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Chief Folding Fanatic

Trish Talks Finishing

By Trish Witkowski

About Trish

Trish Witkowski is Chief Folding Fanatic at the online community She holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in graphic design and a master of science degree in Graphic Arts Publishing from Rochester Institute of Technology's School of Printing Management and Sciences (now the School of Print Media).

An award-winning designer, Trish held the position of creative director for a Baltimore-based agency for six years, and has taught design and desktop publishing at the college level. She has a specialized expertise in the area of folding and is the creator of the FOLDRite™ system, a 2004 GATF InterTech™ Technology Award winner.
Trish frequently publishes articles for graphic arts industry publications, and has written three books on the topic of folding: A Field Guide to Folding, Folding for the Graphic Arts: A Teacher's Handbook, and FOLD: The Professional's Guide to Folding.


POLAR’s P.A.C.E. Cutting System ‘Cuts’ Trimming Time in Half

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POLAR’s integrated cutting system, called P.A.C.E. (Polar Automation for Cutting Efficiency), uses revolutionary AutoTurn automated turning technology and AutoTrans automated loading and gripping technology to execute precision 4-side trims and strip cuts without human intervention. The system tackles what used to be a labor-intensive part of the print production process, reducing manpower and dramatically increasing efficiency.

The AutoTurn gripper has an automatic aligning gauge mounted on the high-speed cutter machine frame that turns and aligns reams of paper positioned on the rear table and cuts them automatically. Amazingly, in some large-scale installations, the P.A.C.E. system has no operators whatsoever.

The technology, first introduced in 2003, has been enhanced over the years with increased speeds and improved user experience, earning it the GATF InterTech Award for Innovative Excellence in 2008. The AutoTurn gripper has an automatic aligning gauge mounted on the high-speed cutter machine frame that picks up, turns and aligns reams of paper positioned on the rear table and cuts them automatically, a process that slashes manual trimming times in half.

It’s quite amazing to watch. Want to see it in action? View this video posted by Crossmark Graphics (

So, what does it cost? Well, it should be no surprise that it’s not cheap. If you’re guessing in the six figures, you’d be in the ballpark. But before you make a quick judgement based on price, think of it in terms of productivity, job satisfaction, safety and ROI.

“We have gone from two to one operator with the same and more productivity,” says Jim Dobrzynski, Sr., president of Crossmark Graphics, a mid-size commercial printer in Wisconsin. “The return on investment will be around 2-3 years or less with our three-shift operation.”

“While labor savings are advantageous, the real benefit is from the ergonomic-related injuries we have avoided since installing the cutter,” states Bill Graushar, VP of Finishing, Quad/Graphics “...and this automation allows us to free up our people for more advanced and rewarding positions at the company.”

The P.A.C.E. system offers a compact, space-saving configuration and consists of a jogger, air conveyor table, gripper system and cutter, with options like a turning gripper and an AutoTrim automatic waste removal system. The system is ideal for 28x40” and larger formats, and is designed for simple changeovers between automatic and manual modes, which ensures flexibility and customization with any workflow. The P.A.C.E. system is readily available and is compatible with any industrial/commercial print shop or trade bindery’s equipment.

POLAR is a privately-owned company known for excellence in cutting technology. It's products are sold and distributed exclusively through Heidelberg.

For more information about POLAR’s P.A.C.E. cutting system, please contact Rob Kuehl, director, product management/POLAR, at 770-419-6636 or


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