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Focus On

Binding Technology

With margins tightening and competition increasing, how can bringing binding in-house help? Genevieve Lewis investigates the latest binding technology available on the market

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Duplo offers a range of equipment that can produce beautifully finished products

Pull it together

Binding seems like a simple aspect to add to in-house production, but how easy is it really? What can you achieve by investing in short-run binding equipment?

A good place to start is with Dean Stayne of Terry Cooper Services. TCS offers the C.P.Bourg range of binding equipment, which includes the Bourg Binder BB3002 EVA, BB3002 PUR-C, BB3102 and the BB31202.

On the Bourg Binder BB3002 EVA, Stayne explains: “Designed to create stat-of-the-art perfect bound books while being user-friendly – thanks to the colour touchscreen interface – this unique perfect binder creates books from 100 x 90mm to 385 x 380mm. It produces single books from two to 600 sheets.”

The BB3002 PUR-C is “suited to the production of on-demand full-colour print books such as perfect bound photo books. Its ability to change to EVA / hot melt gluing system supports production flexibility.”

It also includes a PUReONE compact adhesive system with an applicator from Nordson and C.P.Bourg.

Both the PUR-C and the EVA can be upgraded with a Bourg Book Loader (BBL), a Bourg Book Complier (BBC) with one or two Bourg Sheet Feeders (BSF) or even with one or two Bourg Preparation Modules (BPM) and a trimmer CMT-130TC or CMT-330TC working in-line, near-line and off-line to increase efficiency.

Stayne says that it is definitely still worth bringing binding in-house, because of the short-run capabilities. It means that jobs can be completed faster. He explains: “Operations are under production pressure to profitably complete shorter run jobs in a fast and efficient manner. They must complete work quickly, efficiently and to a high quality. Bringing processes in-house saves time and costs and delivers greater throughput flexibility for a more streamlined process.

Bringing processes in-house saves time and costs and delivers greater throughput flexibility for a more streamlined process


“To achieve this effectively, affordable automation and functionality remain paramount requirements. Cost effective systems that are easy to set up and operate are key. They enable operations to offer more services while maintaining staffing levels. Much of the automation on the C.P.Bourg systems support reduced operator intervention, allowing other jobs to be completed at the same time.”

Great value

Howard Cherry, finishing sales specialist at Friedheim International, agrees that it could be a good idea to bring binding work in-house. He explains: “In our opinion, there is certainly value in bringing bindery work in-house. First and foremost, it gives the print-service-provider greater control over one of the most important parts of the finishing process. By bringing the process in-house, it means that the printer has greater control over costs and scheduling. Delays can be kept to a minimum with production decisions made faster.”

Friedheim offers a number of binding options from Wohlenberg, including the Quickbinder. It is a universal adhesive binder and is only 4.1m in length with a 1.8m width. Key features include motorised adjustment of all functions for changing product thickness. The Quickbinder can accommodate A6 to A3 (A4 landscape) and thicknesses up to 70mm. On top of this, the Quickbinder can be equipped with cold glue, EVA hot melt and PUR, as well as boasting a gauzing/lining station allowing for book blocks for casebinding, Swiss bound and OTA-bound products.

O Factoid: In the US in 2018, physical printed books outsold e-books at $22.6bn (£17.18bn)  compared to $2.04bn (£1.55bn) O


“These features on the Quickbinder mean that by investing in the machine, print companies can differentiate themselves by offering products their competition cannot,” says Cherry. “In addition, with shorter run lengths being in vogue, the Quickbinder is an interesting option.”

He continues: “What we mean by this is that there are not many trade binders offering cold glue products. These products lay much flatter than EVA or PUR products, as a thin layer flexible adhesive is used on the spine of the book. With Swiss bound or OTA-bound brochures, this is key.

“Any company bringing Swiss binding or OTA binding in-house would definitely be able to offer products their competition may not and also have control of producing these in-house.”

Cost is always a factor when looking to invest in any equipment, and Ashgate offers the Pureva XT EVA and PUR perfect binder which may be kinder to your pockets. “Because it is dramatically smaller and considerably lower-priced – less than £10,000 – than traditional PUR machines, virtually any print shop can incorporate the flexibility of the Pureva XT into its existing environment,” says Lewis Price, managing director.

Ashgate Automation offers the Pureva XT EVA and PUR perfect binder, which comes with a friendly price tag
 

“This has been a breakthrough, not only for the small to medium-sized printers but for large binderies as well when they have small runs. We could always offer on-demand bespoke hard case binding, but the Pureva brings with it the advantages that PUR has over traditional EVA glue without losing sight of the fact that, for many applications EVA is still a more suitable choice for a segment of their book binding work,” he adds.

Fastbind says that the Pureva costs just a third of the price, while also generating one third of the operating costs, and a third of the space needed by traditional PUR perfect binding solutions. The Pureva XT has a glue mechanism that is easy to clean and change, an electronic temperature control and a closed tank system. It can accommodate any binding job up to SRA3 size and can be adjusted from one to 1,000-page books.

All in the finish

Eric Keane, managing director of Intelligent Finishing Systems (IFS) says that because the finishing aspect of a job can be the most profitable end, getting it right is of the utmost importance. He explains: “With finishing often the most profitable part of most print jobs, getting it right is critical. If there are any errors profits will be lost and costs incurred. That is why it is so vital that any finishing processes are handled efficiently and quickly with easy to set up and run systems. Bringing them in-house ensures overall quality control as well as helping to deliver time and cost savings to support more competitive pricing.”

