There are two types of contour cutting. A Manual setup with a laser, and an Autmated setup with an ARMS system. The difference lies within the actual process of the machine locating the registration mark.
On an automatic contour cutting machine, you will send the command to the cutter to do a contoured cut, and the machine will automatically begin searching for the registration marks. Once it finds the first mark, it will move the second and so forth until every mark has been hit. Since the user is not actually moving the machine to these points, its considered automatic.
Manual contour cutting requires the user to move the machine to each registration mark, instead of it seeking each mark out on it's own. When a contour cut is initialized, the user than has to manually move the machine to the center of the registration mark using the computer's keyboard. Once the laser is aligned to the center of the first mark you will move to the second, then the third, until all points have been hit. Once you have done this, the machine knows where the image is located and is ready to make a contour cut.