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Bindery Innovations At PRINT 09

The bindery products at PRINT 09 may have gotten more attention than the printing equipment. IPG walked the show floor and took a look at some of these new products.

November 2009 By Bob Neubauer and Erik Cagle
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THOUGH PRINT 09 may have gotten off to a slow start, the crowds eventually showed up. And when they did, many of them headed right for the bindery equipment. Nowhere was that more true than at the Standard Finishing Systems exhibit, which was bustling with activity on the third day of the show, even as other booths appeared to be on siesta. Mark Hunt, director of marketing for Standard, thought he knew why.

"Times are tough and margins are tight, so you have to scrub expenses out wherever you can. Our machines provide labor savings," he said, as he led a small group through Standard's booth. "The more intelligence we can build into our folders, the less expertise is needed from the operator. We've baked into the machines all the folder operator know-how."

Manufacturers of bindery equipment were optimistic about PRINT 09. They felt that printers looking to buy would be more likely to look at bindery equipment, both for the labor-saving reasons noted by Hunt and because this equipment constitutes a far cheaper investment/risk in a sour economy than does a multi-million-dollar printing press.

IPG looked at many of the new bindery products on display at PRINT 09. Here are some of them:

Folders and Creasers

Among the laundry list of new products at the Standard Finishing Systems exhibit was the Horizon AF-566T4F buckle-buckle folder, an automated six + four-buckle folder that accepts sheets up to 21.9x34˝. The AF-566T4F includes an intuitive, icon-based 10.4˝ color touch screen, which displays all common fold formats and sheet sizes. Precise stepper motors drive end stops and fold plates to the exact location for the sheet size and fold style selected. Up to 200 custom jobs can be stored in memory. The AF-566T4F is equipped with six buckles on the first station and four on the second station.

For low to moderate volume work, Standard premiered the PF-40 suction-feed folder. It can fold up to 390 sheets per minute and store up to 10 different jobs in memory. It has six preset fold styles and four preset paper sizes. A high capacity delivery conveyor is combined with a 4.3˝ high-capacity feeder.

Among the new products highlighted by Duplo USA was its Integrated Folding System (IFS), which incorporates an in-line knife folder with a DC-445 creaser or a DC-645 or DC-615 slitter/cutter/creaser. This enables users to finish applications in one pass, eliminating the need for a separate folding device. With IFS, the DC-645 uses two knives to create a variety of folded finishes, including step double parallel folds.

Si Nguyen, marketing director for Duplo USA, feels the show provided a good opportunity to lay the groundwork for future acquisitions.

"We're expressing to customers and future clients Duplo's commitment to providing quality, reliable digital color finishing," he says. "We're focusing more on application-driven products. There's not a lot of spending going on right now, so it's a good time to educate people about our technologies and innovations."

As always, the volume of the crowd is far less important than the timber of the customer. Tucker LaBree, regional sales manager for MBM Corp., noted that traffic built throughout the weekend, culminating with a solid Monday performance. "The quality of leads has been very good," LaBree reported.

MBM hit the floor with a pair of new machines, the Creasematic 150 and the Creasefold Auto 50. The 150 creases up to 2,000 sph, and makes up to nine creases per sheet (11x17˝). The Auto 50 handles up to 5,500 sheets an hour and 28 creases per 11x17˝ sheet.

Another creaser was on display at the Technifold USA booth. The Speedcreaser (previously the TCM) eliminates fiber cracking, even on digital stocks, regardless of grain direction. It produces flat, nearly invisible micro perforations that let sheets run through any laser printer or copier.

Andre Palko, the creative president of Technifold USA, wowed customers with his Bindery Success Today "magazine," which was a slickly designed product catalog disguised as a B2B bindery publication. The magazine trumpeted the company's 10-year anniversary.

"I tend to see the bright side of things," Palko remarks. "With less traffic, I can talk more to each customer. I spend 20 to 30 minutes with them and find out things that I wouldn't learn otherwise. People who came to Chicago for the show have done their homework, invested time doing research."

