Specialty Finishing — End of the Line
With good help hard to find, the right tool for the job is the key to value-added finishing techniques.
BY ERIK CAGLE
There's no need to tell Joe Rigby that market demand for plastic coil binding jobs can be a finicky one.
The owner of Delaware Valley Bindery in Trenton, NJ, may field four or five plastic coil jobs in one month, then nary a quote for three or four months. As job traffic goes, so does the number of added workers at Delaware Valley Bindery, who are temporary employees.
"This kind of work goes hot and cold. We'll have a lot of jobs in a short time, then we'll have none," Rigby says.
Obviously, two needs can be cited from the start: dependable machinery and automated, user-friendly equipment for operators who may be here today, gone tomorrow. Rigby found the perfect fit with his COILBIND CB•30 automatic coil inserter from James Burn International. The unit was installed at Delaware Valley Bindery within the past year.
The CB•30 automatically inserts, cuts and crimps both ends of CoilBind plastic spiral elements. Among its many features are a drive wheel assembly that eliminates coil tangle; a hands-free foot pedal, which allows two-handed book placement; variable speed coil feed for maximum operator control; and quick-loading coil, which increases speeds up to 400 books per hour. The compact floor model also offers easy coil sizing for maximum versatility and changeover, and plugs directly into standard power supplies, with air required.
"We've actually reached production speeds between 500 and 600 books per hour. Obviously, everything depends on the job and the size of the coil," Rigby notes. "The machine is faster on an 11˝ spine than it is for bigger or smaller spines, which is a majority of the jobs we run anyway. It's easy to set up and easy for the employees to work on, plus the production is good."
Delaware Valley Bindery boasts several James Burn coil insertion machines and punches, and Rigby, who is also happy with the coil quality on the CBo30, is pleased with the level of service he's received.
Delaware Valley Bindery lives up to the specialty finishing moniker. Most of its jobs are unique; for instance, Rigby points out that the company performs a large amount of fugitive gluing (some remoistenable) and attaching duties, primarily for applications in the pharmaceutical industry.
Like Rigby, Steve Landheer sought a binding machine that was easy to use, particularly since good help is difficult, not only to find, but to maintain. As president of Great Lakes Bindery, in Grand Rapids, MI, he turned to American Binding for his Rilecart B-599 double-wire binding machine.
"It's probably the most automated binding line available without spending a huge amount of dollars," Landheer notes of the B-599, which he installed one year ago. "It has more than met our expectations. I'm doing more with less people, and that was the goal. To be competitive, I had to automate that type of binding—because in today's market, it's all about quick turnaround and low price."
Previously, Great Lakes Bindery used semi-automatic binders that required operators to hang the books on the binding wire and physically move them down to the closing unit. With the B-599, books are laid on the track, where they are automatically moved down. The wire is inserted and cut to length automatically, and is then fed into the closing unit.
Ease of Use
The B-599 operates from spools of 1⁄4˝ through 1˝ diameter with 3:1˝ and 2:1˝ pitch. Production speed can be adjusted from 800 through 4,000 pieces per hour, depending on size, thickness and quality of the volumes being bound. It binds books from 31⁄2x4˝ to 171⁄2x191⁄2˝ and has optional in-line punching. Its functions are operated by a digitally controlled unit, the CNN-599, also developed by Rilecart.
"It's a higher-volume machine, because setups are going to be a little more intense, as far as changing over sizes," Landheer notes. "It's a lot less operator driven. We do many schoolbooks in the summer, and we get a lot of high-volume runs out in a short period of time. This was really the best option for us, without spending a million bucks."
Index tabs aren't what they used to be, and Roger Kennedy didn't want to find himself on the outside looking in. Thus, the president of Charles Luck Envelope, in Forest Park, IL, made the investment in a Model AAT Auto Tabber from Advent Machine and Tool.
"Index tabs that people are putting together now have extensive body copy and color inks, all over the whole sheet, where in the past most of the index tabs were plain white with some black printing up where the tabs were," he says. "By doing the so-called body copy and the colors all over the entire sheet, the AAT does not run the whole sheet under hot pressure rollers like some of the other tabbing machines do. [The AAT] only puts the heat and pressure where the tab is, and we're able to run jobs through there without softening the inks and offsetting them, whereas we might run into trouble on the other-styled machines."
The AAT features a simple, dual-platen design instead of dozens of heated rollers, providing versatility to produce jobs of gloss or coated stocks and quick turnover for full-bodied printing jobs. The dual-platen design features an upper and lower heater with fully automatic temperature control. The platens provide for self adjustment and alignment for all types and thicknesses of stock, thus reducing setup times between jobs.
Other features include computerized control of all machine functions, air pile feeder with double sheet detection/ejection, and keyed reset and preset batch counters to monitor output.
"It's been a very reliable machine for us," Kennedy says. "We've got more than three million impressions on our first one; we now own two. Advent has been very good to deal with; they've taken care of whatever little problems we've had."
Plastic Coil Binding
Spiel Associates is very excited about its latest product offering, the Sterling Coilmaster II, which is slated to begin shipping late this month. The Coilmaster II is a complete in-line plastic coil binding system that can bind books at speeds up to 700 books per hour.
Coil is made just prior to insertion; plastic filament is fed into the Coilmaker, forming plastic coil that is automatically fed into the Coilmaster, which spins the coil into the book from the first hole onward. The coil is then cut and crimped automatically, without twisted and deformed coil or coil with an improper pitch.
According to David Spiel, co-owner of Spiel Associates, the Coilmaster II received rave reviews at GRAPH EXPO 99 last October. "When we ran the machine at the show, I couldn't believe my eyes. It was running so well that the coil was shooting past the book, and we actually had to slow it down.
"What really makes it superior is that the coil is such a good quality, because it has not had time to deform," Spiel points out. "The new breed of automatic coil inserters cannot work with twisted and tangled coil the way a manual machine can. With a manual machine, any kind of coil can go in there because your hand is compensating for all deformities. The new automatic coil machines need fairly straight, uniform coils. This unit provides it because it's being made while you're binding the book."
The Coilmaster II binds books with margins up to 3⁄16˝. Tooling is available for all sizes between 6mm and 30mm. The Coilmaker and Coilmaster can be bought separately or in-line.