Saddle Stitchers — It's a Buyer's Market
BY ERIK CAGLE
Freedom of choice, from a consumer standpoint, is a double-edged sword when your pool of choices is a veritable ocean.
Anyone in the graphic arts industry knows what it means to have an unlimited array of manufacturers. It's the old deer-in-the-headlights syndrome—there are far too many choices and simply not enough time in the day to do sufficient homework that would yield an educated choice.
At the end of the day during Graph Expo, printers riding the shuttle from the exhibition hall back to the hotel frequently wonder aloud, "You know, I looked at so many systems today—and I still don't know which one is right for me."
Doesn't sound much like freedom, does it?
Obviously, a quality machine is a quality machine and tends to stand out among the rest. But it helps your sanity if the array of manufacturer choices is a modest, but not low, figure. This certainly applies to the market for mid-range and high-end saddle stitchers. There are just enough, and not too many, choices available for those printers and trade binders seeking such a machine to fulfill their needs.
Establishing a criteria for what encompasses a quality unit is the first step. Secondly, the key is discerning what capabilities fit your needs, and what are just needless bells and whistles. Thirdly, while this particular binder may be the perfect solution for your needs, does it meet with previously established cost parameters?
Two Telling Trends
Price and unit speed are two of the most relevant factors to consider while shopping for a new stitcher, according to Ron Bowman, vice president sales and marketing for Rosback.
"If the printer's work is runs of 30,000 to 50,000, he can well-afford and need the saddle binder that cycles at 9,000 to 12,000 books per hour," Bowman stresses. "On the other hand, if his runs are 3,000 to 30,000, a stitcher that cycles at 5,000 books per hour will suffice. Also, it doesn't seem prudent to buy a 12,000 per hour machine that runs the work in a few hours and then sits for a week or two unused."