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CEO of Finishing Resources, Inc

The Finish Line

By Don Piontek

About Don

Don has worked in technical support, sales, engineering, and management during a career in both the commercial offset and digital finishing sectors. He is the North American representative for IBIS Bindery Systems, Ltd. of The United Kingdom.

Don't Forget to Take Out the Trim!

We all get reminded to take out the garbage (or we remind ourselves). But think about the paper situation in the bindery. That could involve LOTS of paper. You've got waste paper from the guillotine cutters, paper dust from the milling stations on the perfect binders, and three-knife trim waste from the book trimmers.

And if you're a sizable operation, with lots of machinery, that can take a lot of time and labor. It used to involve waste bins collecting all that excess, then being emptied manually every so often. I emphasize the word "often," since a high-speed saddle-stitcher or perfect binder with a three-knife trimmer can fill a large container very quickly.

So we have a "waste" problem that needs labor input. But, it can also be an opportunity. Trim extraction systems solve many problems at once. These typically consist of a series of ducts that use fans and blowers to create a strong vacuum. Connections are made to the waste pickup point of each machine. Paper trim and paper dust are "vacuumed" up into overhead ducts. They're transported into waste containers, or into a paper baling system.  

Dust and solid paper are separated within the system. A screen collector or filter system picks up the dust and deposits it into the baler. These systems can be pretty large. A trim evac. system servicing a large binder can be powered by motors of up to fifty horsepower, and the main piping can be two feet in diameter. And they're not cheap, with prices that can approach a quarter of a million dollars.

So, why would an owner invest in one? Several reasons. Paper dust is the enemy of machinery. It gets into shafts and bearings and bonds with any lubrication to form a sandpaper-like grit that will steadily eat away at metal. Second, it frees up the labor that would have to be used to collect paper trim (and manual collection does not solve the dust issue).

But the most important one is money. All that paper waste is a sellable commodity. Tom Egan, president of TNC Industries in Minneapolis, a supplier of HVAC and trim evacuation systems, told me that several bindery owners informed him that the money collected from selling the baled paper to recyclers made up a sizeable part of their bottom line. In these days of compressed profit margins, every little bit helps.

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