Does Giving Bindery Equipment a Makeover Pay Off?

Bindery system manufacturers have faced a few tough sales years of late. Sales of new machines have fallen due to a variety of factors—recession, consolidation and many printers having simply given up the ghost and gone out of business.

This has spawned a lot of brainstorming among the vendors about how to generate revenue in a slow market. One of the largest bindery manufacturers has come up with a program to give its older machines a complete “makeover.” The program made its debut at GRAPH EXPO 2012, with displaying of an older saddlestitcher that had undergone the treatment.

The theory is that older saddlestitchers and perfect binders can be retrofitted with new mechanical and electrical components and software, thereby giving them new life with multiple productivity enhancements. The vendor claims that the program’s upgrades are able to cut machine makereadies by 50 percent, increase run speeds by 25-30 percent, and reduce operational expenses by as much as 50 percent, while also reducing maintenance costs.

All-in-all, this is a very compelling argument, and could give printers and binders more years of useful (and productive) service from equipment they bought years ago. It also enables them to bring the older gear up to the competitive standards of today’s new machines.

The “$64 question” is the economics of the program. There is a bunch of relatively new bindery equipment floating around out there due to plant closures. I know this because I receive “Here’s a great deal” or plant auction emails almost every day. These machines are selling for fractions of their new-equipment purchase prices.

Therefore, an analysis must be done to determine whether the rehabilitation program offered makes financial sense vs. buying used systems of recent vintage. Nonetheless, the fact that a well-thought-out makeover program is being offered to printers and binders is a welcome step in helping them become more competitive with their existing iron.

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.
Related Content
  • Carl Gerhardt

    Shout this from the treetops! Bindery is too often the last investment shop owners often look at as a way of improving productivity. In a lot of the shops I have been in it should be the first and will have a quick payback.