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Saddle stitchers -- A Staple of Fine Finishing

May 2004
BY ERIK CAGLE

Senior Editor

Pity the poor saddle stitcher. It gets no love, no recognition for a job well done. Bindery operators want the stitcher to take care of business, and they certainly don't want to intervene in its appointed rounds.

When it comes to their stitchers, notes Darcy Maeda, public relations coordinator for Duplo USA, printers seek the ultimate in automation, in every aspect of the design. "They want the machine's stitcher heads, back jogger, side guides, stitch stopper, fold stopper, size adjustments, fold roller gap and conveyance roller position to adjust automatically," she says.

"Automation of this degree minimizes operator training time, so a highly skilled operator is not required to run the equipment and novices quickly become experts."

Versatility is another, er, staple of a fine stitcher, Maeda adds, and printers should learn if a bookletmaker connects only to a collator, or if it connects in-line to a digital print engine or functions near-line with a sheet feeder.

"Versatility is crucial for printers that either currently have both offset presses and digital printers or are looking into investing in a digital printer soon," she says. "Digital printers are now able to handle the short runs that aren't feasible on offset presses, so printers are in need of a finishing solution that's capable of handling output from digital printers."

Duplo's latest heavy-duty bookletmaker, the DBM-500, produces up to 5,000 booklets per hour. This set accumulation system accepts both set-by-set of the traditional offset market and sheet-by-sheet pre-collated output of digital printers.

The DBM-500 accepts output from off-line (DC-10/60 collator), near-line (connected to the DSF-2000 document sheet feeder) and in-line (with a digital print engine) sources.

With run lengths and turnaround times continually decreasing, Heidelberg USA came up with automated makeready functions for its ST400 stitcher that were designed based on printers' input to enable them to accomplish their customers' needs, according to Steven Calov, product manager.

"Everyone in today's market is looking to enhance profits, reduce labor, increase production and position themselves with a competitive edge over others in their marketplace," Calov states. "In order to help customers in this task, we have designed our computer-driven stitchers for users that purchase a single stitcher and those that require multiple machines. Customers with one machine can still take advantage of mobile feeders because they can easily configure the machine feeders based on the job parameters. They can purchase multiple cover feeders to run four-pagers instead of folding them first and then running them through the stitcher. Users can eliminate the folding process while gaining efficiency and increasing their profits."
 

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