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An increasing amount of print-service-providers are bringing finishing in-house to take greater control over production. Rob Fletcher looks at how the latest guillotines can help companies in their quest

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Cutting with precision is essential for the highest quality print product

A Cut Above the Rest

One of the most significant trends within the print industry in recent years has been the amount of print-service-providers (PSPs) that have brought finishing in-house. When asked why they have opted to take this approach, many PSPs give a similar answer: to take more control over their print production process.

In the past, many PSPs were outsourcing finishing as they simply did not have the capacity or technology to complete this process in-house. However, with kit now widely available and more affordable, the option is there for PSPs to spread their wings and take on this work themselves.

Cutting forms a major part of the finishing process in many printed jobs, with guillotines the ‘weapon’ of choice for most PSPs. Here, we pick out some of the newest kit in this market and examine how it can help PSPs grow their business.

Reacting to change

One of the leading names in this sector, and indeed the finishing market as a whole, is Friedheim International. The company is the UK and Irish agent for both BaumannWohlenberg and Schneider Senator guillotines and handling systems.

Stuart Bamford, national post press manager at Friedheim, says changing trends in the market demand new ideas across all areas of production, including finishing.

“The general market trend toward increasingly individualised products has implications for paper cutting as well,” Bamford says, adding: “Smaller print runs force manufacturers to design more flexibility into their machines and operator controls.

The general market trend toward increasingly individualised products has implications for paper cutting as well

“How quickly you can change over between batches, how efficiently you can operate the machine, and how easily it can be integrated into the overall printing workflow have all become critical factors. On top of this, in pursuit of fulfilling specific customer requirements, machines are growing closer and closer to being one-of-a-kind, custom designs.”

Looking at the BaumannWohlenberg range, Bamford picks out the 4-Cut-System Delta in particular, saying it offers “high productivity in combination with perfect ergonomics”.  The system can cut up to 20,000 sheets per hour, offering up to an 82 percent increase in efficiency, according to Friedheim.

Also in this range is the 4-Cut System Beta, which now includes new ergonomics to further boost production. For example, an autostart function for the handling equipment has been integrated into the cutter’s control, allowing the operator to concentrate on their cutting tasks.

Schneider Senator has developed an Advanced Power Cutting Control (PCC) Connect option that allows users to create cutting programs in advance

In terms of Schneider Senator, the company has developed an Advanced Power Cutting Control (PCC) Connect option, which Bamford says will be useful for firms with multi-shift operations. Cutting programs can be written in advance on an external computer, thereby helping keep downtimes to a minimum.

Safety first

Meanwhile, Morgana Systems provides finishing kit, including guillotines, to its customers around the world. Ray Hillhouse, vice-president offline business, says it is important to invest in a good quality machine for reasons of accuracy and safety.

Ray Hillhouse of Morgana Systems says that it is important to invest in quality guillotines for accuracy and safety

Hillhouse expands: “It goes without saying that the operation of such a potentially dangerous piece of equipment should be both easy and safe. The important thing for printers to bear in mind—considering the multiple uses of a guillotine both to cut white paper as well as to trim printed sheet—is that an unreliable device could bring your print business to a grinding halt.”

Hillhouse draws attention to some of the kit available from Morgana in this area, such as the collection of Uchida AeroCut multi-function finishing units. Hillhouse says these machines can effectively supplement the role performed by the traditional guillotine and provide much of the post-print cutting, and trimming services that a small, busy print producer might need.

The Flex mode of the AeroCut products allows users to cut multiple sizes of cards from a page and even add creases. Hillhouse says this can provide for fast and effective production, as well as save space and manpower.

Hillhouse adds: “Our EBA range of guillotines remain very popular with the 55cm 5560 unit our most popular seller. However, over the last year we have seen a sharp increase in sales of the 72cm machines largely because of the increased focus from digital print vendors on longer sheets sizes and applications.

“Another new introduction is the MPS long sheet stacker. With the increasing focus on longer sheets in digital applications, moving the sheets from the print engine to a guillotine or multifunction device can be a challenge.

“Morgana are now supplying a range of these MPS long sheet stackers, some of which can go inline with the print engine, others can simply stand alone, where sheets are collected, stacked and be simply wheeled around to the finishing device very easily.”

O Factoid: Aside from their use in print, other forms of guillotines have been put to a more gruesome use in the form of capital punishment. Frenchman and convicted felon Nicolas-Jacques Pelletier was the first person to be executed by a guillotine in April 1792. O

Casting the net further and Watkiss Automation is well placed to offer advice and solutions in this market. Paul Attew, sales director, says putting price before quality is almost “always a false economy” and encourages PSPs to think about their choice carefully.

