There are many reasons why E & T Plastics is one of top plastics distributors and components manufacturers in North America. Making the right call on equipment decisions to keep themselves unique to the industry and their customers is one of them.
When Tom Tuckey made the decision to expand the Blaine, Minnesota facility’s capability to cut large plastic sheets in June 2016, he purchased a new 137-inch SABER® XT paper cutter with Microcut® electronics from Colter & Peterson, North America’s largest independent distributor of paper cutters and paper handling equipment. He’s confident it was the right decision.
“We are extremely satisfied with the SABER cutter and have not had any issues with it,” stated Tuckey, Midwest Regional Manager and a 23-year company veteran. “We knew going into buying the machine what applications we would use it for. It has done and is doing exactly what we hoped it would do.”
Tuckey did his homework and zoned in on the SABER XT because he wanted a cutting machine that would differentiate his company in the market. A double bevel blade gives his two operators the ability to trim 10-foot long plastic sheets, ranging from clear PETG and polycarbonate to styrene, vinyl and more.
“We would not be able to do what we do without having the double bevel blade. It makes cutting our materials a very smooth process,” he said. “I like the high accuracy (within 1/64th of an inch) it offers and it is as accurate as it gets. That’s because the pusher bar is not static and you can move it forward or back. The blade makes a good first cut and leaves a nice, smooth edge to it.”
Another advantage is the blades are durable. “We’ve changed the blades in the two years we’ve had it, but not very often,” he says. “The machine tells you when it’s time to have them replaced.”
Tuckey’s 20,000 square-foot facility in Blaine is on the north side of the Twin Cities and one of nine E&T Plastics owns. He manages 18 employees, which includes those at the plant in Chicago. The Minnesota operation handles work for domestic customers, as well as a few in Canada, while operating one shift, five days a week.
“We sell substrates and work with distributors in Canada,” he indicated. “In many cases, we ship sheets direct to the customers.”
Tuckey says only two other companies in the region have cutters that can cut plastic in-house like his machine. Ironically, the others have different SABER models.
“Our machine is very efficient. With clear PETG sheets, we trim thickness levels anywhere between .005” to .080” gauge. Styrene is a different material and depending on the sheet thickness, we can cut up to 2 inches of material at a time. This is where the double bevel blade is a true benefit, and it doesn’t matter if we cut 20 sheets or 200 at a time.”
As the industry continues to grow and the demand for plastic products keeps increasing, the ability to deliver something new creates a greater sense of urgency and more opportunities.
“Our volume has been steady while running larger jobs, and we are filling more orders for fluted polypropylene,” informed Tuckey. A versatile, economic and durable material, it is lighter than wood or PVC and is UV and moisture resistant. Tuckey says it makes an excellent choice for interior and exterior signage, and unique jobs with digital print specifications.
“A fluted sheet looks like cardboard material but it is plastic. We’ve been shearing quite a bit of it this year. One customer orders large amounts of 30-by-40-inch jobs that we ship on pallets in half containers. The SABER XT with Microcut makes it very effective for us to do this type of work.”