With summer winding down, the holiday season has just begun for Bob Shevlin and the employees at Edaron, Inc. The stretch from now through December is the busiest time of the year for the Holyoke, Mass. manufacturer of board and card games and jigsaw puzzle pieces. The addition of a new press is making the 2017 installation of a Colter & Peterson (www.papercutters.com) 54-inch SABER® paper cutter with a Microcut® electronics package even more effective in getting product out the door faster.
The product manager and a 21-year veteran of the company, Shevlin managed the purchase, delivery and installation of the Powerpress 2000 that arrived at the end of May. The 30-ton press was up and running by mid-June, and the key feature is its ability to cut 2000 pieces all at one time.
And just in time. Edaron, a turnkey subcontractor for major retail accounts such as Amazon, Walmart, Target, Kohl’s and others, is tasked with satisfying increased demand for the upcoming season. The 150 employees handle the printing and conversion before shipping the finished product to distribution centers throughout North America. The company’s two shifts a day, five days a week schedule recently switched to six days a week with extended shifts. It will be that way until nearly mid-December.
“The new press is running fabulous and is averaging 2000 cuts per shift,” informed Shevlin. “Previously, we had to run clamshell and secondary material through another press before we cut it to size, laminated it and then cut it on press. This press removes those extra steps. Our projections showed that orders for 1500 and 2000 piece sets were going to increase, so it made the need for this press even greater.”
The Powerpress 2000, manufactured in Spain and delivered by boat through customs in New Jersey before being loaded on a truck for the trip north, is the perfect complement for the SABER cutting system. A durable workhorse, the SABER was installed in April, 2017 and is already battle tested.
“We bought it from Colter & Peterson. They also do preventive maintenance on our other two cutters (a similar size Polar and a 52-inch Lawson). It’s a very sturdy machine and with the double arm action, it allows us to cut different substrates and 5 or 6 inches of material at a time,” says Shevlin. “Our goal last year was to increase productivity by 25-30 percent and the SABER exceeded our expectations. Now with the Powerpress working in tandem with it, we expect even better results.”
So far, they are off to a great start. Last season, the Edaron crew would laminate puzzle images to the chipboard, then use the SABER to cut the printed material and prepare it for converting. With the new press taking on that responsibility, the SABER is being used to cut labels, boxes and squares for popular card games like Slam! and In a Pickle.
“We did research to find the right cutting system before buying the SABER. It is 54-inches wide and 58-inches deep, so it gives us more room to work with. For example, we had to make extra cuts with our older cutters but not with this machine,” remarked Shevlin.
“We can also change the maximum clamping pressure. It saves us time because the Microcut software gives you the opportunity to compensate either side. The CIP3 and CIP4 file capability also saves time on repeat cuts, sheet size changes or creating a new programs for future use.”
Shevlin said the puzzle market continues to be red-hot. Producing new products such as sports teams’ championship puzzles for Amazon, online distributors and others has pumped new life into the industry.
“We produce millions of puzzles every year and many are packaged as 5-in-1 products,” he explained. “The SABER is so flexible we use it for a variety of printed materials. We cut 13-inch by 13-inch labels to size, then use it to trim box wraps in several different sizes. They range from 6-inches by 6-inches and 2 inches deep, up to 10-inches by 12-inches and between 2 to 3-1/2 inches deep. The ease of using the machine is a huge factor for us because it cuts between 7000-8000 boxes per shift. It has greatly helped us improve our production process on the back end.”