Saddle Stitchers — A Staple of Fine Finishing
In order to deliver quality results on multiple shifts and long runs, the stitcher system must be of sufficient industrial strength, according to Don Dubuque, marketing manager for Standard Finishing Systems. One area where this may be most apparent, he feels, is in the three-knife trimming area, where light-duty construction can diminish end-product quality.
"But what really differentiates systems are the speed, ease of changeovers and the degree of automated control," Dubuque stresses. "As average run lengths continue to spiral down, printers are looking for saddle stitching systems that provide fast, accurate and automated setups for efficient short-run production."
The fully automated Standard Horizon StitchLiner bridges the production gap between existing flat sheet collating/bookletmaking systems and conventional high-volume saddle stitching lines, according to Dubuque. Offset or digitally printed flat-sheet signatures are fed from the Standard Horizon SpeedVAC collator to produce true saddle stitched booklets with full-bleed trimming at speeds up to 11,000 two-up booklets per hour.
It behooves printers and trade binders to not only scout the stitchers that meet their production needs, but also make a thorough evaluation of the mechanics of each aspect of the machines in that range, states Jennie Stevens, director of advertising for Vijuk Equipment. Examining the list of features is not enough, she cautions.
"For example, exactly what does the quality control system consist of?" Stevens poses. "The Vijuk 321-T stitcher has a superior quality control system because it has photocell missing sheet detection, caliper-type double sheet detection in its feeding system, an oblique sheet monitor and a spine caliper to ensure complete booklets before it enters the stitching mechanism. Other manufacturers may offer only a caliper or an oblique sheet monitor.
"Second, not only do buyers have to examine the operational differences of the machine, but also the setup and maintenance in relation to time and the company's technical staff's abilities. For example, how complicated is it to do a trimmer knife change and how long does it take? The Vijuk trimmer has an easy access, single-assembly knife change that takes only about 20 minutes. Other manufacturers may have several sub-assemblies that have to be removed before you can get to the knife assembly, and it will take about an hour to make the knife change."