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Paper Cutters -- The Winning Edge

June 2004
By Erik Cagle

Senior Editor

What makes Jeff Gordon such a great driver on NASCAR's top stock car driving circuit?

Sure, when he drives into Victory Lane, Gordon is deemed the race's fastest driver. But speed alone is hardly the reason Gordon gets to spray his pit crew with champagne. It is a confluence of variables that enable him to emerge victorious, namely the makeup of his car. Luck and patience play a role, as does tactical positioning on the track, but even the slightest flaw in the No. 24 car's mechanical composition can mean the difference between success and a short day at the track.

Similarly, a paper cutting system can, like Gordon, slice right through a straightaway. But precision handling is even more important around a tricky corner or bend, and the slightest miscalculation can spell disaster for a printed product that's been completed, for the most part.

"Cutting is one of the most critical operations in the print production workflow," notes Tyrone Adams, manager of postpress sales for MAN Roland, which sells Wohlenberg cutters. "It's a function that requires both precision and speed. Plus, by the time the job arrives at the knife, it has considerable value because it has already been printed. So any mistakes at the cutting stage can be costly."

Among the questions Adams suggests that end users ask manufacturers while on the prowl for a cutting system: How fast are the knife changes? What are the safety features, and how easy is it to use? Printing and bindery professionals need to be on the lookout for automation, he says.

"Reliability is a big factor," Adams says. "So self-diagnostic features and the support of a field service force are other requisites to consider. You also want to make sure that a complete and dependable spare parts and consumables source is part of the package."

Jeff Marr, vice president of sales for Colter & Peterson, underscores the importance of three cutter characteristics: how well the system fits the customer's requirements; the quality of construction and level of support; and the amount of technology in the system.

"Will the machine stand up to rigorous workflow demands and, if service is required, can the vendor respond quickly with the required items needed to make repairs?" Marr poses. "And does the system incorporate the latest in both operator controls and operating elements?"

In addition to marketing Wohlenberg cutters and Baumann paper handling equipment, Colter & Peterson also sells the Saber and Prism brands of paper cutters. The newest Wohlenberg cutter and Baumann unloader debuted at Drupa last month. The latest model enables operators to go from job to job more efficiently. Its new computerized control system walks users through the setup process step-by-step.
 

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