Consumers today are driving the marketplace in more ways than one. They latch onto and drive sales for a product that is marketed and promoted a specific way, such as an interesting or unique P-O-P display. Others take notice and it becomes a trend, which then kicks in the vicious cycle of trying to continuously one-up the competition.
Ambassador Press in Minneapolis (www.ambpress.com) does exceptional work printing in-store signage and P-O-P displays for well-known, name brand retailers. With sizes increasing in recent years to break through the clutter and attract the attention of shoppers, they have adapted to stay ahead of the industry curve. The latest move to support their three digital large format presses was to install a SABER X-15 paper cutter with Microcut® from Colter & Peterson, which stretches the limits with a width of 141 inches.
“The maximum sheet size we currently run is 126 inches, and the SABER machine has performed well since was installed it in mid-February,” remarked Trevor Nielson, Ambassador’s plant manager. “We typically cut sheets that are 100 to 124 inches wide. Being able to turn a sheet of that size without the added handling and unloading has proven to be a productivity booster.”
Ambassador Press is a family owned company that opened for business in 1960. It is now run by the third generation brother and sister duo of Harold Engle and Candice Fieldman, who employ 150 full-time people and operate from an 85,000 square-foot facility. Their clientele line-up is diverse and strong, sending work throughout the U.S. and Canada for local and national retailers.
The trend for larger cutting devices began in late 2015 and escalated in the first half of 2016. A printer with a 141-inch paper cutter is operating in rare air, meaning most printers can’t compete against it. When Ambassador ordered its SABER last June, they needed a larger unit to support three smaller paper cutters and two CAD cutting machines. Until it was built and installed, Nielson said C&P provided a loaner cutter, a 100-inch rebuilt Seybold. It allowed them to get work done, and the workload pace rose significantly once the SABER X-15 arrived.
“It’s the capacity factor for us with the SABER. We were are now able to take our straight cut work from the digital cutters, essentially doubling our capacity,” said Neilson, a 17-year industry veteran who joined Ambassador Press two years ago.
Like other large format printers, Ambassador is learning how reliable SABER paper cutters are when it comes to trimming different and difficult material. In tandem with the integrated Microcut computer control system, it trims many more sheets in a fraction of the time compared to the digital cutting process that can only trim one sheet at a time.
“The size, thickness and the material type of our P-O-P displays varies widely,” informed Neilson. “In a typical day we trim 20 mil styrene and 4 mm Coroplast, as well as corrugated E-Flute. The high-end displays we produce are complex with added layers and graphics to grab the attention of shoppers. The SABER handles it all.”
Nielsen likes the exceptional benefits that come with the SABER, starting with the improved productivity and programmable features with a user-friendly interface that his five cutting operators picked up on right away. And there are the safety features.
“We typically see production runs in the 30 to 100 sheet range, but we might have to go 140-up on a sheet. The results aren’t even close compared to our digital cutting workflow of one piece at a time,” laughed Neilson.
“We like having the large capacity and the large variety of substrates it can accurately cut, but the safety of machine is amazing. The sensing device is great to have, and it’s been great to have a hydraulic system that allows us to stop mid-cut and back the knife off in reverse with the flip of a switch. There is no longer a need to continue the cut cycle if the cut is interrupted, or you realize the parameters were incorrect.”