A leading manufacturer of signs, tags and labels for industrial safety identification, TEK I.D. (www.tekid.com) has earned the safety industry’s trust for producing reliable and long lasting products. Printed on multiple material layers – but not paper – company leaders recently turned to a trusted source to rectify a situation in their finishing area. That’s how a reconditioned 52” Lawson MPU paper cutter with Microcut®, from industry leader Colter & Peterson, was installed about two months ago. The early results are impressive.
“The Lawson is a big advantage for us and is doing very well,” noted Ken Frankenberger, TEK I.D.’s Production Manager. He started the North Wales, PA company – located on the northern outskirts of Philadelphia – in 1989 and has a long history with C&P equipment.
“I’ve had lots of their cutters over the years. Back in the 1980s, my mechanic had his own company. Tim Stites and his father Jack, were the best SABER cutter mechanics and they later sold to Colter & Peterson,” recalled Frankenberger.
“Before the Lawson was installed, we had two 30” Challenge cutters and one of them we purchased 10 years ago from C&P. Neither was big enough to handle the larger work we do now. We needed a programmed cutter and determined it would cost too much to retrofit. This machine is a heavy duty cutter and I prefer it over others.”
Look around any electrical utility, petrochemical and telecommunications equipment or property in the U.S. and Canada and you’ll likely encounter TEK I.D.’s products. Lockout, Confined Space and Danger signs, as well as bar-coded and transformer labels, scaffolding and inventory tags, and fleet graphics are often used outdoors and subjected to extreme weather. They also are designed to meet exact specifications, so there is little room for error.
“The product is specialized and engineered, such as multiple layers of polycarbonate with mylar or laminate printed over it,” said Frankenberger. “For a short term product like lockout tags, we use a UV inhibitor. With outdoor signage and vehicle markings, we’ll use vinyls, polyethylene and reflective materials. That way, you can extend the product’s life anywhere from 10-25 years.”
Although the majority of TEK I.D.’s jobs is offset or screen printed, Frankenberger says more digital work is flowing through the shop.
“We use our Roland presses for smaller runs,” he said, indicating they handle jobs ranging from 500 pieces up to the 75,000-100,000. “Most of the digital work is printed on vinyls with reflective materials, and we needed a machine strong enough and accurate to cut it.”
Having the ability to trim those types of materials is how the Lawson is proving to be vital to their needs.
“We use rollout material on large sheets. Seventy five percent is custom work and the remainder is from our stock product line,” informed Frankenberger, one of 18 employees at the 15,000 square-foot operation. Primarily, two people operate the cutters and two others are trained to work on them.
“The Lawson gives us more flexibility and the Microcut Basic program is fine for us,” he said, while talking about the automated system that boosts productivity by 50% or more. “It gives us the ability to store and recall cuts, and we are now cutting 4-5 times faster than before. When we do tags, we can cut them in multiple sets of 5-8 up. Before the Lawson, we used to do them one cut setting at a time.”
Frankenbeger mentioned there are other reasons why he still prefers Colter & Peterson.
“I like them. They have the parts we need, they know their stuff and they are the best in the business,” he summed up. “They sent their own mechanic to set up the Lawson, and he spent a day or two with us to make sure everything was right. We also use their sister company (Tri State Knife Grinding) for sharpening our knives. Everything has worked out real well for us.”