Trade Binderies — Transformation Time

Thinking back to when he started out in the industry in the 1980s, Frank Shear, president of Woburn, MA-based Seaboard Bindery, remembers a time when trade binderies were all things to all printers. Only a handful of the largest printers had substantial bindery capabilities back then. Most finishing work was left to the trade shops.

“There was a lot of overflow work in those days, and we were able to provide a complete bindery service to most of the printers we dealt with,” Shear recalls. “Markups were healthy in those days.”

My, how things have changed. Many commercial printers have opted to bolster their in-house bindery departments with all types of finishing gear, providing the over-used phrase “one-stop shopping” for their customers. Trade binderies, in turn, took a hit—and had to find new ways to remain profitable.

“Today, with the growth of printing, the overcapacity in printing equipment, and the development of in-house binderies to respond to the quicker turnaround demands, we have become specialists in many ways,” Shear admits. “We have had to develop niches for certain printers—becoming high-quality perfect binding specialists to some printers, fast, quick-turnaround saddlestitch binders to others.”

Take, for instance, Nationwide Laminating, a print finisher located in Lorton, VA, whose name does not tell the entire story. The company recently expanded its capabilities for the fourth time this year with the installation of a high-speed, two-sided laminator. Previous expansions included the purchase of a Kugler punch, the introduction of Wire-O binding services and establishing operations as a distributor of plastic coil for bookbinding in the metro Washington area.

According to Brian Hills, president of Nationwide Laminating, the additions reflect the company’s commitment to delivering quality results for its clients.

“Our customers appreciate our ability to turn most jobs around within 24 hours,” says Hills. “With another high-speed machine, we’ll be able to continue honoring that commitment.”

Related Content