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Alta Systems standing alongside their new Polar paper cutter

Standing with the Polar paper cutter, from left to right: Rick Nesbit, Owner and Vice President; David Trimble, Facilities Manager; Production Operators Drew Parrish and Johnny Fernandez; and Terry Adams, Production Manager.

September 08, 2019

Alta Systems on fast track to success with Polar® paper cutter

David Trimble knew it was time to retire an old Challenge paper cutter, the one with all the miles on it after years of service. To find its replacement, he turned to the Internet and began researching the various options. That’s what led Alta Systems to invest in a 45-inch reconditioned Polar cutter that Colter & Peterson had available and installed in mid-June.

“We did a lot of research and got prices to start from Heidelberg and others who advertised their machines on eBay,” recalled David, the facilities manager. He has worked with the Gainesville, Florida printer for the last 19 years. 

“There were certainly cheaper deals on eBay, and it was hard to find a quality, 45-inch Polar cutter in our price range with a warranty. What sold me on Colter & Peterson was their reputation. I read a lot of good things and learned how their technicians know the ins and outs of paper cutting equipment. They also offered a strong warranty so they were the perfect fit for us.”

Florida company prospers as region matures

Alta Systems has come a long way since 1983 when Rick Nesbit opened the doors to Southern Press with a single-color press and a vertical camera. Home to the University of Florida, the population base of residents and businesses of the Gainesville area has grown tremendously over the years and Alta does most of its printing for local companies. 

Handling jobs for the university and local schools, as well as manufacturers, hospitals, banks and financial companies, keeps 26 employees busy in the 15,000 square-foot facility. The presses run three shifts and the bindery department operates for two at least five days a week year-round. The split between offset and digital is 50-50, but the digital work is more consistent these days. That was another factor into the decision to go with C&P’s Polar paper cutter.

“We split the amount of work between the Polar and two other cutters, an SEM-FL92 and a Polar 92X which are both 36-inches,” commented Terry Adams, Alta’s production manager. “We really needed a wide cutter that we could count on since we have two Ricoh 9210 presses that run sheets up to 55-inches. The reconditioned Polar paper cutter is the fastest of the three and it does most of the digital work, including direct mail with personalization.”

Reconditioned cutter impresses with its speed and flexibility

After the first two months, Adams said the machine has been very impressive.

It is so much faster than what we had before and it changed my thought process. The cutting is consistent and very accurate, and I like the speed of the blade. It is a heavy duty solid cutter,” he said. “We do a lot of high end work so we need to hit our marks all the way through. This Polar is very accurate, within 1/64th of an inch or less.”

Trimble said they use it to trim mostly standard press sheets, but it also cuts synthetic paper such as waterproof for navigational boating maps, pearl coat, and translucent onion skin for Fly sheets used in perfect bound books. Since the majority of job runs range from 10,000 to 100,000, the machine’s other benefits are playing a substantial role.

“The Polar’s air beds and table size are standard, but it does give us better stack lift capability. We can cut five inches of 80-pound cover stock and large lifts of 20-pound bond for perfect binding with no problems,” said Trimble. “It’s been very helpful with the cutting speed and is much faster than what we had before.”

Adams said they have not fully utilized its electronics package but are extremely pleased with the machine’s overall performance.

“The Polar’s programming capability is something that will be very beneficial going forward. We now have the ability to protect programs and our cutter operators are beginning to use the auto-cut feature. It’s great for bigger sheets and our book work. Besides being faster, it’s easier for our people to pick up and load the paper. The Colter & Peterson technician who installed the machine gave us some great advice. And the support factor we thought about when purchasing this machine is great to have knowing we have someone close by when needed.”

“What sold me on Colter & Peterson was their reputation. I read a lot of good things and learned how their technicians know the ins and outs of paper cutting equipment. They also offered a strong warranty so they were the perfect fit for us.”

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