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PAPER CUTTERS -- Cutting No Corners

August 2002

While production is a major factor for any finishing operation, one place where speed and productivity can take a backseat is in the paper cutting area—here safety comes first. And, according to leading paper cutter manufacturers, safety is their number one priority, as well.

"Safety standards for paper cutters have evolved over the years, forcing manufacturers to incorporate many different elements such as photo eyes, redundant circuitry and special guarding," remarks Jeff Marr, vice president of sales for Colter & Peterson.

Currently, the largest industry trend, according to Mark Pellman, marketing manager for Baum Corp., indeed is safety related—the recent adoption and implementation of the new ANSI B65.3 safety standards that became effective in March 2002. This standard is a voluntary standard that calls for infrared safety light beams as a safety feature on hydraulic-powered paper cutters, he explains.

"The use of infrared light beams has normally been found on cutters at 36˝ width and larger," Pellman notes. "This new safety spec brings ANSI standards closer to CE and other specifications that also require this important feature. Baum has included this as standard equipment before the standard was adopted and enacted."

While paper cutting machines have become safer, there have also been strides to make units faster and more automated.

"Consumers want to increase their productivity without sacrificing precision and quality," says MBM Corp.'s Donna Hall. "Electric cutters are being manufactured with digital keypads for entering precise measurements, and memory recall for frequent cutting jobs, such as business cards."

The automation trend has leaked its way into almost every facet of the printing industry, and cutting machines are no different, notes Tyrone Adams, manager of postpress sales for MAN Roland. This involves simplifying the programming of the cutter for the end user, he says.

"A related trend that I see in the bindery is the issue of CIP3/CIP4 compatibility, which enables the cutter to be programmed automatically from prepress or MIS data. That speeds setup, reduces the chance of operator error and plugs the bindery into all of the advantages of computer-integrated manufacturing," Adams points out.

There are many ways to safely speed the cutting process, confirms Heidelberg's Rob Kuehl, marketing director of Polar cutting systems. Polar cutters, distributed by Heidelberg, can be purchased with numerous options, including stacklifts to bring the material to the most convenient working height for better ergonomics; easier material preparation with the addition of a jogger; determination of quantity with a weighing scale (chipmarker); and by cutting with the most efficient handling equipment (gripper, turning gripper).


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