Wire-O! (And Other Mechanical Binding Opportunities)
Doing my tour of the recent Print show in Chicago, my goal was to ferret out what’s new in finishing. Not too far from our stand was the DataBind booth. DataBind distributes a variety of systems for paper punching and perforating, laminating, and Wire-O, plastic comb and plastic coil binding. These methods fall into a category we call, mechanical binding.
Whether it’s comb, coil or Wire-O, this type of binding has not been the easiest to automate for higher-volume jobs. And demand remains pretty steady for calendars, journal notebooks, diaries and manuals that comprise the market for this type of binding. First there is the book collation, where there is often a need to insert tabbed section sheets. Then there is the punching of all collated sheets, including the front and back covers. Finally, it’s the insertion of the wire, plastic coil or plastic comb to complete the book or calendar.
Many of the machines in use are dedicated to separate operations. One for punching, another for wire or coil insertion, collating, etc. But the top-of-the-line for wire binding is the Renz Inline 750. The 750 uses Renz Ring Wire and can be linked to a Theisen & Bonitz sheet collator, which will deliver a fully-collated book set (including covers) to the 750. From there, each book set is punched, the wire is inserted, and the book is closed. For calendar applications, Renz has the KAS 300 IL calendar hanging tool. This unique module forms and shapes straight wire into the hangar shape and are automatically guided into the wire before closing. This eliminates a previous step of inserting the calendar hangar.
This type of automated line requires a significant investment, but if you’re going to produce large quantity runs, the labor savings over several one-purpose machines will yield a very attractive ROI. You can even link the output of the 750 to a variety of assembling and packing machines to further automate the shipping process.
On the plastic coil side, the Spiral/James Burn CB40PB Automatic Plastic Coil Punch and Bind machine is capable of producing up to 1,000 documents per hour. The CB40PB can punch documents up to 5/8˝ or 15 mm. After punching, the document moves to the alignment station and to the binding station, where the coil is formed and inserted into the document. A really neat feature is the transport arm at the end of the machine that grips each finished book and rotates it 180° for a perfect stacked delivery on the delivery conveyor. Spiral/James Burn notes that this system is at a price point (with its features) that makes it a relatively easy investment for those printers needing more automation.
The encouraging thing is that the mechanical binding market continues to be strong, and that system development in automating these binding operations also continues.