Will A ‘New Bind’ Arrive?

Information technology changes at lightning speed. With book binding, a truly new technology arrival every decade is more like it. But, every once in a while, a game changer sneaks in. The last major milestone in adhesive binding was the introduction of PUR (polyurethane reactive) glue, which cured by forming a chemical bond with paper.

But a newer adhesive system may be about to make a debut. Many years ago, I ran into a German businessman who had developed a special book block spine preparation tool, along with a new cold adhesive. The combination of this unique spine preparation and the cold glue created a completely “lay-flat” bind, with tremendous page-pull strength.

This was quite an advancement in adhesive binding, but what became the selling point was the fact that this was a real “cold glue” that developed its bond with the paper almost instantly. PUR, by contrast, needs 24- to 48-hours to achieve full strength. This was a real advance. Not having to melt the adhesive eliminates a whole class of expensive systems necessary to both melt hot-melt, or PUR and to maintain their temperature and viscosity. Not only that, but the fumes created by these heated glues must (in many cases) be vented. This glue scores on both of these issues.

So, back to the story. Despite my being introduced to this technology back in the 90’s, it never came into real commercial use. There were missteps here and there. Many prototype (and production) binders were built that never really worked, and other roadblocks. But a major chemical firm got involved a while back, and things seemed to finally be on the right track. My German friend was a real evangelist for his idea, and he stuck with it, and eventually made a connection with another well-known German print industry manufacturer.

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.
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