Attew says: “Every printer understands that printing starts from the first cut and ends with the final cut. Paper must be cut accurately right at the start of the job - both accuracy and the consistency of cutting affects the final result of the printed work as well as the smoothness of the whole production process.

“Quality must be a key consideration when investing in paper cutting and it is one of the key reasons why our customers choose a MOHR guillotine.”

Available from Watkiss, the MOHR range includes guillotines in three different sizes: 56, 66 and 80cm. Each of these models is available in two versions—ECO and PLUS—to suit a customer’s requirements.

Attew says all of the MOHR guillotines feature a wide range of programming options, a machine frame with optimised stability to guarantee maximum cutting precision and Direct Positioning System for higher cutting accuracy.

Built-in safety features include a 20-channel infrared-light barrier, two-hand cut release, a transparent rear table cover, permanent surveillance of knife after-run and machine self-diagnosis showing inspection interval.

Attew adds: “Choosing the right machine will depend on sheet sizes, volumes and degree of automation that you need. It should deliver consistent accuracy, improved productivity, ease of use and have the flexibility to handle your current and future workloads.”

Reliability is key

Elsewhere, Intelligent Finishing Systems (IFS) specialises in the latter part of the print production process, providing customers with technology from a number of major manufacturers. Featured within its guillotine range is kit from Perfecta.

As is the case with all models in the Perfecta range at IFS, the Perfecta 115 TS guillotine features touchscreen control for enhanced usability

Bryan Godwyn, managing director of IFS, comments on this range: “The systems feature menu controlled LCD-displays with softkey operation for quick set up and easy creation and saving of cutting programmes.

Bryan Godwyn of IFS cites reliability as one of the key considerations when investing in guillotine kit

“The slotless Perfecta cutting table enables gentle stock handling and prevents paper dust or debris building up in the mechanical system. Its cladded surface of corrosion-free stainless steel protects the machine from wear and damage.

“The Perfecta ServoDrive guarantees precise positioning of the cutting material by a servo-based linear backgauge drive system. The knife-changing device with two-point support stabilises the knife and prevents unwanted movement.”

Turning his attention to the guillotine market as a whole, Godwyn sets out why it is so important for PSPs to invest properly in this type of kit: “Guillotines are traditionally one of the longest standing members of any bindery and as such it is vital they produce high quality results from day one. They must also be 100 percent reliable right through their working life.

“Once the life-long accuracy is engineered into the machine, printers should consider the benefits that technology brings to the process. Those looking to upgrade an aging system will notice huge differences in performance capabilities of today’s solutions thanks to their high level of automation.”

Invest wisely

Also well stocked with cutting technology is Terry Cooper Services (TCS). Dean Stayne, sales manager at the company, says usability should be a key factor when purchasing new guillotine kit for your company.

Making the right guillotine investment for your business reaps multiple benefits

Stayne expands: “When investing in a new guillotine, printers should consider speed, fast knife action, quick backgauge positioning, ease of use and quick set ups. As most PSPs don’t employ operators solely for a guillotine, a user-friendly solution is a must.

Dean Stayne of Terry Cooper Services says a good quality guillotine should last around 15 years

“A good quality, reliable guillotine should last an operation around 15 years. As such, you should shop around to get the best deal and take time out to visit recent installations. Aside from the health and safety aspects that come as standard, look at programmability and quick and easy knife changes, as well as the support and service offered by your supplier.”

TCS offers a range of both new and pre-owned guillotines, pledging to deliver affordable productivity. Within this collection is the CCM Premier high-speed production guillotine with CiP 4 network capability sizes from 78cm right up to 168cm.

CCM Premier guillotines from Terry Cooper Services offer two levels of programmability. Pictured: the new CCM Premier 115

Key features in the CCM Premier Plus range include high speed backguage, fast knife cycle, 15” colour touchscreen, quick set up times, large air side tables for easier paper handling, and auto knife function for repeat cutting.

Meanwhile, Stayne says the Graphcut range at TCS offers customers solutions that have a smaller footprint, with powerful, fully hydraulic clamp and knife action.

The Graphcut 73H machine has a maximum format of 730mm width x 730mm depth, while the smaller Grafcut 52H offers a maximum format of 520mm width x 520mm depth. Both models boast high cutting accuracy 0.1mm, with the 73H able to handle paper stock up to 100m and the 52H 80mm.

Elsewhere, the Challenge family includes the Titan 230 584mm programmable cutter, which offers 584mm cutting width and allows the operator to turn A3 parent sheet sizes inside the clamp opening. Other key benefits include fully programmable backgauge control with 99 channels, as well as variable mode data entry: fraction, decimal and metric.

Despite having been a key part of print production for many years, it is clear to see that development in the guillotines market is still ongoing, as manufacturers look to cater for the changing demand of print firms and their customers. When it comes to investing in a new machine, the evidence given here suggests that your requirements will be met. 

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