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BOOK/BOOKLET BINDERS--Fast and Easy, Rules

March 2001
BY ERIK CAGLE


The evolution of book publishing has some parallels with that of the computer. Smaller and quicker are the operative words in this comparison.

Before the PC became a household fixture, computers were hulking boxes with reel-to-reel tapes and other round objects that made those cute little concentric circles. And they weren't the sharpest knives in the drawer, boasting the processing speed of a can opener. Book publishing was also big and scarry—1,000-page megatomes were loaded onto presses to churn out millions of copies. "War and Peace" was followed by hundreds of thousands of 500-page copies of biology books. Obviously, they took awhile to print.

Naturally, best sellers haven't gone anywhere—Stephen King may hawk his wordsmith abilities via the Internet, but he still can peddle a million-plus copies of whatever he puts his name to. But while the big runs remain viable for some, many printers have found golden opportunities with shorter runs and equipment that offers the flexibility to change from variable sizes in a short amount of time. Versatility can allow printers to accommodate publishers with varying run size and length requirements.

Naturally, any equipment that can decrease makeready time will allow the printer to jump from one run to another without being bogged down in adjusting for differing needs. The same holds true for presses and binding equipment, the latter of which can present a challenge for manufacturers looking to address the needs of the book and booklet printing populace.

"In today's market, short runs with quick changeover to other sizes are very important," stresses Tom Hagemann, product manager for ISP Stitching & Bindery Products. "Along with this, reliability over time and low maintenance intervals are attributes that customers demand. "

ISP is addressing needs in the booklet-making segment with its new B-2000 Stitch'n Fold BookletMaker. It features an economical, EZ-Thread stitching head, and Hagemann feels customers appreciate the savings garnered by using stitching wire as opposed to staples. ISP also offers a face trimmer that can be used in-line and off-line with the B-2000.

According to Peter Tu, vice president of marketing for Duplo USA, customers are seeking features such as versatility, quick changeover, modular design, high quality and productivity—all at a reasonable cost. Thus, he notes, choosing the best machinery to achieve maximum versatility and productivity is critical in the high-demand, short-run environment.

"Printers prefer bindery equipment that is easy to use with quick setup and changeover," Tu remarks. "Equipment that is geared for short-run work and that is easy to use will subsequently lower labor costs for on-demand products."
 

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