By Olivia Cahoon
Part 1 of 2
High-speed finishing solutions streamline high-volume digital print operations. Saddle stitchers represent one of several binding methods suited for digital printing. These devices are designed to handle high volumes, completing popular applications such as healthcare, insurance, and financial documents as well as direct mail, brochures, and booklets.
The Role of Saddle Stitchers
Saddle stitchers are a mainstay in traditional print settings and have adapted to serve on demand environments with the ability to produce secure, durable products that are customizable and affordable.
Typically, a saddle stitcher gathers the pages together, folds, and staples along the crease from the outside. Most saddle stitched publications and booklets are 120 pages or less due to reduced quality at higher page counts, including rounding of the spine, tearing at the corners, and print gutter alignment.
As the growth in variable, versioned, and personalized document processing continues to grow, the ability to offer security is essential. Booklet making with the use of a saddle stitching device is a simple, fast, and reliable method to secure sets of this nature. “It has been used for years and with advancements in the technology, some booklet makers have the ability to produce landscape booklets,” shares James Tressler, VP of sales, C.P. Bourg Inc. This feature provides shops with an affordable way to offer clients unique formats.
In addition, saddle stitching effectively produces durable products with relatively low page counts. Lance M. Martin, VP national accounts & marketing, MBO America, comments that it is a low-cost process that achieves a high-quality product. For example, cover selection can be different from the body copy—providing an upgraded shelf presence while keeping costs low with the body stock.
In digital print environments, these benefits still apply while also providing the ability to use variable data for each copy. According to Martin, variable data determines the print on the paper, page count, and other content. “The customization of each copy now has a greater value to the end user.”
Markets for Stitching
Saddle stitching is utilized for a variety of high-volume, digitally printed applications. Industries that use saddle stitched products include advertising, financial, insurance, magazines, medical, and publications.
Typically, healthcare, insurance, and financial enrollments; advertisements; and contracts are produced with saddle stitching since each individualized book is different in terms of page count and content. “All printers and binderies must adhere to strict government regulations with regard to printing and distributing private information,” shares Carlos Martins, solutions manager, digital saddle stitching, Muller Martini. Every sheet should appear in its proper pagination and the information contained must remain confidential.
Other applications for saddle stitching include expression and greeting products like yearbooks and photobooks as well as catalogs and product marketing materials. “Simple, effective, and overall workflow processing efficiencies are the reasons that come to mind first when asked why,” shares Tressler. The booklet making process is continuously refined with the use of an inline connected workflow offered by saddle stitching.
Don’t Be Limited
Print providers should be aware of limitations in saddle stitching systems, such as page count, run length, and thickness.
The primary limitation that print providers can run into with saddle stitching is the page count limit. As page count increases, there is more opportunity for quality issues such as rounding of the spine, page creep, tearing at the corners, and print gutter alignment, reveals Don Dubuque, director of marketing, Standard Finishing Systems. While manufacturers have increased the page count limit with each new generation of saddle stitching equipment, he believes it’s still the primary technology’s limitation.
Traditionally, saddle stitchers were limited in run length and primarily used for booklet runs of 5,000 or more due to the setup and preparation required. Anthony Gandara, product manager, Duplo USA, says the introduction of alternative saddle stitching solutions enables an easier and faster setup and changeover from one job to another. “These types of solutions have made saddle stitching more feasible for digital print.”
Other limitations involve thickness, especially on equipment with automation. Thicker books tend to spring open and don’t lie flat after saddle stitching whereas other binding methods can present a higher valued appearance. Typically, saddle stitchers can accommodate products with a thickness of one-half inch or less.
Saddle stitching equipment offers digital print environments affordable and efficient finishing solutions. Suitable for high-volume applications, print providers should consider page count limits and run length before investing in a device.
Apr2020, DPS Magazine