Family owned and operated Philipp Litho of Grafton, Wisconsin has relied on a skilled workforce, sound management principles and high quality equipment since 1913. A heavyweight supplier in the corrugated industry, a recent equipment purchase is typical of their track record. Looking to handle larger work for their customer base, they upgraded by removing three smaller paper cutters in favor of two new and larger Colter & Peterson SABER® XXL cutters that were installed last month.
As North America’s largest independent distributor of paper cutters and paper handling equipment, Colter & Peterson also has an admirable history that dates back to 1932. C&P has supplied Philipp Litho (www.philipplitho.com) for a significant period of time, and this latest deal involved replacing two 65” and one 80” cutters with 75” and 110” SABER units.
“We’ve known Colter & Peterson a long time. They’ve sold and serviced our paper cutters for many years,” recalled Peter Buening, President & CEO of Philipp Litho. “Our old cutters did a good job but they required constant upkeep and repair work. We’ve been pushing more work through them but it was time to find machines that are more efficient and dependable. I read good things about the SABER line, how fast and accurate it is, so I talked to Bruce Peterson about replacing our 80” cutter with a new SABER XXL 110”. We then discussed replacing our 65” cutters with a SABER XXL 75” machine, which was available and he offered a good deal.”
The majority of Philipp Litho’s production today is short run work for packaging and a P-O-P segment that continues to grow. Counting major beer and beverage and consumer product companies as part of a coast-to-coast customer base, the work is primarily for retail and big box stores with runs usually averaging 3,000-10,000 per job.
Philipp Litho is located about 20 miles north of downtown Milwaukee. Its plant and presence in the large format print market is impressive considering all of the industry changes that have taken place since big local players like WA Krueger, Moebius and Arandell ruled the market.
“When I first started in the printing industry in the early 70’s, we were small but had our niche in the marketplace. We specialized in printing for the cut and stack label market on our large format presses and printing large sheets for the P-O-P industry,” remarked Buening, whose company has 65 employees.
“Our niche flourished as we added high technology presses offering faster make-readies and running speeds, and overall much better quality. We moved into printing large size cut and stack labels for the corrugated industry, and with the development of large box stores and the demand for high graphics packaging, it was a sure formula for success.”
Buening said the internet soon changed demand for commercial printing and the large web printers became consolidated through mergers and acquisitions. The digital age had a major impact on their future. “In the end, we became one of the largest printers in the Milwaukee area by investing in technology and developing a niche that is still very successful today. Colter & Peterson has provided the right kind of new technology to make our cutting department run much more efficiently.”
The SABER cutters are a perfect complement to Philipp Litho’s three KBA and one Heidelberg presses in use, ranging from 41” to 81” in size. Regarded as a true workhorse machine, both of the SABERs have a computerized Microcut® system with the newest electronics. Buening said the automated system is lightning fast and makes his operators more productive by guiding the back gauge into position for each and every trim. He also finds an advantage with the blade delivering highly accurate cuts within 1/64 of an inch.
“Microcut gives our guys the ability to do more today than before. It has many good features and is very easy to use,” said Buening. “Bruce asked us if we liked anything else from the old cutters, so we had him add table extensions to the new machines. They reduce the wear and tear on our guys by making it easier to offload material onto the skid. With the old machines, the sheets had to be rolled over. Our people are more productive by removing that function.”