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Adhesive binders--Tightening the Belt

October 2000
BY ERIK CAGLE


Whatever fat existed in the adhesive binding portion of the postpress workflow has long since been trimmed away.

The days of the long run are long gone. On-demand environments are everywhere, and inventories are kept as low as possible. Makeready times must make a NASCAR pit crew green with envy, and the machines must be easy to use, as quality help, like substance in this year's presidential election, is nowhere to be found.

Through it all, customers are still asking for lower prices—frantically waving table-top machine money while standing in front of the floor- model machines. They can't be blamed; profit margins are tight.

"Customers are seeking automation, cycle speed and quality of end product," notes Mark Hunt, director of marketing at Standard Finishing Systems, a division of Standard Duplicating Machines. "The customer's expectation for quality and productivity always goes up. They're unwilling to make any compromise in quality and still try to keep overhead down."

Adhesive binders need to handle thicker books and variable-thickness books, Hunt adds. Another factor is digital color covers, a result of shorter runs, which can't be folded without imposing cracking on the spine. Thus, supplementary equipment is needed for scoring.

Standard Finishing Systems offers the BQ 460, a followup to the BQ 440. It boasts elements to simplify setup and changeover, and contains features such as glue cutoff. Standard also has an off-line binder, the BQ 340S, and a digital three-knife trimmer, the HT-30.

Keeping it simple, not just for the sake of the operator, is crucial in maintaining productivity, according to David Spiel, president of Spiel Associates. He feels that, as opposed to prepress workflow, the fewer electronic bells and whistles, the better off the user will be in the long run.

"We approach binders from the quality book side of it," Spiel remarks. "Many perfect binders have very advanced electronics and servo motors, which often break down due to the nature of perfect binding—paper dust gets in the electronics and servo motors."

One mistake that Spiel believes customers make is in acquiring an automatic cover feeder to go with their single-clamp binders. It is roughly a $10,000 expenditure, he notes, that doesn't do a thing for productivity. "Everyone loves [a process that's] untouched by human hands, but sometimes it's faster to touch things," Spiel states.

Glue on the Side
Spiel Associates markets the Sterling Minibinder, which can output 350 books per hour with one operator or upwards of 500 per hour with two operators. Among its features is the popular side-gluing mechanism for hinge covers.

 

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