Paper Cutters — Honing a Competitive Edge
Even if job data isn't captured at the prepress stage, shops can benefit from centralization of cutter programming within the finishing department, Stow says. "We are seeing a trend among larger companies with multiple machines to have a 'setup man' (foreman or other cutting expert) program jobs and then use lower-skilled operators to make the cuts. Once a job is programmed, the display will show the operator how the job should be run."
The Challenge Machinery Co. continues to study the benefits of CIP4/JDF, but it isn't actively pursuing implementation of the technology, reports Robb Gould, vice president of marketing/sales for the Grand Haven, MI-based manufacturer. "The market segment we serve has not wanted/needed this feature on our equipment," he explains.
"Challenge's software is very straightforward, which simplifies operator training," Gould continues. "As a result, the printer/finisher no longer needs highly skilled, highly paid operators to complete cutting tasks."
The XT color-display touchscreen programmer for Champion 301⁄2˝ and 37˝ fully hydraulic paper cutters enable job setups to be done on a PC and downloaded to the cutter via floppy disk. By opening the job on the display, the preprogrammed task can be run easily and accurately by the operator, Gould says.
Challenge's top-of-the-line Champion 305 XT cutter features a variable-speed, pinpoint backgauge control and electronic clamp pressure control. It uses hydraulic cutting and clamping action to enable cutting lifts up to its 4˝ clamp opening.
Buyer interest at the recent PRINT 01 exhibition definitely reflected the trend toward systems, reports Perfecta-USA's Stow. "Sixty percent or more of our show leads were not just for a cutter, but a cutter with a jogger or maybe a jogger and a stack lift," he notes. "We saw a lot of interest in the combination of a jogger and stack lift with an integrated weigh scale on our 45˝ and bigger models. Recently we've also had some buyers of 36˝ machines adding stack lifts and joggers."