handle higher volumes and larger/thicker pieces (up to 6-inch widths) of material for the acrylic, NPF (non-paper-faced foam), aluminum, wood, plastic, vinyl and combo-PVC signs manufactured in its eight-bay, 14,000-square-foot facility. Sign Ink typically runs 1.5 shifts, according to president/CEO Tom Matherly, and employs between 15 and 20 people full-time.

“Sign Ink focuses on solving our customers’ problems, and we are excited to experience, firsthand, the finishing enhancements that the Augusta will bring,” notes Matherly, who founded the firm 28 years ago. For the hands-on owner, the need for speed -- 6.5 square feet per second with 2G acceleration powered by an ElectroSpindle drive sized up to 13 kW -- is not the most impressive feature of the machine. “From its multiple zones and varying table sizes to dual vacuum pumps, this industrial-grade routing device is ideally suited for the signage market and will make us more competitive on a variety of projects,” he believes.


Matherly first saw the Augusta F150R Pro in action last fall at PRINTING United in Atlanta. (The 2024 edition of the show comes to Las Vegas in September.) “I knew the vision and was blown away when I saw what they [SD-Italy] had done,” he says. The speedy, automated tool change-out (up to 25 positions!) is one technological feature that captured the attention of Matherly, who also is awed by the sheer variety of tools available. “To efficiently provide fine finishing in so many different shapes, like we do, requires the proper tools,” notes Matherly, who sees potential for growth.

Hold it down!

Another enviable product feature, he says, is the router’s extensive hold-down capabilities for media of virtually all sizes. “It accommodates the different types of substrates we are called to produce on -- everything from small-board NPF to matte sheets,” he points out. “Some [other] CNC machines may have powerful motors, but they do you no good if the material clamping component is weak.” Many basic designs are functionally limited by a single zone and one, lone pump, he adds.

Matherly views the new equipment addition as a complement to the trio of Zünd multipurpose cutters that his team uses on a daily basis. “We’ve been ‘making do’ with those for 10 years but routing is an add-on,” he shares. “They’re cutting tables that try to be routers.”

While Sign Ink will use the Augusta F150R Pro primarily as a heavy-duty router, the device is modular with additional capabilities, as Graphco’s Gustavo Teixo points out: “The machine also has a die-cutting module that can perform reciprocating sawing and knife-cutting,” Teixo explains. “In addition, it has rotary tools that can cut corrugated materials.”

Sign Ink’s owner reports that he hasn’t seen anything like the F150R Pro, “and I’ve been looking!” Matherly adds. “It’s like the manufacturer looked at all the feature sets available out there in the market and asked, ‘Okay, what’s missing?’ They blew it up and maxed it out with all the bells and whistles we now see on this machine.” Sign Ink expects the productivity and durability of its new automatic cutting plotter to begin opening up new markets in the second half of 2024 so that it can increase annual sales, which were nearly $5 million last year.


About Graphco

Graphco is the industry’s leading provider of offset, digital and print finishing solutions. We proudly represent the finest brands of equipment including RMGT (Ryobi MHI Graphic Technology), SD-Italy, Foliant, Kodak, Konica Minolta, Standard Horizon, CRON, Graphic Whizard, Petratto, Spiel Associates/Sterling, MBM, and many more. These brands are only as good as the technical support team that stands behind them and Graphco’s reputation for top-notch service is second to none. Since 1976, Graphco has thrived in an ever-changing marketplace by loyally adhering to the firm’s original model for success: providing best-in-class print production equipment along with reliable and assured technical service. Learn more about Graphco at, 800-458-2769.

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