West Caldwell, NJ – Eight months ago, Colony Packaging & Machine made the biggest decision in its 53-year history by changing its name. Formerly known as Colony Paper, the new name better reflects how the family owned, third generation-run business has evolved since three war veterans opened the shop in 1964. Another key decision has since followed - the installation of a reconditioned 52-inch Lawson paper cutter with a Microcut® electronics package from Colter & Peterson in October.
While it doesn’t rank nearly as high as changing the company name, Operations manager Jim Bair explained the importance of the purchase. It’s in line with values that have led the York, PA business to become a strong force in the region.
“The name change indicates we are not just a paper company. That said, this is the first time we bought a machine from Colter & Peterson, but they have supplied service for our paper cutters in recent years,” informed Bair, who has worked at Colony for 11 years.
“C&P is an industry leader and they come highly recommended. We did our research and chose them for their ability to provide reliable used equipment and support it with outstanding service. They use a local tech, Ken Brown, to service our machines. Ken is an old cutter guy who has worked on equipment forever. He does a great job and understands what it takes to keep them working well.”
Bair said the Lawson cutter replaced an older Lawson model from 1964. “It was not cost effective to repair so replacing it was being more financially responsible. We also have a 32-inch Polar and use them to cut paper and a wide range of substrates.”
With a long list of available products to sell, Bair said they use the cutters for on-demand converting. They trim chipboard, edge protectors and anything else that can be inserted as a product filler strip for every type of industry within a 100-mile radius of York.
“There are a few printers we do work for, but we also cut different substrate inserts for a brick company and foam for another,” said Bair citing examples. “The biggest sheet size we cut is 40 by 48 inches. There is no typical order amount; it usually ranges from five to 50,000. It is a niche market and competition for business is very high, so we concentrate on being the best small regional company we can be.”
Bair said the reconditioned Lawson paper cutter, installed and running since late October, has some distinct advantages.
“It’s doing fine for an old tank. It’s reliable and the operators are pleased with it,” mentioned Bair, who oversees 40 employees. “It has the newest version of Microcut to store programs and it lets us do more significant cutting. The new safety features are also a big plus.”
With demand requiring the cutters be used for one shift, five days a week, steady and consistent is all Bair requires.
“This machine is a big hunk of steel so you can’t break it. You just need to freshen them and take care of the wear points,” he stated. “We use them every shift but not all day; demand is customer driven. Hopefully our new addition will last us another 25 years.”