Postpress — The End of the Line
Finishing gear filled a few halls at DRUPA, with computerized integration more prevalent than ever before.
BY BOB NEUBAUER
Computers have integrated themselves into the postpress world more than ever. From monitoring machine functions to linking with digital workflows, the latest bindery equipment is smarter than ever.
Take Heidelberg's Stitchmaster ST 400, shown in its immense finishing area at DRUPA. Data generated at the impositioning stage of the prepress process can be loaded into the ST 400's press-setting program. Also, feeding, gathering, stitching and cutting are all monitored to prevent time-consuming jams.
Here are some of the highlights from the show.
MBO demonstrated the new Navigator Control-Touch and Navigator Control-Data Manager systems on its T 700 and T 800 buckle folding machines equipped with 15˝ touchscreen color monitors. It integrates the folder into the digital workflow for CIP3, controls sheets from feeder to delivery, and includes an integrated spare parts list, wiring diagram and instructions to resolve problems. Based on a Windows NT 4.0 platform, the Data Manager also provides a service interface for remote diagnostics.
MBO also showed a new buckle folding machine, the T 530, and a combination folding machine, the K 530, both for 20x28˝ sheets. They have electronic speed control and come with optional pile or continuous feeders. The Rapidset computerized makeready system is also optional. MBO showed its T 700 (26˝) and T 800 (32˝) Perfection buckle folders, as well, with a new operator-friendly loading system. Both include MC-Control and the Vivas mark-free transportation system. Also shown was the new MBO ZSF 66 cylinder thread sealing machine.
Duplo launched its new Duplo System 4000 bookletmaker, which incorporates up to six separate collator towers, each with 10 bins. Each bin has a capacity of 2.4˝ and is fitted with its own air blast and suction system for paper feeding. The vertical transport system in the collating towers has been improved, with twin conveyor belts ensuring faster, more consistent paper handling. A vacuum channel feeding system means virtually no adjustments are required when different papers are used. All errors are automatically detected, and a double reject tray system is in place, as well.
Heidelberg's new bindery gear includes the Stitch-expert, which collates, folds and cuts in a single pass. It handles paper formats up to 13.8x20.5˝ and can process up to 4,000 sets of brochures per hour, with a set thickness of up to 22 sheets.
Another new device, the Bind-expert adhesive binder, produces perfect-bound publications at 300 cycles per hour. It processes formats from A6 to A3. The Bindexpert also has an extractor unit for paper dust and trimmings. It supports a maximum binding length of 16.9˝ and a block thickness of 2˝.
Heidelberg also introduced the Stahlfolder TD 52 Topline buckle plate folding machine (shown above), designed for the 193⁄5x271⁄2˝ format, and the Ti 40 Proline buckle plate folding machine, developed for the small offset market.
For perfect binding, Rosback showed off its 880 perfect binder, a single-clamp, hot-melt, floor model unit that delivers square-bound books. Features include 600 cycles per hour, with milling, side gluing and a heavy-duty, three-horsepower motor, with either conveyor, vertical stacker, or drop-tray delivery. It was shown with an optional 885 vacuum cover feeder.
Also on display was the Rosback Lynx 318 saddle binder featuring the new Lynx 724 four-pocket tower feeder, saddle stitcher and three-knife trimmer for producing books at up to 5,000 cycles per hour. The unit is expandable to eight pockets, and up to four stitching heads.
Graphic Whizard featured its FinishMaster 200 air-feed perforating, scoring and slitting system. It handles up to 20,000 sheets per hour, and offers wide or narrow scoring, an optional slitting blade and conveyor outfeed delivery. Vertical air feed lets users feed up to four times as much paper, and you can continuously load while running.
For paper cutting, The Challenge Machinery Co. showed its Champion 305 XT programmable paper cutter with a 10.4˝ diagonal color touchscreen display. The Windows-based system simplifies job setup.
Managers can program jobs on a PC, save them on a disk and give the disk to the operator. This, according to Challenge's Robb Gould, lets shops hire less-experienced operators. The cutter has optional air side tables, and by Graph Expo it will incorporate a pile lift device. A graphic display gave visitors a preview of the Challenge 417 three-knife trimmer, to be unveiled at Graph Expo. It trims books from 4x6˝ to 14x17˝ and up to 2˝ thick.
The DocuPunch, from James Burn International, features an automatic belt-controlled paper feeder and fast changeover. It punches up to 36,000 sheets per hour, features a touch-key control panel and an auto sheet feeder. Also new from James Burn was the high-speed BB500 Wire-O binding machine. Users just hang their booklets from the "hooks" on the coil and press a foot pedal, or let the sensor start the process automatically. No tools are necessary, providing very quick changing of binding diameters. The BB500 also features an electronic control panel.
For foil stamping, Therm-O-Type showed the NSF foil-stamping press, an alternative to the platen press. It produces flat foil stamping, blind and foil embossing, diecutting, "kiss" cutting, perforating, imprinting and numbering. It can be equipped with a holographic registration option. The NSF offers a maximum speed of 6,200 iph.