Adhesive Binders — Tightening the Belt
Steven Calov, product manager for Heidelberg (USA) Finishing, concurs that there is a premium placed on qualified, experienced help due to the lack of it. Printing and finishing companies are looking to take the phrase "trade" out of trade binder and teach new employees how to operate the equipment inside a day.
In manufacturing its QB 200, Heidelberg USA added a PLC control panel that regulates the length of glue applied to the spine. The glue is applied after a sensor registers the length of the spine.
"It took some of the skill level that was required before out of the loop and replaced it with an electronic eye to enhance the makeready time of the equipment," Calov says.
"If you look at the industry and all the automation there is on presses—automatic plate and blanket washing devices—you're starting to see some of those innovations on postpress. We're playing catch-up to where the presses and prepress are; look at how prepress has evolved, from movable type to where it is today. Now postpress is starting to see the advancements to enhance the product for throughput."
It's the age of shorter runs, and adhesive binders are being affected in much the same manner as saddle stitchers, according to Ron Bowman, vice president of sales for Rosback. Ease of operation is the oft-repeated key, and maintaining price levels—especially with the run lengths—is highly critical.
"People are looking for all the features of floor models in table tops," Bowman says. "They're trying to get the price down. . . but there's certain, basic elements of perfect binding one has to maintain in order to have a book that's going to hold together."
No-fault setup and side gluing are among the features included in Rosback's 880 floor model binder. It boasts a 24/7 programmable timer to heat the glue prior to schedule. The company also markets the 885—a cover feeder for the 880—and the 850 desktop unit.