Earlier this month, the employees of Team Concept Printing in Carol Stream, IL (www.teamconceptprinting.com) had good reason to celebrate. Located 30 miles west of Chicago, the shop’s owners marked its 20th anniversary by hosting a company party at the nearby Arcada Theater’s speakeasy. The last year has been particularly rewarding for TCP, hiring more employees and adding equipment to keep up with an increase in business.
One of those key equipment buys was a rebuilt, 45-inch SABER® paper cutter with an automated Microcut® Plus electronics system from Colter & Peterson. It increased the finishing department’s arsenal to five trimming machines, which includes another 45-inch SABER that Team Concept bought new in 2015. Vince Manini, vice president of the award-winning commercial printer, said the paper cutters, along with his employees, are getting a workout while staying ahead of demand.
“We are finding growth in all areas. A year ago, we had just added wide format signage,” said Manini, who is partners in the business with Tony Rouse and counts printers, brokers, designers and marketing agencies as clients. “It took a little while to build that side of the business, but today it is just as strong as our conventional, digital and direct mail printing. Adding the SABER cutters opened the door to increasing our sales, especially with small runs.”
Manini credits the Microcut Plus system for helping improve the shop’s back-end productivity.
“It’s a couple of things that are making the difference. Having two SABER machines is great and we are able to be more consistent with our work. We have multiple operators who have learned how the Microcut system works. They can jump on either machine with ease at any time. That’s why our productivity has increased by at least 20 percent in the last year.”
As the crew at TCP has learned, Microcut Plus has several advantages. It saves time in pre-press by converting JDF files for set up. The 12-inch wide touch screen is easy to read and program. By memorizing cutting sequences, an enormous amount of time is saved from start to finish.
“About six months ago, one of the C&P technicians made a suggestion about the adjustable quick cut option on each machine,” recalled Manini. “It really helped when we increased our back gauge setting speed. It’s very quick and the operators have been maxing it out since.”
Manini said TCP uses a Komori Lithrone HUV-29 press to deliver work to the paper cutters, which run for two, eight-hour shifts five times a week and often on the weekends. They utilize the six-inch lift gate on each SABER cutter and typically cut five inches of material, including the short runs.
“Those machines are busier than a year ago and give us more flexibility since our jobs are so diversified. They cut any kind of paper or material, whether it is coated board, coated text or lightweight stocks. We’ll use our flatbed printer to run 100 pieces on a thicker or different stock like synthetic for some of our signage work. So instead of printing on a 12-inch by 18-inch sheet, we’ll run one big sheet, cut it in half and use the SABER to take it from there.”
Manini indicated an uptick in thermography may spell bigger things ahead for TCP.
“We’ve increased our level of work in raised print, and we’re doing a lot more foil and coating jobs,” he said. “We are looking to add a dimensional off-line coater, probably in the next six to eight months. If we do that, we will likely look to Colter & Peterson for another paper cutter.”