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Guillotines in general

Guillotines come in all styles and sizes ranging from manual trimmers, able to cut a few sheets at a time, to heavy duty hydraulically powered models which can cut full reams of SRA1 per cycle. In selecting a machine it's essential you consider the types of stock you will be cutting as well as the quantities. Choosing a guillotine simply on price can leave you with inaccurately cut jobs, high maintenance costs, and possibly risks relating to overstressed components.

Our highly discounted Ideal electric guillotine prices start from as little as £1295.00 plus VAT. 
Our 43 years engineering experience enables us to help you decide which guillotine, or possibly even an  automated multi cutter, best suits your requirements,  and that's free

Legal information about guillotine maintenance

There tends to be some confusion among employers and users of ‘powered guillotines’ as to the legal position regarding maintenance. “Is it compulsory ?",  “I don’t use mine very often, does it still require 6 monthly servicing/certification ?",  I’m frequently asked these types of questions. Down the years I’ve had a number of communications and conversations with HSE inspectors and other experts regarding the actual legal position, here are the conclusions.

Basically in 1979 the HSE realised that users and even so called experts might not be able to fully assess all of the risks and dangers associated with guillotines and other print industry related equipment. Accordingly they formed a committee known as PIAC, with members nominated by the CBI and the TUC, and appointed by the HSC to work together with the HSE to advise the industry on health and safety matters and issues.

Confusion arises in that the document dealing with guillotine safety, commonly known as PIAC1999 (ISBN 978 0 7176 1707 4), states in the introduction that it is ‘guidance’ and that ‘it is not compulsory’ and you are ‘free to take other action’. Confusingly it then states that if you do follow the guidance you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law. The ambiguity consequently leads some owners/operators to conclude that there is no specific legal requirement in respect of the level of maintenance they undertake, and so take an ad-hoc attitude to servicing and maintenance, putting themselves and their operators at possible risk of severe injury.

In fact PIAC1999 should be considered ‘the’ risk assessment for all guillotines, which, having been produced by the HSE carries the highest merit, failure to comply leaves the owner /operator liable to prosecution under risk assessment law and other less well known statutory legislation. In the words of one inspector I spoke to, ‘the only deviation from PIAC1999 that would be acceptable would be for additional inspections, servicing and/or operational procedures, not less’.

In relation to the Ideal Electric and Hydraulic Guillotines we supply, the requirement is for these to be serviced, safety tested and certificated to the PIAC standard at six monthly intervals.

Some of the risks posed by guillotines not properly maintained are:

  1) the blade slipping/falling down when stationary, due to brake, clutch or linkage failure etc., this could and has resulted in serious injury to the operators hands/wrists/arms.

  2) the blade stopping below the clamp, or the clamp over-traveling up above the blade, leaving the blade's cutting edge exposed in the guillotine jaws, again potentially serious for the operator.

  3) the guillotine failing to stop correctly at the end of a cutting cycle, and automatically commencing a second whilst the unsuspecting operator is removing cut work, again risking severe injury.

These are a few of the severest eventualities, the risk of these occurring can be reduced considerably by efficient service, inspection, and operational care and observance.



E&OE - The foregoing is based on our long experience of the industry, conversations with relevantly knowledgeable individuals and available information. It is intended as a guide only into often expressed confusion regarding the legal requirement for guillotine maintenance and relationship to risk assessment law. You should satisfy yourself with the content before basing any decisions on the information.

PIAC1999 (ISBN 978 0 7176 1707 4) is crucial reading for anyone intending to purchase or use a power operated guillotine.  A copy can be downloaded FOC from the HSE web site.