- August 15, 2013, Claudia Hine
PATERSON, NJ | In December 2012, Foster Printing in Orange County, CA, wrote another chapter in their illustrious history. The family owned and operated trade printer was founded in the 1950s and once published widely recognized instructional art books on land not far from Disneyland. Times, markets and even locations may change, but the innovative mindset and leadership management established long ago has not.
Foster Printing restructured its business model to handle large format printing in 1988, and 25 years later, most of the G7 master printer’s work today is printing labels for customers of large packaging boxes. So when they installed a KBA 81-in. press, the largest sheetfed press in the world, Foster also went big for their finishing department. Two weeks before the holidays, they were making history again when operating a new 110-in. Saber XXL paper cutter, the largest paper cutter in the world from Colter & Peterson.
“It was a fun experience designing the cutter with Bruce Peterson and the engineers at C&P. It must be the first Saber of its kind since the serial number on it reads 0000000,” remarked Tim Blackburn, president of Foster Printing.
“It was very important to us to have the level of customization this paper cutter has. We were behind the times when it came to finishing, but you couldn’t tell the difference with the end product. However, we realized buying the KBA press (which measures 59.5 x 80.7 in.) meant we needed to change the cutter’s angle so it would give us the ability to turn an 800 pound block of paper. Bruce visited our facility several times, watched our operation and asked us very good questions. The Saber paper cutter is perfect for us.”
Blackburn said the Saber’s technology has greatly improved productivity levels since replacing two older machines.
“We’re using it for one, eight-hour shift with three guys and getting the work done in half the time, compared to four guys working with the two older cutters,” reflected Blackburn, who started at the company 17 years ago by sweeping the floors and learning the business from the ground up. His father, Dennis Blackburn, is CEO and instrumental in the company’s success. Tim’s brother Kris Blackburn, has been part of the operation for seven years and is VP of sales and marketing.
“The Microcut system makes this a very user-friendly paper cutter because it eliminates hands-on work and labor. With two tables and work stations plus the cutter, you essentially have four lifts that just cut, cut, and cut all the time. Previously, the guys would be fatigued in less than half a day. Now all they need to do is load the jogger.”
Three years ago, Foster Printing moved from their iconic location off Interstate 5 to a larger, 47,000 sq-ft facility closer to the ocean near John Wayne Airport. Keeping it local was important, a fact Blackburn didn’t overlook since C&P, North America’s largest independent distributor of paper cutters and paper handling equipment, operates a west coast division in nearby Carson.
“Having people only 35 miles away from our front door is huge,” confirmed Blackburn. “If our cutting system goes down, we needed reassurance that the service guys could fix it right away.”