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Paper Cutters -- Slicing Time, Not Fingers

August 2003
By Erik Cagle


KISS is the word that best describes the modern day movement in regard to the manufacture of paper cutting systems: Keep It Simple and Safe.

Safety may be to cutting what flour is to baking—an essential ingredient—but automation considerations cannot be ignored when weighing the purchase of a standalone cutter or complete system. In fact, with manufacturers adhering to U.S. and international safety guidelines, ease-of-use may spell the difference between products A, B and C.

"Automating the backgauge movement on a cutter helps improve efficiency, makeready times, consistency and accuracy of the cut," points out Don Dubuque, marketing manager for Standard Finishing Systems. "Automated, shortened job setup times translate into higher profits, more productivity and the possibility to free up an operator to run another piece of equipment."

Cutter manufacturers are also mindful of programming, Dubuque notes, as clients seek to program and store multiple and often complex jobs on a cutter. Consequent benefits include improved setup times and efficiency rates.

Automation and programming are part of an industry-wide trend to simplify setup and operation of print finishing equipment, he says. "This has been influenced by heavy turnover in shops, which leads companies to want faster operator training and the ability to cross-train easily.

Multi-tasking Employees

"We see fewer equipment specialists dedicated to one piece of equipment, so owners require employees who are cross-trained on different pieces of equipment," Dubuque continues. "This is made easier with the advent of simple, yet powerful, programming and automation features. Customers are looking for equipment that is simplified through the use of control panels and touchscreens that are similar from one piece of finishing equipment to the other."

Along similar lines is the issue of CIP3/4 compatibility, adds Tyrone Adams, manager of postpress sales for MAN Roland. "It 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 (CIM)."

In terms of optional equipment, MAN Roland's ASE cutter (with automatic waste removal system) allows scrap to fall through an opening as the front bed table opens. Anther critical peripheral is the auto clamp stop function, which allows the clamp to move only a fraction of an inch off the stock after making the cut. The backgauge moves forward and positions the stock for the next cut, and the clamp goes down for full pressure and cuts.
 

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