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The Finishing Touch

June 2002
Ease of use, automation, reliability, flexibility, versatility and productivity are just a few advances touted by saddle stitcher and booklet maker manufacturers.

by CAROLINE MILLER

One thing is clear, today's booklet makers and saddle stitchers are easier to operate than the models of yesteryear. Features such as air feeding, detectors for misfeeds and doubles, and operator LCD control panels are just some of the innovations found on contemporary machines.

"Customers are looking for a machine that will do any job their clients bring them, so the [equipment] has to be versatile," says Donna Hall, advertising manager for MBM Corp. "They want to turn jobs without delay, so it has to be reliable. They also demand fast and easy job setup."

According to Hall, MBM has found a way to address these customer demands with its DocuVac air feed finishing system. The air feed feature allows for faster production rates, as well as the ability to handle all types of paper stocks without marking. The detectors help maintain accuracy and reduce downtime. The LCD control panels address the growing need for operator-friendly equipment.

Printers also demand features such as the stitch/staple method, staple leg length and automatic size adjustments, notes Steve Cutler, post press product manager for A.B.Dick.

His company offers the Watkiss BookMaster, featuring a low-impact stapling mechanism, which ensures virtually maintenance-free operation. The main wearing parts are included in the staple cartridge instead of the staple lead and are replaced every 5,000 cycles when the cartridge is changed. Cutler says more than one million cycles can be run before maintenance is needed.

"The BookMaster's staple leg length contains 22 sheets and produces a well-formed staple," he reveals. "The push-button, automatic adjustment changes paper sizes faster, more accurately and easier. It costs more, but setup time and operator skill requirements are greatly reduced."

Many innovations have resulted from the industry trend of putting relatively unskilled employees in the bindery, while still demanding that the products they produce be as perfect as possible, reports Ron Bowman, vice president of sales and marketing for Rosback. Rosback offers the Setmaster Stitch/Fold and Trim booklet maker, an in-line or off-line unit with dial adjustments, up to four stitching heads, in-line folders and a face trimmer.

In a world of lean running shops, ease of use is important, stresses Jose Alvarez, marketing coordinator at Duplo USA. "Ease of operation reduces the need for skilled labor, subsequently lowering labor costs. Unskilled workers with minimal training are capable of operating the equipment," he explains.
 

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