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Back to Basics


Under-investment in finishing kit risks undoing all of your hard work in the printing process. With this in mind, Rob Fletcher looks at some of the latest guillotine technologies

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Investing in finishing equipment is just as important

Cut to the point

Print-service-providers (PSPs) with finishing lines in place will know just how much work goes into this part of the print production process. You could produce a fantastic-looking piece of print, but if your finishing kit is not up to scratch, you could end up with a shoddy end product.

For this reason, investment in quality finishing kit is key. While this is true across the board in finishing, one of the most critical components of this part of production for PSPs is the guillotine. Under-investment here could cause all sorts of issues with the final product, be it messy edges or inaccurate cutting.

With this in mind, what should you be looking for when investing in a new guillotine? We speak to some of the leading suppliers in this market to find out more about the latest solutions on offer.

Reliable investment

Intelligent Finishing Systems (IFS) supplies a range of BaumannPerfecta guillotines in the UK market. Eric Keane, managing director at IFS, says all machines in this portfolio, from the BaumannPerfecta 80 to the BaumannPerfecta 225 can be used as stand-alone machines, or in combination with BaumannPerfecta automation modules, as part of a complete cutting system.

“Cutting programming is intuitively managed via a menu-guided touch screen, covering a variety of cutting jobs: single cut, programme cut, repeat cut, clamping without cut, automatic actual-value transfer,” Keane says, adding: “Systems can be optionally equipped with CIP data module CutTronic or CutTronic Plus and adapted to individual requirements thanks to numerous options available.
Supplied in the UK by IFS, all models in the BaumannPerfecta range can be used as stand-alone machines or in combination with BaumannPerfecta automation modules

“Open interfaces and data formats offer the possibility of a connection to almost any MIS system. In addition, the optional software Straight 2 Cut and Straight 2 Cut Plus ensure the opening of cutting programs directly at the cutter by means of a barcode scanner – cutting 4.0 with BaumannPerfecta.”

Taking into account ongoing development and new innovation with guillotine technology, Keane says there are a number of key factors to look out for when purchasing a machine. One of these is touchscreen operation, which he says allows for quick set ups, while a programmable memory enables short-run fast turnaround jobs to be completed efficiently.

O Factoid: BaumannPefecta recently announced the world’s first fully automated feeding, jogging and cutting system for commercial printers, allowing finished end products to be fully automatically cut O

“This is increasingly important for binderies managing shorter runs and tighter deadlines,” Keane says, adding: “Saving minutes per job can quickly add up and dramatically impact capacity. New systems will also more assuredly comply with health and safety regulations offering peace of mind.

“We find most still consider the substrates being cut, the accuracy tolerances required, sheet size, as well as footprint, paper handling and operational feedback. They are also looking at how good is the brand and its pedigree is and what spare parts back up will they have.

As guillotines are traditionally one of the longest standing members of any bindery, it is vital they produce high quality results from day one

“As guillotines are traditionally one of the longest standing members of any bindery, it is vital they produce high quality results from day one. To ensure this they must be 100% reliable throughout their working life.”

Market research

Elsewhere and TCS Finishing Solutions also has a number of guillotine options on offer to the market. Dean Stayne, head of sales at TCS, says when it comes to purchasing a machine of this kind, print companies should take a number of things into account.
TCS Finishing Solutions stocks a range of guillotines, including models from the CCM Premier heavy duty collection

“You should do your market research on the suppliers, their after sales service, all the safety features on the guillotine and spare parts availability,” Stayne says, adding: “When talking to suppliers, visit some of the guillotine installations and ask the company that purchased the guillotine direct questions regarding reliability, operator features and after sales response times and servicing costs.

“This is important as purchasing a guillotine from a supplier that doesn’t have technicians and a back-up service could become costly in the longer term.”

In terms of the solutions available from TCS, Stayne notes that the company has seen an upturn in demand for large guillotines, specifically machines sized between 1,370mm and 1,680mm. This, he says, is down to an increase in the number of print companies taking on larger-format and packaging work.

“This has also led to a rise in the handling equipment such as the stackists and loading and unloading devices that go with the larger sheet size and materials that need to be cut,” he says.

TCS also supplies the Grafcut range of guillotines, which range in size from 520mm up to 730mm. These devices are supplied as electric models and hydraulic models, with the latter of these offering both hydraulic knife and clamping action.

