Great Lakes Bindery — Move to Automation
"The Rilecart really fit our needs, and does it without spending $800,000 for a machine The binder has really done well for us." A double-loop wire binder, the B-599 automatically binds books at speeds of 4,000 books per hour depending on size. It automatic-ally binds books with wire diameters from 1⁄4˝ to 1˝. "With this machine, I'm doing twice the amount of work with the same number of employees," Landheer says.
And the story of improved efficiency has been much the same for Great Lakes' Sterling Coilmaster former and inserter. It uses spools of plastic filament in various gauges. It forms the coil around different size mandrels and ejects them onto the infeed conveyor. The coil then drops into a motorized chute and is fed directly into the book, where it is cut and crimped automatically.
"We no longer have to wait to order coil material. We get a lot of surprise jobs that come through the door, so we're no longer at the mercy of someone else. Our productivity has definitely increased," he adds. "You control your coils much better if you are making them yourself, obviously, and the quality is much better. We can start producing the day the job comes in; we don't have to wait three days to get the coils from someone else. It's really been a big factor in improving our turnaround time," Landheer remarks.
It's just this increased efficiency that Landheer believes will further fuel the popularity of mechanical book binding, despite the current price premiums. "Mechanical binding is pricey as compared to saddle stitching or perfect binding. Cost is a major factor, as well as turnaround. But you don't get the same flexibility with saddle stitching or perfect binding that you do with mechanical binding.
"If we can get the prices down and improve turnaround, mechanical binding will become more competitive and will grow even more. A lot of people would rather have their books mechanically bound—but they don't want to spend the money."