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Be Safe And Productive

October 1999
Safety and efficiency are the key factors to consider when trying to find the best cutter

for your in-plant.

by CHRIS BAUER

THE SAFETY of your in-plant employees must be a priority for you as a manger. Especially vulnerable to injury are operators of paper cutting equipment. So to ensure that no injuries occur in your shop, make sure you bring in equipment that is safe.

"Safety has always been number one with Polar," stresses Rob Kuehl, product manager for Heidelberg's Polar Cutting Systems division. He notes that all new Polar customers and operators must go through a safety training program put on by the vendor. All Polar equipment also meets both German and American safety standards, Kuehl adds.

"We demand dealers provide operator training and confirm it has been completed with a signature on the warrantee card," says Robb Gould, vice president of marketing and sales for Challenge Machinery. The company also uses outside sources to test the safety and reliability of its equipment, Gould explains.

Backgauge covers, safety light curtains, knife cycle safeties, time delays on the cut buttons, clamp pressure safeties, warning labels and operator instruction are all ways vendors say they are making paper cutting safer.

While safety is vital, the job still has to get done quickly and efficiently. Gould, of Challenge Machinery, notes that vendors are constantly looking for ways to automate the cutting process. This is especially important for smaller shops, he says, which may have less-experienced operators. With advances in automation on Challenge equipment, Gould jokes, "even the sales staff can use it."

Accessories like joggers and paper lifts will raise production in your shop, says Heidelberg's Kuehl. It will also boost the morale of your staff, he predicts, as heavy lifting is eliminated and setup times are trimmed down.

"It motivates employees because they are no longer lifting paper to the equipment," Kuehl explains. "Hours of prep time is cut to minutes and it keeps the knife moving."

A cutter is a piece of equipment that should probably last forever if maintained properly, advises Kuehl. This means it will have to be able to handle an increase in work if business soars somewhere down the road. So Kuehl recommends managers do some research and workflow projections before making a purchase.

"You don't just go out and buy a car," Kuehl points out. "You look for the features you like and think what you want it to have." The same goes for buying a new cutter, he maintains, so it is a purchase that will be with your shop for years to come.
 

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