Following installation of an AXYZ 6010 CNC router in February of this year, the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon is said to have achieved considerable savings in production time and on outsourcing costs. The RSC is the foremost British theatre company, employing a staff of over 1,000 and responsible for around 20 productions a year, all of which require a variety of sophisticated scenic constructions that hitherto were crafted by hand.
Head of Scenic Resources at the RSC, Rebecca Cubitt commented: “Having been impressed by the performance and reliability of the AXYZ 6010 CNC router installed at other scenic workshops, coupled with the quality of the on-site operator training provided by AXYZ’s technical engineers, it was decided to purchase the same machine for the RSC carpentry department. This has enabled us to bring in-house all of our routing and cutting requirements and removed the previous need to use outside suppliers for the more intricate stage set and scenic designs required for RSC’s many and varied productions.”
The AXYZ router is employed primarily to process plywood and polycarbonate sheets used to create the floors of the stage sets and for making components that are built into other scenic elements. Installation of the router has, according to Rebecca Cubitt, also helped resolve issues on manual handling and employee safety. She added: “In the past, it was necessary to hand-cut or use a wall-mounted panel saw to cut shaped floor panels and this proved very time consuming as well as presenting handling problems for staff when lifting heavy sheets of polycarbonate onto the saw.”
Rebecca Cubitt continued: “Since installation, the router has been working non-stop, enabling a much faster turnaround on work to better accommodate critical deadlines on the various RSC productions. Typical applications for the AXYZ 6010 machine have included a new stage set for RSC’s outdoor theatre the Dell and for cutting and profiling polycarbonate sheets used in a stage set for a recent production of ‘The Tempest’. The router was also employed to create the floor, senate steps and colonnades used in the current ‘Rome’ season, as well as providing stage sets for the new play, ‘Vice Versa’, presented in the RSC’s Swan Theatre.”
The AXYZ 6010 router installed at the RSC scenic workshop has a processing area of 2159mm (width) x 3048mm (length). It also incorporates a seven-station AXYZ ATC (Automatic Tool Change) facility to accommodate multiple tooling requirements. Rebecca Cubitt continued: “As this was the first CNC machine installed in the carpentry department, it was a matter of choosing a router which was easy to operate and trustworthy and which would enable employees to learn how to use quickly and integrate into their working practices.”
As with all AXYZ routers, however, the AXYZ 6010 machine can be supplied with a host of optional production tool enhancements. These include the AXYZ Auto Zone Management facility that ensures the material being processed is always held securely during the routing/cutting process and the A2MC machine controller with integrated AXYZ Vision System (AVS) for optimum accuracy and quality of cut. These are supplemented with the latest helical rack and pinion drive system. This features a multiple gear teeth configuration that helps spread the workload more evenly, leading to faster throughput times, reduced material wastage, quieter operation and ultimately a longer than normal machine life.
In conclusion, Rebecca Cubitt commented: “In addition to the performance and reliability of the AXYZ 6010 router, I was pleased with the on-site operator training provided by AXYZ and to the support demonstrated throughout the entire installation process.”