Bindery lead Mark Mullen (left) at Slade Print discusses a finishing job with director of operations Jon Mullins.
February 28, 2019
Tom Slade expects a decision made nearly a year ago will have positive ramifications for many years. Last April after 25 years, family owned and operated Slade Print in Evansville, Indiana began reinventing and reinvesting in new technologies, industries and equipment. They have since purchased a local label company to go with a profitable sign business and created a digital division. Slade says installation in January of a new 31-inch Colter & Peterson PRISM® paper cutter with Microcut® computer controls is doing an amazing job of supporting his digital business.
“We bought the PRISM on the recommendation of Tom Paprocki, a local equipment broker with Tomlin Print & Pack Solutions whom I’ve known for a number of years,” recalled Slade, a 38-year printing industry veteran. “We went online to do some research, had three options to consider and watched some videos of the machines. The PRISM really fit our needs and budget. Tom managed everything, from the sale details through installation. We needed a bigger paper cutter so we could cut the larger parent sheets from our digital presses.”
The PRISM replaced a 26-inch Polar paper cutter Slade said he bought at a Graph Expo show more than 20 years ago. He still has another same size Polar but the PRISM is getting the majority of the work. “It increased our offerings. We now buy 28-by-40 inch sheets and cut them in half with the PRISM. The Polars could not handle a sheet that size.”
Slade Print has a lot to offer Evansville and the Tri-State marketplace of southern Indiana and Illinois, and western Kentucky. Tom’s wife Lisa, son Hunter, and daughter Emily Slade-Manzo, are fully involved in the daily operation and active in the local business community. The printer handles digital and offset work for financial service companies, primarily in the banking area, as well as local manufacturers with extensions in other states. Their strong connections to the local community also lends itself to giving back and doing work for non-profit groups.
“Our real estate is pretty broad. We do some work for several local manufacturers, and a few of our clients have headquarters here but branches outside the state that we ship to,” says Slade of the print division that employs 18 and operates from a 7,500 square-foot facility. “We also use our sign business to open the door to do corporate work.”
ProMark is the 40-year-old label, corporate apparel and promotional products company the Slade family added to its portfolio last year. That company has another 24 employees. Both ProMark and the growing sign division are housed in separate buildings in Evansville that, when combined, measure another 21,000 square-feet of space.
“We devoted 3,000 square-feet to the digital side,” remarked Slade, who has three employees cross-trained to run the paper cutters. “The PRISM is linked to run work from the HP Indigo 5500 6-or-7 color press, and a Ricoh 7210, which does 4-color and specialty colors, along with a varnish look treatment. Combined with some Xerox equipment, we’ve gained efficiencies since adding the new paper cutter.”
“We love it. It’s very smooth, robust, and just a good, solid machine. In this day and age, durability and stability are things you look for,” he said. Talking about the Microcut electronics package each new PRISM paper cutter is equipped with, he added, “The touchscreen monitor is bigger, brighter and very efficient. It allows our operators to set up quickly and make good, efficient cuts. Older machines tend to lose a bit of accuracy as they age, so the PRISM has brought us back to cutting perfect squares.”
Slade mentioned it will take time for the staff to learn about all of the capabilities the PRISM with Microcut paper cutter controls has to offer.
“I think it was a good investment for us. It’s very user-friendly and presents a good image when customers visit and see it. The installation and training folks were excellent to work with. Our operators feel very capable with what they learned. It’s nice to have a machine that has so much technology that we will be able to efficiently use in the future. We expect our PRISM will have a long shelf life.”
“We love it. It’s very smooth, robust, and just a good, solid machine. In this day and age, durability and stability are things you look for.”