He continues: “Further enabling this are significant technology enhancements delivered by constantly evolving technology. As such operations need to investigate systems and solutions that will future proof their business as much as possible. This is where suppliers, like Horizon, become the partner of choice for many businesses. It is dedicated to continuously reinvesting in the capabilities of its portfolio to ensure they are investing in the most responsive systems and solutions.”

Keane highlights the Horizon BQ-480 perfect binder, which can produce both short and longer runs up to 1,350 books an hour. “With quick set-up and a fast production speed for variable production, it features customised automated set-up accounting for paper type, signature vs lose sheet, sewn book blocks, notch binding and other key factors ensuring effort-free high quality production,” says Keane.

The Horizon BQ480, as supplied by IFS


Also in this market is Duplo International, with its DB-290 hot melt perfect binder, its DPB-500 DuBinder, PFi BIND 2,100 PUR and PFI BIND 6,000 series. Perfect binding using EVA is a low-cost glue that can be heated up and re-used many times. It is designed for products with a shorter shelf life. The DB-290 is an “ideal solution for short-run, on-demand digital print applications”. It has a maximum book size of 320mm (spine length) x 400mm and a maximum thickness of 40mm. The stand out feature of the Duplo range is that the side gluing is achieved by separate rollers from a separate glue tank. This allows the different properties of the EVA and PUR to give a much stronger and longer lasting bind.

The DPB-500 DuBinder has a single clamp design and a maximum production speed of 525 books per hour, making it extremely cost efficient. It also boasts a reduced time for makereadies. For an operation that is producing longer runs, there is the PFI BIND 6,000 Series with complete automation and in-line scoring. This incorporates the 6,000 PUR and DUO, both of which are suited to litho and digital presses. The DUO allows the user to choose between PUR and EVA.

The DPB-500 DuBinder from Duplo International has a single clamp design


The PFi BIND 2,100 PUR is more suited to short-run and on-demand jobs, with the aim of high profitability. Through the power of automation, each book is measured, and the correct level of glue is applied to avoid the cost or reprints and errors.

“Book production has become a rising tide in the UK, with self-publishers and smaller publishers making significant increases in revenue, with a total export of books reaching £3.5bn and accounting for 59% of total sales in 2018, says Duplo’s showroom manager Neil Scott.

“But to take advantage, printers need to look to low cost, automatic machines that can handle different jobs without significant impacts on both their workforce and their production workflow. So, the call for fast short-run production has never been so loud.”

Another area that companies can look into is ring binding – this can result in products such as calendars and photobooks. Renz UK is heavily active in this sector and offers equipment such as the Renz Digisort and the Renz Inline 500 Compact. The Digisort is ideal for creating the aforementioned calendars and photobooks, offering a new revenue stream to printers. It can also stack sheets up to 700mm in height and variable sheet counting throughout the stack is available as an option via a barcode reader.

“We are seeing interest from a broad range of sectors from commercial printers and trade finishers to specialists in photobooks, calendar and sketchbook production,” says Iain Bullock, managing director of Renz. “The ability to create a high quality product of virtually any size and thickness assures production freedom and flexibility.”
The Renz Inline 500 Compact is an automatic punching and binding machine for books and calendars. It runs up to 1,100 products an hour and binds up to 20mm thickness and a width of 500mm.

Additional revenue

Elsewhere and Perfect Bindery Solutions (PBS) offers a specialism in book binding kit under the motif ‘all things book’. Partner Steve Giddins says there are various benefits to bringing this type of work in-house, primarily that it can create a new revenue stream for general commercial printers.

 In order to support seasoned industry practitioners and prospective customers bringing bindery in house, PBS developed two illustrated workflow charts for both on-demand and long-run book production, covering soft cover and hard case. The charts show all of the possible processes involved, where they sit in relation to each other, as well as the levels of automation and integration available.

 Giddens comments: “We decided to create these resources because we were aware that the nature of the market had changed quite significantly over the last five or ten years, and new machines with different capabilities were being brought forward at an ever-increasing pace.”

 In terms of kit, Giddens points to the Risetec/IML ONE•LINE> binding system. Designed and engineered in Italy by Risetec, Giddens says the machine offers flexibility, as it boasts a fully-automated single, four, seven or 12 clamp perfect binder that can operate in-line to digital printers, collators, gatherers and/or sewing machines upstream, and downstream to an integrated and automated three-knife trimmer and round cornering device.

Available from Perfect Bindery Solutions, the Risetec/IML ONE•LINE> binding system features a fully-automated single, four, seven or 12 clamp perfect binder

 
Giddens says: “Uniquely, it has the capability to perfect bind for soft cover books, or endpaper and back-line for hard cover book blocks. PBS is also able to include options such as de-stacking of individual book blocks at the in-feed pre-trimming and scoring of covers and round-cornering of finished books into the closed loop solution and include barcode or mark reading for assured product integrity.

“The ONE•LINE> gives the manufacturer the broadest possible product range for his investment.”

So, with so many manufacturers and suppliers on hand to help you with your binding needs, why not make the jump?


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