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At Berryville Graphics, a Milestone in Book Printing

July 1998
BERRYVILLE, VA—Berryville Graphics, reportedly the nation's third-largest book manufacturer, recently obtained its first patent and may soon seek another.

The patent was issued for the company's Duratech bookbinding process, an alternative to traditional smythe sewing that provides a "lay-open" quality for easy reading. Duratech uses a pliable cold adhesive, twice-reinforced with hotmelt and pulled into an old-world European-styled spine that has been tested by independent labs for durability.

Developed by Berryville engineers for use in conjunction with the company's linked in-line system, the Duratech process takes six-and-a-half minutes from binding to jacketed product, and produces 110 bound books per minute.

The Duratech patent is just one of several milestones marked by Berryville over the past few years.

As one of the first book manufacturers to go computer-to-plate, Berryville has faced some unique challenges. For example, since the CTP process eliminated film from the workflow (and, therefore eliminated bluelines), Berryville developed an alternative customer proofing system.

Berryville worked with Krause (manufacturer of the LaserStar CTP system that Berryville uses to manufacture its books) and Xerox (makers of the DocuTech digital printing system) to create a software program, wherein the LaserStar files could be output on the DocuTech to produce "bound galleys on-demand."

This proof, via a soft cover that is produced by laser instead of offset, allows customers to make approvals and/or corrections on the back cover of the book. Also working with Krause, Berryville was able to overcome the potential for error in data file transfer, which often accompanies CTP usage. The Berryville-Krause partnership resulted in a RIP system that proofs by page instead of by file, significantly reducing the introduction of errors whenever files are re-opened.

The latest accomplishment for Berryville is the invention and installation of a revolutionary robotics system that palletizes cartoned books as well as uncartoned jacketed books.

The installation marks an industry first, according to Berryville Graphics President Wayne Taylor, who claims his company is the only book manufacturer using the technology.

"Everyone has a robot programmed with specific moves," he says. "But no one else has a physical arm that handles stacks of books without dropping or marking them. That's what makes us unique."

Taylor says the robotic arm has a custom-designed clamping mechanism, which took Berryville engineers 18 months to develop.

"An equipment manufacturer gives you the basic tool, but to get a specific result, you've got to tweak the machine to do what you want," Taylor contends. "With our in-line system, we're able to electrically and mechanically engineer the 'links' between process centers so books are transferred from one machine to another smoothly and efficiently."

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