“We have many installations to make a good opinion on how these guillotines have been reliable to mostly digital printers and general printers,” Stayne says, adding: “The machines come as standard with a 4” colour screen, while an air table on the bigger 730mm size is a standard feature. All the spare parts are also kept in the UK at our head office.”

Ease of automation

Meanwhile, Friedheim International has recently announced new developments for the BaumannPerfecta range of solutions, specifically BASS, an automated cutting and jogging solution billed as the first of its kind anywhere in the world.

Supplied in the UK by Friedheim International, the new BaumannPerfecta BASS solution is billed as the first automated cutting and jogging solution of its kind in the world

“With the introduction of the world’s first and only fully automatic jogging and cutting system, BaumannPerfecta sets new standards in post press,” BaumannPerfecta says.

Manufactured in Germany and distributed by Friedheim in the UK, the BASS system can be operated on BaumannPerfecta’s high-speed cutters ranging from the 115 model, up to the 168 option.

The system works whereby the pallet feeder loads into the jogger, and after jogging has been completed, the material is moved down the first guillotine via robotic handling. The first guillotine in this configuration is positioned perpendicular to the second for what the manufacturer described as the “most streamline cutting process”, as there is no need to rotate the stock. The cut paper is then collated in the delivery area.

“Precision and performance characterise the BaumannPerfecta high-speed cutters,” the manufacturer says, adding: “When cutting in automation, the robot not only takes over the tasks of the operator. Thanks to the intelligent control unit, it also stands for sensitive touch, thus guaranteeing always perfect cutting results.

“Besides the effect that you may use your staff more effectively thanks to automatic cutting, the BASS system has been optimised for the careful use of resources. State-of-the-art drive technology and the use of energy-saving technologies stand for lowest possible consumption values.”

The BASS 115 model has a strip length range of between 300mm to 1,100mm, a stack height of 130mm and a cycle time of 25 seconds. The BASS 132 option has a slightly wider strip length range of 300mm to 1,300mm, the same stack height and cycle time, while the larger BASS 168 offers a strip length range of 300mm to 1,600mm and also the same stack height and cycle time.

Friedheim International is an agent for the Postpress Alliance manufacturers and recently held private demonstrations of the new kit during the Postpress Alliance Cutting Theme Days.

Ease of use

Casting the net a little further and Morgana has a number of options available, including its own solutions and models from further afield. Ray Hillhouse, vice president of sales and marketing for the Plockmatic Group Offline Business Unit, says when investing in a new guillotine, users should look out for certain features.

“For the traditional guillotine the inclusion of a light-beam guarding for the front table area is an important safety feature in modern machines, along with the ability to store and retrieve multiple cutting programs,” Hillhouse says.
“As with the vast majority of products, a touch screen interface is often seen as the preferred way for operators to interact with a product. Tablet style displays are becoming the norm with new high-end guillotine equipment, offering a familiar interface to the younger generation.

“Ease of use is an important attribute, as in many print shops staff are expected to switch roles and be masters of many pieces of equipment – from pre-press through to the final delivery of work.”

Looking at Morgana’s range and while traditionally demand was for the 55cm guillotine, in the shape of the EBA 5260 unit, in the last three years, there have been many more sales of 66 and 72cm machines.

The latest guillotine in the EBA is the THE 560 machine, which features a 15.6” multi-touch control screen and has a cutting width of 560mm with a stack height of 80mm.

THE 560, the latest machine from EBA and available from Morgana, has a cutting width of 560mm with a stack height of 80mm

Morgana now supplies the Mohr range of heavier duty hydraulic units in 56cm, 66cm and 80cm cut sizes, either as a three-phase unit or single-phase machine. All three sizes are supplied in ECO or PLUS models, with the ECO model controlled by a 5.5” touchscreen and the PLUS model a colour 18.5” touchscreen.

In terms of multi-function finishing equipment, Morgana’s AutoCut Pro is able to handle paper weights from 120 to 350gsm, whilst sheet sizes can range from 210 x 210mm to 330 x 700mm in length. Running at speeds of up to 5,000 sheets per hour on standard creasing applications, a typical run of 250 business cards can be finished in less than two minutes.

The AeroCut Nano is the entry-level model for cutting and slitting operations, the AeroCut One will cut and slit and also includes a creasing blade and matrix to crease digitally printed stocks. In addition, the AeroCut Prime comes equipped with barcode reading for quick job recall and automatic setting of the cutters.

While cutting is one of the oldest parts of the finishing process, it remains a critical part of production for print companies. Manufacturers continue to respond with exciting new developments that will make printed work look even sharper.

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