Me & my... Polar 92N Plus

Simon Creasey
Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Investing in a replacement high-speed cutter has exceeded all expectations at Spectrum Printing and has resulted in an increase in productivity.

 Corria: “I would definitely recommend it to other people. It really is a great product”
Corria: “I would definitely recommend it to other people. It really is a great product”

When Lawrence Corria, proprietor of Cardiff-based Spectrum Printing, invested in a new Heidelberg Speedmaster CX 75 B2 press in December 2017, what he didn’t realise at the time was he was creating a major problem for himself – a good problem as it turns out.

The Speedmaster CX 75 was brought in to replace two ageing Speedmasters, and Corria anticipated an increase in productivity, but he didn’t expect the volume of work the new press was capable of churning out to be as high as it was.

This significant uptick in productivity resulted in a bottleneck in the lithographic company’s post-press department, particularly on its Polar guillotine, which the company bought back in 2005, when Spectrum was more focused on B1 work.

“It was getting on a bit and it was overkill having a larger machine,” says Corria. “There were always jobs waiting to go on the guillotine so we wanted something a little bit more up-to-date and faster to increase productivity. We just wanted to modernise and speed things up in the post-press department so that we could keep up with the new press.”

Having made the decision to invest in a new guillotine, there was only ever going to be one company that Spectrum turned to. “We were always going to get a Polar because of the reliability of our last one,” says Corria. “We had it for nearly 15 years and it had served us so well and was still in a fairly good condition. We had very few problems with it over the years. As a result, we were never going to go off to look at another brand after having something so good, which is how we feel about Heidelberg as a company.”

As well as not needing to scour the market to look at alternative machines, Corria didn’t even feel the need to test the new Heidelberg supplied Polar 92N Plus guillotine that he took delivery of in September last year after trading in the old model.

“We put our total trust in the brand,” he says. “We were so happy with the last one and I hadn’t heard anything negative over the past few years about the guillotines, so I didn’t see the need to test it.”

Installation of the new machine ran smoothly. “They got our old one out and the new one in in about two days, so it was very quick,” says Corria. The switch also saved the company valuable space. “It’s actually a smaller unit than the old guillotine because we were predominately a B1 printer at one time.”

Corria says a team of three operators were trained up on the Polar 92N Plus in a day and after that the machine was up and running and matching the work produced by the Speedmaster CX 75.

The 920mm-wide machine runs at a top cutting speed of 45 cycles per minute. It can be used for cutting semi-finished and finished half-size products made of paper, card stock, paperboard, plastic foils, etc, and has a number of programmable additional functions to improve productivity. The OptiKnife knife changing system is swift and easy to use and Polar claims the machine can increase productivity by up to 20%. But don’t just take the manufacturer’s word for it. Corria says the machine has exceeded expectations since it was installed.

“There is more automation, a faster knife change and they’ve added a few extra functions [compared with the old machine],” he says. “However, the big thing is it runs at a cutting speed of 45 cycles a minute. The blade comes down a lot faster on the new one and you’re turning work around quicker. Even the finishers are saying they are getting through jobs a lot faster with the new guillotine.”

Corria adds that the machine has been a “great addition to the business at the right time” and the company hasn’t encountered a single issue with the Polar 92N Plus since it was installed.

“We haven’t had any breakdowns whatsoever and the machine looks after itself,” he says. “We’ve got a long history with Polar/Heidelberg and they’re always very quick to come out if ever you need them. They’re just a brilliant company to buy a machine from because the service and the after-sale support they offer is excellent.”

Corria struggles to find fault with the machine. Indeed, he says it offers more functionality than the company could ever require. “There are functions on there that we would never dream of using, so it has got a lot more than we would need and it more than covers all the bases.”

As for what he particularly likes about the Polar 92N Plus, he singles out its productivity. “It has really sped things up in the guillotine area and it keeps up with the new press,” says Corria. “Previously, there was a bottleneck in the post-press department, but the new Polar has eliminated that bottleneck. We’ve increased our turnover quite a lot since we invested in the new press and the guillotine has really helped us out.”

Spectrum has also recently invested in die-cutting, hot foiling and folder gluing facilities to boost its in-house post-press offer, and Corria says this investment is starting to pay dividends.

But it’s the performance of the Polar in particular that’s really impressed him since it was added to the company’s ever-growing armoury of finishing kit. That’s why he wouldn’t hesitate to purchase another one should the company’s workload increase to the extent that an additional guillotine were needed.

“I wouldn’t even look at another machine from another manufacturer and I would definitely recommend it to other people,” says Corria. “It really is a great product.”

Cutting width 920mm
Feeding depth 920mm
Loading height max 130mm
Knife speed 45 cycles/min
Smallest cut, automatically, without false
plate - 25mm
Smallest cut, automatically, with false
plate - 90mm
Price Around £45,000, dependent on specification
Contact Heidelberg (UK) 020 8490 3500

Company Profile
Spectrum Printing is a family-run lithographic company located in the heart of Cardiff. The company was founded in 1985 and today is run by Lawrence Corria. It produces a wide range of printed collateral, including leaflets and brochures, for design agencies, the Welsh government and local authorities throughout Wales. Alongside its Heidelberg Speedmaster CX 75 B2 press, Spectrum also has a Ricoh C9100 digital production system and boasts a large array of finishing equipment. The company currently employs 20 people and has a turnover of £1.8m

Why it was bought...
After splashing out on a Heidelberg Speedmaster CX 75 B2 press - the first in Wales - to replace two ageing Speedmasters, Spectrum encountered a bottleneck in its post-press department due to the productivity of the new machine. Although the company’s existing B1 Polar guillotine was still in good condition, it was 15 years old and not capable of keeping up with the work churned out by the Speedmaster CX 75.

How it has performed...
It has more than exceeded Corria’s expectations. The bottleneck in the company’s post-press department has disappeared thanks to the cutting speed of the new guillotine. “The knife comes down a lot faster on the new one and we’ve noticed a marked difference in productivity levels,” says Corria. “It’s a great machine supplied by a brilliant company.”


© MA Business Limited 2021. Published by MA Business Limited, St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road, London, SE24 0PB, a company registered in England and Wales no. 06779864. MA Business is part of the Mark Allen Group .