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Jul 1, 2002 12:00 AM
Bookletmakers are better than ever, largely because yesterday's friction-feed machines have been replaced by today's vacuum suckers. “Vacuum suckers don't mark,” declares Mark Beard, president of Finishbinders, Inc. (Des Moines, IA), a full-service trade bindery.
Printers can run a wide variety of stock on bookletmakers, ranging from carbon paper and carbonless forms to enamel, onionskin and 10-pt. cover. Heavy ink coverage doesn't cause a marking problem either, and according to Beard, there is no need to worry about misses caused by mismatching stock. “These machines are equipped with accurate measuring calipers,” he states.
Like other bindery equipment, automation and intelligence have greatly enhanced bookletmakers. This has become increasingly important as customers have come to expect the same quality on short-run work that they receive on long-run jobs.
“Customers don't care what equipment the work is produced on. They simply want to know that the stitches are dead on the fold, that the fold is sharp, that the booklet lays flat and that the face trim is sharp and accurate,” says Mark Hunt, director of marketing at bookletmaker supplier Standard Finishing Systems (Andover, MA). “There can be no compromise in quality on shorter runs.”
Users are also enjoying the added capabilities and fast turnaround that bookletmakers now offer. Copy Mart Incorporated, a quick printer that caters to neighboring businesses in suburban Atlanta, installed a Watkiss bookletmaker from A.B. Dick Co. (Niles, IL) five years ago. “We wanted the unit because we didn't want to have to farm things out,” says general manager Ron Turaski. “That adds time to turnaround, and we turn jobs very promptly — it's unusual for a job to be in our shop for two or more days.”
For an overview of bookletmaker feeds and speeds, see “The basics of bookletmakers,” p. 39. Here is a sampling of recent introductions.
Valco Cincinnati's (Cincinnati) MicroSeal gluing system is suitable for multipage bookletmaking, mailers, envelopes, presentations, forms and other items produced on sheetfed paper folders. The system can be tailored to perform spot, fine-line and cross-web gluing; ribbon coating; ink marking; or nearly any adhesive application. It is said to cut costs by reducing waste, maintenance, material consumption and rework, as well as improve quality and capacity.
Valco also offers a range of support equipment, including
low-liquid-level controls and alarms, jam-prevention systems,
glue-pattern-detection systems and high-speed monitoring systems
for quality assurance.
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MBM Corp.'s (North Charleston, SC) Booklet-Pro 8800 accommodates
paper sizes from 8.5 × 11 inches to 11.5 × 17.25 inches, and can
reportedly produce up to 2,700 booklets per hour. It includes a
5,000-staple cartridge for increased productivity. Heavy-duty
staple clinchers enable it to produce a flat finish. Setup is said
to take less than 30 seconds for standard sizes and the system
stores customized booklet settings for frequently processed jobs.
The Booklet-Pro 8800 can be combined with the 88 Trimmer and the
Maxxum 20 Twin Towers collators, which are said to enable fast
collating, accurate side and back jogging, smooth stapling and
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A.B. Dick (Niles, IL) offers the Watkiss Vario collating system along with the BookMaster and BookMaster Pro finishing systems. The Watkiss Vario features a modular design that allows printers to select the exact number and type of stations needed. It is available with three different feed systems: friction, suction and Slim Vac.
The BookMaster jogs sheets at the end on each side, both above
and below the fold rollers, to ensure straightened sheets. After
sheets are stapled, they are passed through steel fold-rollers and
an additional pair of crushing rollers to produce a crisp fold. The
manual version of the BookMaster can process up to 1,800 booklets
per hour, and can be used offline for hand feeding or online to all
Vario collators. The Pro version can automatically adjust sidelays,
end job and the staple/fold position with the push of a
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Watkiss Automation's Spinemaster, distributed in the U.S. by
A.B. Dick, transforms traditional stitch-fold books into squareback
booklets. These booklets have the appearance of perfect binding,
are flat, and are easy to pack, stack and handle. Up to 30 sheets
can be made into a 120-page booklet or the equivalent.
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The Bourg Book Factory from C.P. Bourg, Xerox and Roll Systems
produces books ranging in size from 5.5 × 8.5 inches to 9 × 13
inches. Roll Systems' (Burlington, MA) DocuSheeter cuts roll paper
stock into 9 × 12-inch sheets, which are then fed inline to a Xerox
(Rochester, NY) DocuTech. Printed sheets are then fed into a choice
of finishing devices from C.P. Bourg (New Bedford, MA), including
its high-capacity stacker, which stacks up to 5,000 sheets in
straight or offset stacks; and the Bourg Document Finisher, which
is said to provide commercial-quality saddlestitching. The Bourg
Vacuum-Feed Cover Station enables covers to be attached to
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The System 4000 is a collaboration between Océ Printing Systems
and Duplo. It consists of the Océ (Boca Raton, FL) Demandstream
4000 digital sheetfed press, the Océ Prisma+POD print server and
Duplo's (Santa Ana, CA) DBMO-4000 bookletmaker. The Prisma+POD
software either composes the individual pages for printing or
retrieves print-ready data from a database. The data are output as
a series of four-page signatures on the press. The signatures are
then passed, one at a time, to the bookletmaker, where they are
collected, stitched, folded and trimmed. The system can produce up
to 2,370 eight-page booklets per hour. The vertical transport
system on the collating towers has been enhanced with twin conveyor
belts that are said to ensure faster and more consistent paper
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Standard Finishing Systems (Andover, MA) and Horizon
International's Standard Horizon ColorWorks 2000 is an inline
bookletmaker for Xerox's DocuColor 2045 and 2060 digital presses.
