By Melissa Donovan
Cutting, slitting, and trimming are necessary functions for any printing environment. While single-function devices are offered, multi-function devices are popular. Features on both configurations evolve to address the current needs of digital print providers, which include efficiency and the ability to work cleanly with different types of substrates. Additional functions sometimes found on these devices further enhance efficiency, providing more options in addition to traditional cutting, slitting, and/or trimming capabilities.
Technology continues to advance on cutters, slitters, and trimmers. Mainly, this occurs thanks to demand from digital print service providers (PSPs) that generate varied applications in short runs. They look for cost-effective solutions that can deliver on print buyers’ versatile requests.
“New introductions in the area of post-print sheet processing are robust enough to handle higher volumes while being uniquely designed to meet the requirements of today’s short-run digital space. Versatility, ease of operation, and quick set up with minimal makeready are essential in today’s market and separate these new products from traditional finishing offerings,” shares Bob Flinn, director, business development, Standard.
Looking at single-function cutters, Dan Charwath, associate product manager, GBC, part of Acco Brands, believes these solutions are evolving to make a print provider’s operation more productive without sacrificing safety. “Many higher end cutters have a push out feature and optical safety shield to ensure that the operator does not need to come anywhere near the blade. We are seeing a movement toward full programmability to ensure operators can quickly and easily make whatever cut they need for large or frequent jobs with limited set up and operator intervention,” he adds.
According to Kevin Chen, product manager, Duplo USA, the newest multi-function cutting devices are designed to optimize workflows, reduce downtime, and utilize labor effectively. “These all-in-one solutions slit the margins, cut the gutters, and perform creases on documents such as invitations, greeting cards, and brochures—in a single pass. With only one device, users can trim the white borders and crease the fold lines to prevent toner cracking,” he offers.
There is a need to reduce labor and more importantly limit the handling of the product being finished. “This has made it necessary to design products that can perform multiple functions and be adaptable to run inline with other equipment from various vendors,” explains Janice Benanzer, president/CEO, Baumfolder Corporation.
Chris Van Pelt, president, Therm-O-Type Corp., believes that multi-function devices were designed specifically to start and finish digitally printed output. “The real drivers to improving this technology are to upgrade these machines to increase productivity, reliability, reduce cost of ownership, expand product size flexibility, improve accuracy, and increase the number of finishing operations that can be added in one pass.”
“The technology has evolved by consolidating numerous finishing processes into one machine equipped to handle multiple functions, saving print shops outsourcing, time, and money. These solutions offer pre-set templates for the most common jobs run in the industry,” say Max Allen, dealer manager, U.S. Midwest; Steve Allen, president; and Jeff Jarrett, sales and technical support, Graphic Whizard.
Beyond the Cut
Besides cutting, slitting, or trimming, many devices include additional functions. Digital PSPs can operate one solution with multiple features instead of using a separate machine for each. Learning how to run each piece of hardware and having that same hardware take up room in the shop is a challenge of the past.
The newest solutions incorporate functions like perforating, creasing, scoring, hole punch, and blind emboss. This means even more applications are possible with one finishing device. “With more automated setup, these all-in-one solutions make short work of business cards, greeting cards, invitations, brochures, pamphlets, catalogs, posters, book/CD covers, photographs, and tent cards,” explain Allen, Allen, and Jarrett.
For example, Graphic Whizard’s PT 335SCC Multi features interchangeable creasing/perforating dies, allowing operators to quickly switchover from perforating to creasing while preventing digital toner cracking. With strike perf capabilities, the device can achieve partial perforations in both directions.
MBM Corporation’s Aerocut Velocity offers creasing and perforating in addition to slitting and cutting. Channel creasing allows the machine to crease on digitally printed stocks. Creasing pressure can be adjusted in five levels instantly. An optional perforating unit is inside the machine as well.
Guillo-Crease from Polar-Mohr can transform a hydraulic cutter from the company into a creasing machine. According Bob Conboy, product manager, Polar-Mohr, the operator attaches a creasing rule onto the guillotine clamp and replaces the cutting stick with a creasing stick. “Thanks to the force of the clamping bar, almost any material can be perfectly creased,” he adds.
Standard’s Horizon SmartSlitter SMSL-100 incorporates perforating and creasing in addition to cutting, slitting, and trimming. Interchangeable cassettes allow for the creation of business cards, invitations, raffle tickets, coupons, greeting cards, table tents, postcards, direct mail pieces, labels, as well as photobooks.
