Saddle Stitchers — A Stitch In Time
Equipment Net-Output: Increasing machine net-output is the most direct way to improve efficiencies in the print finishing operation. The two factors determining equipment output are the ability levels of the operators and the automated features of the machine. Operators must be trained to minimize setup time, maximize running speeds and minimize downtime. Fully trained operators can achieve higher running speeds, and faster makeready and changeover. They also employ proper maintenance procedures to reduce downtime and protect equipment investment.
Automated features such as CIP3 integration allow an integrated workflow in the bindery with prepress and press functions. Automatic makeready systems guide the operator through setup quicker and easier. On-the-fly adjustments allow the equipment to keep running while fine adjustments are made. The collection and analysis of data from the saddle stitchers of tomorrow will further increase the control of profits in the bindery.
The time for print finishing operations "throwing" people at the problems in the bindery have past. Today's competitive businesses have invested in the future of their companies by automating the workflow.
Shorter Runs: The Flat Sheet Alternative
The following was contributed by Mark Hunt, director of marketing at Standard Finishing Systems, a division of Standard Duplicating Machines.
Traditionally, commercial printers have produced their saddle stitched product using the time-honored method of printing multiple-up on a large-format press, taking the product off-line for perforating and signature folding, then loading the 8-, 16- or 32-page signatures into their saddle gathering machine, where they are gathered and stitched. The final step: three-side trimming, completed in-line or off-line. This approach works fine for longer run lengths, where you can amortize the cost for longer setup time over tens of thousands of units.
Run lengths continue to decline as marketers look to print fewer (sometimes customized) pieces to avoid high costs of inventory, storage and obsolete literature. Today, printers are wrestling with the challenge of how to profitably produce low-volume (5,000 to 20,000) saddle stitched jobs with the quick turnaround this work often requires.