The system performs corner-, side- and center-stapling functions,
as well as rotary bleed trimming, booklet folding and face
trimming. Users initiate operating and changeover settings through
an icon-based, LCD touchscreen. The system is equipped with an
interposer for cover inserting or sheet feeding, allowing most
finishing styles on common paper sizes and stocks.
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Longford International's (Toronto) Direct Mail Booklet Collation
system can collate, wrap and affix an invoice onto the booklets for
direct-mail distribution. It features modular friction feeders,
which are easily attached to a flighted conveyor with other
feeders. Once attached, booklets are fed into individual lugs on
the flighted conveyor. A collated set is then wrapped by an Ilapak
wrapper and lipped over so an invoice with the mailing address can
be glued on the back of the package. The system can reportedly
produce up to 5,000 packages per hour.
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Heidelberg's (Kennesaw, GA) Digimaster 9110 digital
black-and-white imaging system can produce booklets when configured
with the Booklet Maker and Stacker. The Booklet Maker accommodates
15 paper sizes, including 8.5 × 11 inches, 11 × 17 inches, A3 and
A4, and performs saddlestitching and edge trimming. The stacker
features 5,000-sheet capacity with a wheeled tote tray and handles
17 papers sizes, up to 14 × 18 inches.
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The Amigo Digital binder from Müller Martini, Océ Printing
Systems and Hunkeler includes an Océ digital printer and front end;
Müller Martini (Hauppauge, NY) Amigo perfect binder; and Hunkeler
(Zofingen, Switzerland) unwinder, cutter, delivery mechanism,
stacker and evacuation system. It can be configured for both
nearline and inline production scenarios. It features speeds up to
1,000 books per hour and can bind any book thickness from 3 mm to
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MBO America (Westampton, NJ) distributes Theisen & Bonitz
collators for heavy-duty production requirements. Three versions
are available: tb sprint, tb flex and tb eco. Each accommodates
material ranging from lightweight paper to heavy chipboard in a
variety of sizes. Standard features include a missed-sheet detector
at each station and a double-sheet detector on the delivery.
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Vijuk Equipment's (Elmhurst, IL) Col-Tec horizontal format
collator features a continuous-load feeding system with floating
suction-head pickup and a cog belt conveyor that enable high
transfer speeds without marking. It has variable-speed control as
well as double- and missing-sheet detectors. There are four models
available, ranging from three to 40 stations, accommodating sheets
from 30-lb. text to 52-pt. board. When combined with an optional
stitch/fold/trim unit, it can produce booklets with up to 116 pages
at 4,000 cycles per hour. Other options include
computer-programmable controls, folding units, calendar lines,
numbering and gluing.
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Standard Finishing Systems offers the Standard Horizon
SPF-20A/FC-20A saddlestitching system, which complements the
SpeedVac 100 collating system. The combination stitcher/folder and
face trimmer employ servo motors and worm gears for reliable
setups. The icon-based, touchscreen control console enables fast
changeovers: Once the operator inputs the sheet size and finish
style, setups are reportedly completed in less than one minute.
Hohner 48/5 stitching heads come standard; twin large-diameter
steel fold rollers and a secondary set of rubber rollers provide
tight folds. The system can produce up to 4,200 booklets per hour.
Standard has just released a book-pressing and hole-punching
accessory for the system that allows booklets to be compressed and
placed in three-ring binders.
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by Mark Beard
Today's improved on-demand stitching machines fall into two categories: horizontal and tower units. Horizontal units may have up to 17 loading stations. These collate flat sheets, then stitch, fold and face-trim the product to final size. For example, a 17-pocket Heidelberg Omnibinder or Harris Multibinder from Heidelberg USA (Kennesaw, GA) can stitch a 68-page book in a single pass. Once the sheets are stack-collated and stitched, the product travels to a buckle-type folder, gets folded on the stitch and proceeds toward the trimming blade.
Unlike traditional saddlestitchers with three-knife trimmers, most on-demand machines can't make head or foot trims. (This is rarely a problem because on-demand booklets are usually 8.5 × 11 inches or 5.5 × 8.5 inches.) Nonetheless, on-demand stitchers are not production slouches. Depending on the job, horizontal units can yield 4,000 books or more per hour with quick makereadies (U.K.-based IBIS offers the DST2-NL, rated at 5,400 books an hour.)
The other type of on-demand stitcher is the tower unit. These machines may have as many as six connected collating towers, each with at least eight feeding stations, yielding up to 60 pockets from which to load sheets. This means that a user can theoretically collate 240-page books with 60 different types of stock — flexibility that rivals high-end trade saddlestitchers.
Since most tower systems feature knife-folding mechanisms instead of buckle folders, booklets with tough folds on color breaks should look great. In addition, some tower units offer five-minute makereadies because they have automatic servo motor-driven stitching heads and stops. Many modern tower machines will yield 3,000 books or more per hour.
Mark Beard is president of Finishbinders, Inc. (Des Moines, IA), a full-service trade bindery and finishing house that specializes in one-stop binding and finishing. He can be reached at (888) 788-7314 or firstname.lastname@example.org.