Morgana Systems demonstrated the new DigiFold 5000P, which was also higlighted in the xpedx booth. By combining the functions of creasing and folding into a single compact unit, the company has provided in-plants with a mobile finishing center that is equally effective with digital output or with heavy cross-grained stocks. Its DynaCrease technology has increased speed to more than 5,000 sheets (81⁄2x11˝) an hour. The maximum paper weight is 130-lb. cover stock and the minimum weight is 75-lb. text.

Vijuk Equipment showed G&K V-14/V-18 folders, which reportedly fold the widest range of miniature-size to commercial-size products in one folding system. Quick-set folding rollers provide easy setups and changeovers. Heavy-duty adjustable slitting shafts provide optimal perforating, slitting and scoring. A continuous load SAF feeder has air channels in the side rails that separate and lift the sheets to allow the bottom-suction drum to draw the paper to the register table. Vijuk also showed the MV-09 Outsert System, a double knife-folder with integrated pressing rollers and water scoring. It folds sheet sizes up to 203⁄4x40˝ into compact, evenly sealed outserts with up to 170 panels.

On display at the MBO booth was the Combi folding machine K 765 Efficiency Automatic (30x47˝). It combines motorized settings for buckle plates and rollers. Noise insulation makes the machine very quiet during operation.

Trimming and Cutting

Instead of trying to force market conditions on clients, a number of PRINT 09 vendors did a bang-up job of anticipating their needs in a depressed economy. One such company was Muller Martini. A strong theme at the booth was certified pre-owned equipment. This area is generally taboo; many vendors offer used gear, but few blow that horn.

Muller Martini also demonstrated its Orbit three-knife trimmer. It trims up to 80mm at 7,200 cph. Its automation reduces makeready times to no more than three minutes. All of the trimmer's settings can be optimized as the machine is running. The trimmer features servo-driven SmartPress technology that ensures consistent cutting conditions.

Baum highlighted its newly enhanced BaumCut 31.5 cutter. Features include a new cut stick removal device for faster blade changing; increased memory capacity to 198 programs; and program protection for preventing accidental program modifications or deletions. A pop-up window also alerts greasing intervals and all greasing points when required.

With the growth of books on demand, Challenge Machinery demonstrated the new CMT 130 book trimmer. Hydraulic clamping and cutting action provides strength to cut through 2˝ thick books. The intuitive menu-driven controller allows variable mode data entry with storage of up to 99 jobs. Size changes occur in about 10 seconds with no tools required.

Also for book applications, Duplo USA introduced the DKT-200 two-knife trimmer. The DKT-200 trims the head and foot off books inline with the company's DBM-500 and DBM-500T booklet making systems. The DKT-200 features heavy-duty construction, automatic setup, a small footprint, a straight paper path and an external waste bin.

MBM demonstrated the BC 12 Card Cutter for cutting business cards, post cards, digital photos, checks and more. It cuts 12 standard size business cards per page and up to 60 cards per minute. There are 10 pre-set cutting modes. Setup and adjustment are quick and easy.

Another business card finishing system was shown by Rollem International. The JetStream can trim, slit and cut in two directions, with virtually an unlimited amount of cards per sheet. It is also ideal for other types of card products.

Jeff Marr, vice president of sales at Colter & Peterson, used PRINT 09 as a chance to network with current and prospective clients. He reported solid activity from Saturday through Monday. On the product end, Colter & Peterson rolled out the Saber X15 series paper cutter with microcut control system and 15˝ touch screen, along with the large-format Saber XXL series, ranging in sizes from 65˝ to 126˝.

Stitching and Binding

Standard Finishing Systems debuted the Standard Horizon StitchLiner 6000 digital high-speed saddle stitcher integrated with Hunkeler's UW6 unwinder and CS6 rotary cutter. It can finish up to 6,000 booklets per hour, when in-line with a continuous feed printer. The solution offers inline cover feeding and non-stop booklet production on a range of paper stocks at up to 600 feet per minute.

Best Graphics displayed a trio of Best Osako saddle-stitchers. The models can produce up to 13,000 cph, and offer a choice of feeder and trimmer styles in vertical and horizontal feed models.

