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Better bookletmakers

Jul 1, 2002 12:00 AM


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Bookletmakers are better than ever, largely because yesterday's friction-feed machines have been replaced by today's vacuum suckers.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.

HIGH-SPEED GLUING FOR BOOKLETS

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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BOOKLET-PRO 8800

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 precision folding.
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WATKISS VARIO COLLATING SYSTEM

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 button.
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WATKISS SPINEMASTER

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 BOOK FACTORY

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 booklets.
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SYSTEM 4000

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 handling.
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COLORWORKS 2000

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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DIRECT-MAIL BOOKLET COLLATION SYSTEM

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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DIGIMASTER 9110 BOOKLETMAKER

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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AMIGO DIGITAL BINDER

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 40 mm.
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TB SPRINT, FLEX AND ECO COLLATORS

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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COL-TEC HORIZONTAL COLLATOR

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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SPF-20A STICHER/FOLDER SYSTEM

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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The basics of bookletmakers


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.)

Tower power: rivaling high-end stitchers

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 mark@finishbinders.com.