Safety Concerns Drive Cutter Upgrade
Convincing a parent organization that the time is right to update legacy equipment can often prove to be difficult, given tight budgets and stringent measuring sticks used for the justification of a purchase. But in the case of the Richland School District (RSD) Print Shop, it was a simple matter of employee safety.
Chelle Palmer, manager of the Richland, Wash.-based in-plant, had been experiencing electrical issues with the facility’s 19˝ cutter. So she decided to do a little troubleshooting herself and visited the manufacturer’s website to explore possible solutions to remedy the cutter, which had been in service for 21 years. That was when Palmer made an alarming discovery.
“A safety bulletin had been issued on the valves of the cutter,” Palmer explains. “The bulletin noted that the valves can give out at any time and the blade drops randomly. The bulletin noted one case where an employee lost fingers. So we did a lock out/tag out immediately and quit using it.”
Palmer mobilized and immediately made plans to replace the cutter, which the shop used on a daily basis to serve 16,000 students across 16 elementary, middle and high school locations. The RSD sent out requests for bids to four different manufacturers and narrowed the field to two before choosing the Challenge Titan 265TC, a 26.5˝ unit. The Print Shop augmented the purchase by adding an air table and extra-large side tables for stacking jobs.
Palmer loves the computerized automation of the new cutter; the previous machine required users to wheel the clamp by hand to the desired measurement. The air table makes the process infinitely easier, pushing the heavy pages along.
Cost and service factored into the decision to go with Challenge. The distributor, GWI, scrapped out the old cutter at no cost to RSD, saving the shop money on hiring a rigging company. The cutter was installed last December, and Palmer’s three-person shop has been elated with the machine’s performance thus far.
A bulk of the RSD Print Shop’s workload consists of classroom handouts, business cards, notepads, flyers and PTA-related work such as newsletters. Much of the stock it handles is 20-lb. black-and-white or color on 8.5x11˝ paper.
One of the perks gained from moving to the larger cutting width is the ability to order parent-size sheets, which the shop can cut in-house. Previously, the in-plant would order parent sheets from a paper vendor and pay a nominal fee to have it cut prior to delivery.
“That wasn’t a huge deal, just 20 bucks here and there, but it was better to go with the 26˝ and save the money,” Palmer observes. “We’re doing more specialty things now like programs and posters for school plays. It’s cheaper to order the parent-size sheets to avoid cutting charges, and we can cut them down to what we need and save the remaining sheets for other projects. It’s nice to have that stock on hand for a job that will come in at the last minute. We can cut it down to any size that we need.”
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