GBC showed its new eBinder 200 inline with a Xerox Nuvera. It is an automated, mechanical binding system that finishes a range of document sizes with a new single binding element that adjusts automatically to every book thickness. In addition, it gives users the ability to finish documents from two to 200 pages on the fly, without the added down time for setups and changeovers.

Spiel Associates launched the Sterling Digi–punch, which allows for punching up to 60,000 sheets per hour. It can punch sheets with covers or tabs intermixed, and features a variable pile lift to slow the machine down for difficult jobs. A touch screen offers automatic setup and changeovers. The screen prompts operators when to lubricate or sharpen the die. The machine can be run in reverse to eliminate jam ups. You can punch sheets from 51⁄2x51⁄2˝ to 13x12˝ for comb, coil and double loop wire. Also shown was the new Rilecart B-535, an automatic, double loop wire binder capable of binding books at a speed of 3,000/hour. It can bind books from 31⁄4x4˝ up to 12x121⁄2˝.

Gateway Bookbinding Systems showed its Plastikoil plastic spiral binding equipment. Plastikoil's elliptical filament is available in 45 colors, with diameters from 6 to 50mm (2˝). Lead- and Phthalate-free, Plastikoil is safe for children's books and is CPSIA- and ROHS-compliant. When using Plastikoil, pages will reportedly never pull apart and the coil will not bend or distort during shipping.

Spiral Binding introduced the PaperLock comb binding machine, which can bind documents from four sheets to 200 sheets. Books open 180° and lie flat. The eco-friendly system uses a Papercomb binding element that is 100 percent recyclable. Paper can be punched on a traditional plastic comb binding system. Once the PaperComb is inserted, the pages are locked together and cannot be detached or removed. Tampered documents are easily recognized. PaperCombs come in three sizes and a variety of colors.

Akiles had a number of punches and coil inserters on display. Sales Manager Luis Hsu said the new Crimp@Coil unit was drawing a lot of interest. The double-sided electric coil crimper works on a range of coil sizes (6-50mm). A patented coil guide ensures a perfect crimp, without the hassle of switching crimper heads. Comb binders like the Alpha–Bind-CE were also popular, Hsu said. This electric comb system punches up to 20 sheets and has a built-in comb opener and a single punch width of 12˝.

For perfect binding applications, Nordson introduced its new PURBlue 4 adhesive melters, the latest generation of its moisture-curing reactive (PUR) adhesive application systems. The melters can process two-, three- or four-kilogram foil encased slugs of PUR adhesive. Ideal for low-volume spine gluing operations, the "melt-on-demand" systems heat only the adhesive needed, reducing thermal stress, protecting bonding characteristics and minimizing adhesive residue. PURBlue melters quickly disassemble for cleaning and maintenance.

Foil Stamping and Laminating

At the Brandtjen & Kluge booth, President Hank Brandtjen took a minute to offer his views on the familiar wait-and-see approach to technology investment.

"If you don't jump in until the technology is established, then you're behind," he said. "You'll wait and see and, in the end, all you do is wait and see nothing."

There was plenty to see at the Brandtjen & Kluge booth, including the EHG Series 22x30˝ foil stamping, embossing and diecutting press. Using the same format as the Kluge EHD Series press, the EHG enables users to compete in the half-sheet market.

In the same vein, Heidelberg introduced KAMA ProCut for die-cutting, creasing, kiss-cutting, hot or cold embossing, hot foil stamping, hologram stamping and hot cutting. For small-format shops, a new 20˝ ProCut 53 version is available. Enhanced with a new vacuum feed table, motorized cutting pressure adjustment, an anti-static system and more, the die-cutter can change from one application to another with ease. Also new was the Stahlfolder 82, which reduces changeover times through intelligent automation and ergonomic operation. Job-specific settings can be saved to accelerate makereadies for repeat jobs.

GBC introduced the HeatSeal Sprint H950 automated desktop laminator, which doesn't require operator guidance, as well as the 640t wide-format roll laminator, which runs cold finishing jobs roll-to-roll at up to 16 fpm.