Therm-O-Type’s Zip-TS2L Mark IV not only cuts and slits, but also offers unique capabilities like hole punching, bindery hole punching, and blind embossing.
Whether announced at drupa 2016 this past Spring, or in the last year, several finishing manufacturers offer new cutting, slitting, and trimming solutions. We’ve noted whether these are single- or multi-function devices.
The Baum 20 VFM Versatile Finishing Modules from Baumfolder is a multi-function product that offers slitting, perforating, scoring, micro-perforating, knock out perforation, timed perforating, edge trimming, center trimming, gutter trimming, and timed slitting. It targets mid- to high-volume segments. It’s unique in that it can be used inline with multiple products and perforates, scores, and slits in multiple directions.
Colter & Peterson offers single-function Prism, PrismPC, and Saber cutters. All are equipped with Microcut computer controls—like Microcut Plus WS, which is designed to automate back gauge movement on any paper cutter. “Microcut memorizes cutting sequences so that it can recall prior jobs and save time while allowing the operator freedom to do other work,” explains Richard Peereboom, sales manager, Colter & Peterson.
Duplo’s DC-746, DC-646, and DC-616 Slitter/Cutter/Creasers are multi-function devices that are also available with the option of adding start/stop perforations across the length of a sheet. The product line is designed for mid-range volume environments. Differentiating features include the Duplo PC Controller, which helps with layout and setting up jobs for simplicity and ease of use.
GBC offers its single-function ProCut Series cutters, which include the 17-inch 17P and 20-inch 20P models. The solutions target the mid-volume market with a price point starting at $3,865. Features include fully electric operation, full programmability, LED optical cut lines, and a light curtain safety shield.
Graphic Whizard’s newest product is the PT 335SCC Multi, a multi-function slitter, cutter, and creaser. Aimed for mid- to high-volume segments, the solution is priced at $28,850 MSRP with optional accessories available at an additional cost. The finishing device has the ability to compensate for image shrink and stretch.
MBM recently announced the new Aerocut Velocity, a multi-function device that slits, cuts, creases, and is equipped with a perforating unit. Positioned for the mid-volume market, a standout feature is Flex Mode—which allows operators to cut multiple size cards from a page and add the desired number of creases.
The Polar D 115 hydraulic cutter debuted at drupa 2016. A single-function device, it is designed for mid- to high-cutting volumes. It features high cutting accuracy due to the Polar Positioning System DPS and electronic hand wheel. Polar-Mohr’s Digicut ECO is a multi-function device that including cutting, perforating, grooving, engraving, and kiss cutting. It is ideal for runs of one to several hundreds and sample making.
Rollem International offers a variety of multi-function slit/score/perf solutions for digital print environments. For example, its 2D Advantage Finishing System features scoring heads designed to eliminate toner cracking on most digital stocks, as well as slitting and cutting blades to deliver accuracy. The device also comes standard with perforating heads.
Standard Horizon’s SmartSlitter SMSL-100 was introduced in Chicago, IL at the Graph Expo 2015 trade show, but made its international debut at drupa this Spring. The multi-function device offers slitting, cross cutting, gutter cutting, creasing, scoring, perforation, skip perforation, kiss slitting, business card stacking, T perforation, and L perforation. It is ideal for mid-range applications, but thanks to heavy-duty construction, performs well on longer runs too. The SmartSlitter SMSL-100 is available fully featured, as opposed to being built from the ground up to meet users’ needs with individual options.
From Therm-O-Type, the RAS-mc right angle slitter offers slitting, scoring, and perforating as a multi-function device. With a base price of $67,000, it targets mid- and high-volume environments. Using quick change tooling cassettes, product size changes can be completed in less than two minutes. The Zip-TS2L Mark IV digital finishing machine offers multiple functions as well, including cross cut, perforation, scoring, inline slitting, semi slit, hole punch, blind emboss, die cut, bindery hole punch, and T and L perimeter perforation. Designed for low- to mid-volume environments it is offered at a base price of $84,900.
Cut, Slit, and Trim
Digital PSPs look for efficient devices to move jobs through the shop. Many finishing devices targeting digital production environments offer multiple functions to improve productivity and versatility. dps
Oct2016, DPS Magazine