Atlanta Bindery and FinishingMarch 1998
Stavely's partner concurs. "There is no question," states Henley, "that this machine's ability to do saddle-stitch booklet binding as well as collate flat sheets and signatures is really helping us in performing the extremely varied range of finishing projects we handle on a daily basis."
The Fenimore machine design is indeed based on the need to deliver the high degree of flexibility that has become critical to a trade bindery's productive output and, ultimately, its profitability. Collating stands out as one of the machine's most-important features.
From a single common pocket, the multi-purpose Sidewinder collates flat sheet, jogs, folds, stitches and trims to the right for the production of saddle-bound books. And with the same pocket, the Side-winder collates flat sheets or signatures to the left for perfect binding or other purposes.
While the Sidewinder answered the bindery's primary requirement for maximum flexibility, Stavely lists the equipment's rugged design as another key advantage.
"Though it's very compact, the machine's heavy-duty design provides more-than-adequate stability, even at high production speeds," he says. "And mechanically it has proven to be very reliable on the job. It is definitely built to run—and run."
In addition to accommodating both folded signatures and single sheets, the Sidewinder delivers ease of operation and faster changeovers. (Setup is typically accomplished in under two minutes per station.) Making the switch to folded signatures is simply a matter of reversing the finger chain to deliver gathered sets to the left end of the gathering tray. This feature reportedly makes the unit ideally suited for side binders or stitching work.
"Another major advantage is its continuous rotary feed system, which allows us to replenish hoppers while the machine is operating," adds Henley. "With this machine, sheets are stacked vertically—edge loaded—rather than horizontally. Not only does this reduce loading time, it's more efficient than horizontal stacking."
In horizontal feeding, Henley explains, ink buildup and other variations can affect the level at the top of the stack, which in turn can adversely affect feeding consistency. It goes without saying that the rotary feed system has had a very positive impact on reducing misfeeds and increasing overall productivity.
Additionally, edge-loading is more desirable because the total height of the load does not affect the sheet or signature being fed, said to be the case on conventional machines equipped with pile-fed hoppers.
According to Vijuk, the 920 Sidewinder's PLC (programmable logic control) also represents an important technological innovation, and offers some advantages that are unavailable on competitive machines.
This includes rejection of incomplete books without requiring the machine to be shut down. At the same time, it ensures automatic consecutive pocket activation (Ripple Start/Stop) in correct sequential order.
"We looked at a number of other machines," says Henley, "but there's really nothing available that is quite like the Sidewinder.
"Still, in terms of cost, it was extremely competitive. For our money, the Sidewinder is absolutely the right machine for a trade bindery."