Cosmo Films, which now owns GBC Commercial, rolled out the 7580 laminating system for medium- and high-volume finishing environments. It is available with an automated in-line stacker. Also new was the 6300 laminator for one-sided finishing. It can laminate on-demand print runs of book covers, photo books, brochures, postcards and labels. Each system includes an automatic sheet feeder and separator. An adjustable feeder head provides precise feeding of every sheet while dual pneumatic nip pressure assures optimal bonding strength.

Addressing and Inserting

Böwe Bell + Howell showed off its new BBH 150 high-speed envelope inserter, designed for the direct-mail environment. The system can cycle up to 16,000 letter envelopes and 10,000 flats per hour. It handles inserts ranging from 3.2x4.3˝ to 9x11.8˝, and a maximum thickness of 0.25˝. It can process envelopes ranging from 4x7˝ to 10x13˝, with a maximum collation thickness of 0.4˝.

The DS-1200 production folding/inserting system was introduced by Neopost. It can run up to 12,000 envelopes/hour, streamlining the entire mailing process from input to throughput to output. The high-capacity sheet feeders, insert stations, envelope feeder and vertical envelope output stacker maintain high productivity, even for the most demanding mail processing jobs.

GBR Systems' autoSET 18 inserting system runs at speeds up to 18,000 per hour. All controls, as well as loading and off-loading, are ergonomically located. The inserter can be attached to house air and vacuum systems, reducing electrical use and heat gain from the inserters. A central touch screen control panel controls all settings. Simply touching the symbols on the screen will change settings or reconfigure the entire system.

A new inserter controller for mailing insertion control was touted by Domino Amjet. The controller provides an integrated read and print capability on both existing and new inserter systems. It is offered in cooperation with Lexmark and Lake Image Systems.

Sitma USA's SM15 high-capacity envelope inserter meets demanding production requirements from C4, C6, to pocket envelopes. It can handle up to 15,000 pieces/hour, and in-line applications are available.

The Mailstream Productivity Series (MPS) high-speed inserting system was showcased by Pitney Bowes. The system features the new Mailstream Merging Module that cuts, merges and matches color coupons up to 80,000 per hour with a multiple-page color document, then inserts it into an in-line color personalized envelope.

Pitney Bowes also launched a new production color printing system for high-volume transactional mailers, the IntelliJet Printing System. It is based on the HP T300 Color Inkjet Printing System and is a high-volume system that produces complex transactional statements without compromising speed or quality. It operates at 400 feet per minute with a 30˝ wide format. Customers can produce four-up 7˝ forms at up to 3,490 impressions per minute, and three-up 81⁄2˝ forms at up to 2,600 ipm.

On display at the Videojet booth was the 4320 ink-jet addressing and imaging system. It boasts adjustable print resolution of 150, 200, 300 or 600 dpi and expandable print head configurations from 2˝ to 8˝, in 2˝ or 4˝ increments. By adjusting the print resolution it is possible to optimize the amount of ink used to the minimum required for each job.

Secap showed the QuikJet addressing and imaging mail production system featuring HP ink-jet technology. The system, which was also featured in the xpedx booth, offers new modular architecture for flexibility in system configurations and functionality.

To help get ink-jetted envelopes into the mail faster, Kirk Rudy presented the new KR 882N Near-IR dryer for water-based inks. It is equipped with near infrared bulbs that concentrate the energy on the water molecules of the ink instead of the substrate, providing faster drying and better adhesion on coated stocks and cards. The efficiency gain allows the dryer to operate at a lower setting, saving on electrical consumption and extending bulb life. It interconnects with the transport base so the dryer only runs when the transport base is running.

Kirk-Rudy also showcased the new KR535HK tabber. It can apply tabs up to 2˝ in diameter on the lead, trail and side edges of booklets and self-mailers in a single pass. It handles 16˝ diameter rolls and runs all major types of tabs, as well as pressure-sensitive stamps and labels of various shapes and sizes. IPG



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