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By Editor Morten B. Reitoft 

Over 100 years ago, Abraham Rutt founded the Standard Paper Company, which in 1944 became Keystone Paper & Box. The company was more like a distributor rather than a producer. That, however, changed when Melvin Rutt took over the management after World War II. He realized that producing the boxes was more profitable, and since then, Keystone Paper & Box has focused on and grown out of the design and production of boxes.

Today the 55+ people company is owned by the third-generation Rutt, James Rutt. We met James Rutt at Hartford to learn more about today's Keystone Paper & Box company and how they see the future.

Keystone Paper & Box focuses entirely on the production of folding cartons, as we soon realize, specifically for pharma, beverage, perfume, etc. The heart of the production is the new manroland 700-series offset machine with UV-curing, cold-foil, and extended delivery for fast printing. Kevin Neureuter from manroland, one of the reasons for us being there, explains that the extended delivery enables the machine to print more than 20,000 sheets an hour. The machine prints 8-colors straight + the cold-foiling unit.

The foundation for a second manroland 700 is being prepared for installation shortly. The machine has already been shipped from Germany and is expected soon with Keystone Paper & Box.

The two printing machines are placed in a room separated from the paper warehouse and the finishing department. The paper/substrates used by Keystone Paper & Box are delivered on roles, and the company converts the roles to the needed sheet sizes on demand. According to James Rutt, this gives the company the required flexibility and lower prices as the conversion to sheets come at a price. He also emphasizes that flexibility is essential as many jobs require different sheet sizes to minimize waste.

Robert Papa, VP Operations · Keystone Paper & Box / Kevin Neureuter, Director of Sales · manroland Sheetfed

Keystone Paper & Box also mix their inks, and again it's because of the flexibility. As James Rutt explains, some jobs don't require a whole bucket of ink, so rather than putting the left-over on a shelf and hoping to use it later, it makes sense to produce what you need on demand, and so it is also for the corrugated cardboard boxes used for the finished boxes.

The boxes Keystone Paper & Box produces are a diverse number of variations. While having a walkthru of the company, James Rutt explains that the design of the boxes is developed closely with the customers. Sandra Robinson is the Senior Designer at Keystone Paper & Box, and her long-time experience helps customers get the best results. As she briefly explains, she needs to bridge the customer's ideas to what's technically possible - and looking at the many samples in her department proves the creativity going into the production!

So back to the production!

After printing, the sheets need to be die-cut, and Keystone Paper & Box has three BOBST machines. After die-cutting, there is a windowing machine and several glue lines. The technology isn't the newest, but it does the job, and when I look at the finished products, there is no reason to question anything.

While at Keystone Paper & Box, we also get to talk to Robert Papa, Vice President of Operations. One of the main challenges for Keystone Paper & Box is, like with so many other companies, labor. With an ambitious plan for doubling the revenue over the following years, labor is a challenge. However, Robert Papa explains that Keystone Paper & Box addresses the issue by ensuring all employees can work with presses, die-cutters, and gluers, enabling flexibility beyond the normal. The employees are also called for group meetings when needed, so planning extended work hours fit the required deliveries.

Robert Papa and James Rutt are involved with the operation in a way that makes the family-feeling genuine. James Rutt even tells us that his grandfather always greeted every employee every morning, and that tradition James Rutt continues.

So with ambitious plans, new investments, and a loyal customer base, Keystone Paper & Box seems confident going forward, and we look forward to showing you our film from Hartford soon on INKISH.TV.

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