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Two bindery veterans at work on PRISM paper cutters at Boelte-Hall.

Here’s a story about why a top ranked Kansas City commercial offset and digital printer has used only PRISM paper cutters for the last 20 years.

November 21, 2019

PRISM paper cutters stand the test of time at Boelte-Hall

When Jerry Ward at Boelte-Hall, a top commercial printer in the Kansas City metro area, bought a 45-inch Colter & Peterson PRISM® paper cutter in 1999, he was just happy to have a new machine. Five years ago, he was so impressed with its performance he replaced an old Seybold cutter with another same size, reconditioned PRISM, even though it was over 20 years old. And now?

“I expect to get another 20 years out of them,”said Ward, who has spent over 30 years at the company and the last 15 as Plant Supervisor. “I bought the older machine because I wanted them to be similar. That made it easier when it came to using them and training others, and for maintenance purposes. We work hard and are diligent with our preventive maintenance. When you do it right, it reduces the chances for something to go wrong.”

Longevity is not limited only to the equipment at Boelte-Hall. The Roeland Park, Kansas offset and digital printer became a mainstay in the Kansas City area shortly after it opened for business in 1967. Ed Hall sold his interest in an ice cream novelty company and purchased the shop from Art Boelte, who retired a few years later. 

Today the shop’s lithography work accounts for a healthy 80 percent of the revenue but the digital side is growing. A pair of 28-inch Komori presses, one a 4-color and rhe other a 6-color, handle the offset work. Indigo and Xerox units take care of everything digital. Boelte-Hall does business across the U.S. and in Canada, and ships some work to Europe. But most of their customers are local and many have been with them for two decades or longer.

Strong local dealer support

Long before the internet became a resource, Ward relied on personal relationships while sourcing equipment. That’s how he learned about paper cutter dealer Colter & Peterson and its PRISM cutters.

“Ed Deml and his wife, Rita, at RED Ventures, Inc., put me onto the PRISM paper cutter 20 years ago,” said Ward. “Ed had been repairing our machines and he’s a local guy that we’ve trusted for many years. He’s always available for us, 24/7. He recommended the PRISM and said he wouldn’t buy anything else because it’s a great value for the price.”

Ward said other factors contributed to his decision in choosing the PRISM.

“The main selling point was the support we receive from Ed and C&P. If something goes wrong, we get an answer and parts quickly. We can’t afford to be down and we’ve never had a paper cutter offline for more than 24 hours. The support comes from all directions.When we wanted to hook up the cutters to do JDF files, they worked with us over the phone to get it set up quickly.”

When Boelte-Hall added the first PRISM in 1999, they had a jogger installed in the middle between the two machines. After adding the reconditioned PRISM five years ago, Ward made sure both were alike with the upgraded Microcut® electronics package that adds speed to boost productivity. It helps immensely with the substantial amount of work – from postcards to sales catalogs for agriculture livestock auctions – the shop produces over the course of two shifts, five days a week.

“Now when we get hammered with extra work, I put three people on the paper cutters,” said Ward. “The backgauge is fairly quick. It’s a paper cutter and it does what I need to get done. But the more times the paper cutter blades come down, the more money we make.”

Annually ranked in the top 12 of printing operations in the area by the Kansas City Business Journal, Boelte-Hall did $6 million in sales in 2018. Ward believes sales this year will tip between $6-7 million.

“We provide a lot of service and I think that’s why we have very loyal customers who have been with us for many years,” summed up Ward. “They know we’ll do what we say we will do, and that we guarantee the quality of our work. That quality extends to the paper cutters. We cut a lot of half-size sheets and the accuracy is very good. We have the blades calibrated on a regular basis. When you have good equipment and produce good work, customers recognize it.” 

“I expect to get another 20 years out of [the PRISM cutters].”

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