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SPIRAL WIRE & PLASTIC COIL BINDING -- Better Than Perfect?

March 2002
BY CHRIS BAUER


Just ask a manufacturer of spiral wire or plastic coil binding equipment the advantages that their products have over other finishing techniques, and you will get a laundry list of answers. Sure, some of the benefits they will give you will be self-promoting marketing speak, but this kind of horn tooting has to be expected. But, on the other hand, some of the attributes spiral wire and plastic coil binding gear give to a finishing specialist certainly are practical for some applications.

"Undoubtedly, the greatest advantage of spiral binding is that when opened, the book lays flat," explains David Spiel of Long Island City, NY-based Spiel Associates. "Lay-flat perfect binding was supposed to put an end to mechanical binding, but it hasn't because it doesn't really lay flat. Books bound with plastic coil, spiral and double-loop wire can also be folded over for easier use."

Many Uses

Books that need to lay flat such as cookbooks, manuals and maps are perfect applications for spiral binding, says Spiel. "It is also ideal to use double-loop wire when facing pages need to correspond to each other either with graphics or charts. Mechanically bound books, especially plastic coil, are very durable."

Spiel Associates offers the Sterling Coilmaster II, an in-line, plastic coil binding system. According to Spiel, it is the only automatic plastic coil inserter that will bind books with round or oval holes. It allows the user to punch normal margins from the head and foot of the book. One operator can create coil and bind books at speeds up to 700 books per hour.

Bill Francis, national sales manager at James Burn International in Poughkeepsie, NY, reports the Wire-O and UniCoil plastic spiral products that his company offers both provide "lay-flat" capabilities in that they can be opened to a specific page and will stay open. This binding method also allows for 360-degree page turning and, for presentation documents, "they offer an upscale look that enhances the presentation," he notes.

The BB500 semi-automatic Wire-O binder features speeds of up to 1,200 books per hour. Most settings are variable and controllable through a PLC keypad. It will bind flush cut, overhanging and wraparound covers, as well as extended index tabs.

On the plastic side, James Burn offers the UniCoil CB30 automatic coil inserter, which automatically inserts, cuts and crimps both ends of UniCoil plastic coil elements. It is a floor model with foot pedal operation, variable speed coil feed and quick loading coil. The CB30 can bind up to 500 books per hour.

Plastic spiral binding is the only mechanical binding method that can actually be installed by hand, points out Anna Massey, sales and marketing manager for Gateway Bookbinding Systems of Pembina, ND. This is an example of how simplistic, yet effective, the method is.

Simplicity Personified

"Obviously (hand binding) is not an option for the bindery or in-plant operation, but it does exemplify the simplicity of the process," she explains. "Once the holes are punched in the book, the plastic spiral is wound through the holes, with the ends needing a bend to keep from unwinding. It is a two-step process, the first being to punch the holes and the second to insert the coil--irregardless of whose equipment one is using."

Being a simple process has its advantages, especially in today's marketplace. Printers and trade binderies want a machine that is user-friendly, Massey continues, and plastic coil binding is a good fit for these needs.

"They want equipment that even an untrained employee can operate easily and be productive," she contends. "They also want a machine that can handle every possible book thickness that they might do."

PRINT 01 saw the unveiling of Gateway's Plastikoil Concept III for the manufacturing and automated insertion of plastic spiral binding. The Plastikoil Concept III interlines the Plastikoil New Concept Former with the PBS 3000 Auto Coil Inserter. Plastic spiral binding is formed in the diameter and length needed, then immediately conveyed into position on the PBS 3000 Auto Inserter, with the operator simply activating the foot pedal to complete the coil insertion into the book with a simultaneous cut and bend of both coil ends.

Intended for a trade finisher or larger in-house bindery, the Plastikoil Concept III is designed to accommodate larger volume runs. Productivity has been rated as high as 800 books per hour.

"Double-O wire and plastic coil binding machines are easy to set up and require very little training," stresses Ann Marie Boggio, director of marketing at Spiral Binding Co. in Totowa, NJ. "Wire binding machines are the best choice for traditional binding applications, and plastic coil binding equipment is the best choice when easy-to-use, lay-flat documents are required."

Spiral Binding offers a wide range of plastic coil and wire binding equipment. Both types of machines can bind up to a large capacity (11/4? for wire, 2? for coil), Boggio reveals.

According to Christian Webel, product manager, GBC document finishing equipment, based in Buffalo Grove, IL, the variety of visually stimulating binding opportunities gives plastic coil an advantage over other methods.

"For plastic coil specifically, there are several colors to choose from to coordinate and complement the covers being used," she says. "This creates a very professional look."

Plastic Coil Offering

The GBC DigiColor plastic coil inserter binds up to 400 books per hour and documents up to 14x12? using 4:1 coils from 8mm to 33mm. Setup is tool-free and changeovers are reported to be fast. A LCD control panel directs the operator.

Also from GBC, the CC2700 electronically winds coil elements from 6mm to 33mm to any pitch into pre-punched documents. Hand crimpers complete the process by cutting and crimping the ends of the coil element. The spine former helps shape the punched edge of the document to the coil curve, speeding up insertion for larger documents.

Vivian Sassi, of Miami Beach-based American Binding Co., adds that coil binding is becoming more and more popular every day. The ease of design and low cost satisfies efficiency worries and low budget concerns, she says. Sassi feels these points will keep coil binding an important piece of the bindery puzzle for some time to come.

"The machine for spiral wire or plastic coil that will conquer the market will be a manual punching machine with an automatic coil inserter for an all-in-one machine that will fit the customer's budget and binding needs," she predicts.
 

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