Just-In-Time Finishing — Flying to the Finish
To satisfy the on-demand finishing needs of its printing operation, Balmar Inc., of Gaithersburg, MD, has an experienced in-house bindery staff to tackle even the most challenging deadlines.
"We have two fully staffed shifts in our bindery department until 11 p.m., and have a crew on hand if needed for a third shift," reports Earl Gift, director of manufacturing. Gear like a Dexter Lawson drill, a Scott tabbing machine, a Duplo collator/stitcher, a GBC USP13 automatic punch and a Plasticoil binder are just some of the units employed for just-in-time finishing at Balmar. But Gift says that in-line finishing is also a big piece of the binding equation.
"We use tape binding in-line on our Xerox 6180," he says. "Our Xerox 6135 has an in-line SBM (signature bookletmaker) saddle stitcher. And our NexPress 2100 also has in-line collation."
Balmar operates three print production facilities; four on-demand digital printing centers; a full-service mailing and fulfillment center; a facilities management (outsourcing) division; a comprehensive legal publishing and reproduction center; and a full-service design studio.
Meanwhile, back at Copresco, for saddle stitching work a Vijuk Fenimore Sidewinder accommodates four-page signatures and folds on-the-fly. Flat sheets and two-, four- and eight-page impositions are the rule in print-on-demand circles, Johnson remarks. For perfect binding, a handfed Sulby Auto Minabinder is used.
"Though neither of these two pieces of equipment were specifically designed for on-demand finishing, short makereadies and great flexibility in size and thicknesses make them ideal," Johnson advises. "Because both machines were originally created for commercial binderies, quality is equal to those of books that have taken weeks to conventionally print and bind."
For Copresco clients who feel that maximum economy is paramount over appearance, side stitching may be substituted for saddle stitching, and tape binding for perfect binding, he says.
"These processes can be accomplished both on- and off-line," Johnson confides. "As for mechanical binding, a plethora of smaller punches and binders manufactured by GBC and Renz allow for instant changeover and zero makeready. Running speed is sacrificed with smaller equipment, but in a world where books are produced by the hundreds instead of by the thousands, this is a worthwhile tradeoff, since we still finish ahead because of radically shortened makereadies."