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Microcut computer controls for legacy paper cutters

November 27, 2017

Idaho’s Alexander Clark Printing discovers a gem with new Colter & Peterson PRISM paper cutter

Good things come in small packages, and the staff at Alexander Clark Printing in Boise, ID know it’s true. Last summer they had to replace a small size paper cutter that had to fit a constricted space. Some research and a recommendation from a local dealer led them to selecting a new PRISM® P80 with Microcut® electronics. The dynamic 30-inch paper cutter from Colter & Peterson has so far delivered a boatload of positive results since being installed in early September.

The day we got the PRISM, I knew we made the right decision,” exclaimed plant manager Marv Braun. “It’s a huge improvement over what we had before and we are cutting more work in the same amount of time. The machine is easier to program, the stack lift is larger so it holds more paper, and having Microcut is a huge difference. Our operators say the back gauge speed makes it about 30 percent faster.”

Alexander Clark has history on its side for making good decisions. They’ve handled commercial and business forms printing for the Boise community since 1972. Robert Alexander and James Clark founded the company, which is now owned by the 40-plus employees. A separate sales office operates in Twin Falls, located halfway between Boise and Pocatello to the east.

Corporate clients’ ship their work around the world. With 40,000 square-feet of space to work from between two buildings, Braun said the majority of the catalog, saddle stitch book, direct mail and business printing and forms work is going through the PRISM.

“We used to take work from one of the buildings to the other where we have two 45-inch ITOH cutters. But we don’t do that any longer,” said Braun, who has worked at Alexander Clark for 37 years. “We’re very happy with the quality of the cutter we got. The ITOHs cost three times more but the PRISM gives us a lot of bang for the buck.”

Known for its rugged durability and reliability, PRISM’s compact size was an important issue. It replaced a similar size Challenge 305 that had required a hydraulic upgrade in 2015.

“I believe they had an issue with it last summer and decided to look at new machines,” recalled Dale Retzlaff, field service technician for local dealer WCP Solutions. Formerly West Coast Paper, WCP is based in Kent, WA and has 13 locations in the Pacific Northwest. “I convinced Marv that the Challenge cutter wasn’t nearly as robust as the PRISM. He had heard of PRISM and decided to go with the P80, which includes Microcut, a 15-inch touchscreen and other benefits.”

“We were held to the restraints of the dedicated area where the cutter would fit,” said Braun. “We wanted a good cutter and did some research because there were some unknowns. But Dale went through the measurements with us and it had the small footprint we needed. Microcut makes it faster than the old cutter, and the stack lift really helps. Cutting five inches of material with each stack, instead of 3-1/2 inches previously, is a big factor in helping us cut more.”

Braun says the PRISM also helps with the range of jobs they produce over the course of two shifts four days a week, and 1-1/2 shifts one other day.


“We use it for all our stationery, letterhead and business cards work, and also for cutting envelope flaps. We mass produce business cards by doing master runs of 64-up on a 23-inch by 29-inch sheet printed on our Komori LLX press. The PRISM then cuts it to 8-1/2 by 11-inch sheets, or 5-1/2 by 8-1/2 inch sheets used later for in-printing. It also trims our forms and packaging work that we run 8 to 12-up. We’ve very happy with it.”

The day we got the PRISM, I knew we made the right decision. The machine is easier to program, the stack lift is larger so it holds more paper, and having Microcut is a huge difference.

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