|Horizon Cutter Breaks Bottleneck
The need for speed prompted Alphagraphics' Sheffield print franchise to install a Horizon APC-61II 61cm fully-automated programmable hydraulic guillotine from GAE.
"We wanted more production and greater accuracy with the new guillotine," explained owner John White who opened the Sheffield franchise in 1999.
He adds: "Now we get through a lot more jobs and it means there isn't a bottleneck at the guillotine any more. It has given us an ease of operation we hadn't enjoyed before."
Printing both litho and digital work, the business has to ensure it can meet tight turnround times for a customer base which includes national and local government bodies and educational establishments as well as local business and commerce. Work includes everything from brochures, folders, pads and leaflets to posters.
In the Horizon's favour was its easy-to-use icon-based touch-screen with 99 job memory (and 99 steps per job), and functions that include even divide cutting, total cutting, repeat cutting and compressing. A servo-motor driven backgauge assures accurate positioning and the centre-driven backgauge system is completely dustproof to ensure accurate performance. The clamping pressure is adjustable and knife angle and cutting depth adjustments are easily made from the front.
The decision followed detailed research of the options available: "We looked across the market because in this format there is a lot of choice," says Mr White. "We settled on the Horizon because it's so robust and it represented the best value for money. The touchscreen was one of the best we looked at and it has made operation quite a lot faster. We can store jobs now and use them for repeat work which has improved the workflow and increased productivity."
The amount of automation was not the only deciding factor states Mr White: "Another aspect of the machine for us is that it is fully compliant with Health and Safety legislation, and that is very important. Legislation changes so quickly but this machine will be compliant for many years to come."
For maximum safety, the APC-61II is activated only when the two cut buttons are operated simultaneously within a half of a second of each other. If either of the two buttons is released during the cutting sequence, the knife automatically returns to the home position.
All these features helped to meet the needs of the operation which is seeing an increase in demand for personalised and short-run work 60% of which, despite the continued growth of digital print, is still printed offset litho.
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