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How’d Panini America Do That? Production Line Video Details Laser-Cutting Process.

July 9, 2012

On Friday we brought you 28 revealing images from our fabulous field trip last week to the Panini America printing facility. Today, we do you one better with captivating video footage of various products in various stages of production.

One of the things we didn’t show you in that gallery late last week? The hypnotically hip process of laser cutting numbers into 2012 Elite Football’s Prime Numbers insert. It’s easily one of the coolest processes I’ve seen  on my many trips to the printing facility, and it will likely make you appreciate Prime Numbers — and other inserts like them — just a little bit more.

Other steps you’ll see in the blissful five-minute video that follows: Serial numbering some of those Prime Numbers, slitting and cutting 2012 Score Football and a few quality minutes spent on the production line with the now-shipping 2011-12 Gold Standard Basketball.

But before you watch the video, here are a few images of the laser-cutting process to get you ready . . .

And now, the way-cool video . . .

28 Comments leave one →
  1. July 9, 2012 10:32 am

    So you’re saying I probably don’t want to stick my finger underneath the laser shooter?

    • July 9, 2012 10:33 am

      Yeah, not sure that would be the best idea. But don’t think I didn’t think about it. 🙂

  2. July 9, 2012 10:33 am

    That’s a cool process. It reminds me of the old dot-matrix printers from the 80’s. Classic!

  3. Dwight Peters permalink
    July 9, 2012 10:42 am

    Gotta love technology, that’s a cool video. Not something you could do by hand, or not very well or quickly for sure lol

  4. XstreamINsanity permalink
    July 9, 2012 10:48 am

    I really appreciate you giving us collectors a behind the scenes look at how the cards are made. It’d be really cool to see how it’s done all the way through the process; from the choosing of the photo, to the applique of it to the cardboard, to any foil that’s placed on the card, etc. That’d be really cool, but I realize you guys can’t give out all of your secrets. 🙂 Question: Is that laser the same one used on die cut cards such as 2010-11 Donruss Emerald/Sapphire/Ruby cards? Or are they cut using a different method? Thanks again for the cool behind the scenes look.

  5. Chad Kinzle permalink
    July 9, 2012 10:49 am

    WOW, very cool indeed. Has a 2012 Elite checklist come out yet? It’s truly amazing that cards can go through all of that process and still stay in excellent condition. I LOVE behind the scenes videos like this. Keep it up Panini!!

  6. Lee Patton permalink
    July 9, 2012 10:57 am

    Awesome video 🙂

  7. John permalink
    July 9, 2012 11:14 am

    These cards are NO WHERE NEAR worth the time effort and cost of that laser cutting. Cut it out and make the factory cost of the product cheaper!!

    • July 9, 2012 2:54 pm

      So Panini is not suppose to try and innovate? Bring something new to the table? So what if it costs a little more? Also how do you know that laser etching is causing a price increase? No one’s forcing you to buy it. I would rather have a product cost a little more and be innovative than the regular cookie cutter products that is released year after year. I applaud Panini for trying something new. If it doesn’t work, guess what (gasp!) they won’t do it next year and it will be a valuable lesson learned.

      • charles faires permalink
        July 9, 2012 4:16 pm

        dude chill its not that new of a tech, dude has his opinion you are aloud to have these (gasp), and i did like the vid

  8. July 9, 2012 12:25 pm

    Love it. Is that slo-mo though? Seems like it’d take forever to do them in quantity.

  9. July 9, 2012 1:20 pm

    Awesome! Early indication that Elite is going to rock!

  10. July 9, 2012 2:40 pm

    Ok, so, I know that sticking your fingers in front of the laser would be a bad idea. But what about an apple? Or a watermelon? That could totally work!

  11. July 9, 2012 3:36 pm

    Very cool look inside the presses. I had the same question as above, is a similar method use for die-cut cards?

  12. gregmalloy permalink
    July 9, 2012 3:49 pm

    That’s cool!! gold standards shipped today?

  13. gregmalloy permalink
    July 9, 2012 3:55 pm

    That’s pretty sick gold standards ships today?

  14. July 9, 2012 3:57 pm

    Love the Gold Standard at the end!

  15. July 9, 2012 4:26 pm

    That was pretty cool. Would love to see the jersey cards made

  16. David Langelier permalink
    July 9, 2012 5:56 pm

    Gotta say that its great to see Panini taking it to the next level with Trading cards! Who would have ever thought that wed be using a laser to make Trading cards!!!

  17. July 9, 2012 6:58 pm

    Does Panini offer tours of their facilities to see how cards are made and the work that goes on behind the scenes. I would definately travel to Texas just to see this?

    • July 9, 2012 11:44 pm

      The actual production work for our cards is done off-site in a factory across town. Unfortunately, there are no public tours available at that facility.

      • Patrick B permalink
        July 10, 2012 3:40 pm

        Dang, because i have been wanting to do that for years! Hey you know what Tracy ” The Bomb” Hackler, Panini should include in card packs like the chance to win a trip to company headquarters or something, that would be cool!

  18. July 10, 2012 5:22 am

    Those aren’t the cards our fathers grew up with! Thanks for the look inside the process Tracy!

  19. July 10, 2012 7:02 am

    Love love love the video! One question I have though is how does the machine get rid of the i suppose you could say cloudy look around the area the holes get cut? Great to see some GS on the printing line too. No doubt this will be the last time we see Ray in Celtics gear :(.

    • July 10, 2012 9:12 am

      Great question, Rhys. I had that same thought while I was watching the process, especially after seeing the high-gloss finish. Unfortunately, I didn’t see what happened to the cards immediately after this process, but I would assume the residue is removed between this phase and the UV-coating process.

    • GarnettFan4Life permalink
      July 18, 2012 12:53 am

      Some of the NT stuff still has like a brown colour burn left around some of the die cut areas which is disappointing, would also like to know how that is removed normally and if any way to improve that look as I think it detracts somewhat.

  20. Joe F permalink
    July 10, 2012 12:36 pm

    that’s cool. Thanks Tracy.


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