Glenart College in the Republic of Ireland first began considering integrating a laser cutter into its technology department in 2019 as a means to make project work more efficient for students.
Philip Robinson, teacher in engineering, had previously taught in England for many years where laser technology was commonplace and had experience with different laser systems. Having recently moved back to Ireland, Philip was keen for the team at Glenart to take advantage of a government initiative to ensure each school would have at least one laser cutter, and began to research laser systems. Philip discovered Trotec’s R400 laser cutter during his research, and having previously used the Rayjet 50 in a former role, he was already familiar with the quality and reliability of Trotec systems. With Covid-19 lockdowns in place across the country, Trotec’s sales manager for Ireland provided Philip with a range of content about the system, including a series of application videos about what was possible on varied materials.
Impressed with the possibilities that the R400 offered, coupled with the 100-watt CO2 laser power and the larger bed size, Glenart College decided to invest in an R400 laser cutter which was installed in March 2021.
Revolutionising the education process
The R400 has revolutionised the way Glenart College teaches its engineering course. The speed and power of the laser system saves between 2 and 3 hours of work for simple processes such as hole cutting. This frees students to spend more time in the design process of their project, while the integration of the system as a means of CAD/CAM allows the college to move away from exclusive metal work into more varied materials. With the introduction of the laser system, Glenart has added a laser cutting module to the curriculum. This module enables students to create a wide range of applications not specific to engineering, including keyrings and lightboxes to name some. A project to create family portraits using wood was especially popular with the students, who each created a photo-engraved family portrait.
Reflecting on the purchase of the laser, Philip and the engineering team are fully confident in their decision. The pre and after-sales support given by Trotec’s area manager has been a great help, including additional training after the installation. For the 9 months of the school term, the laser is consistently used by students and staff, and during busy periods such as exam season the R400 is in non-stop action from 8:30am – 4 pm. Philip regularly maintains the laser to ensure it is in optimal working condition and ready for the students to use.
Looking to the future, Philip says the woodworking team, who periodically use the R400 for project work, will be the next department to invest in a laser cutter: “The R400 has been an invaluable investment for Glenart College. The laser cutter is exactly what we needed, as it allows students to achieve an industry-standard quality for their project work and gives them transferable skills for their careers.”
Contact: Siân Ferry