By Melissa Donovan
Booklet makers are integral to mid- to high-volume print environments. These machines enable print providers to increase production, quickly delivering finished books. Feature sets cater to production volume, versatility, and ease of use.
Current booklet making equipment needs to be able to handle the typical workload of a mid- to high-volume print operation. Average monthly volumes vary by manufacturer.
For example, the Bourg Booklet Maker (BM-e) is C.P. Bourg’s high-end booklet maker, which utilizes the latest technology to produce on demand booklets. The paper flow follows a stitch-fold-trim process with guaranteed set integrity, a maximum of 120 pages per booklet—30 sheets, and a maximum speed of 5,000 booklets/hour.
Duplo USA estimates that inline with a digital press, booklet makers reach monthly volumes anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000. Nearline or offline, these numbers can be 50,000 or higher.
For example, Imaging Solutions AG (ISAG) offers the fastBooklet, which can handle in one, eight-hour shift 1,600 booklets per day, which equates to 35,000 booklets per month.
The Horizon SPF-200 Series booklet makers from Standard feature a throughput capacity of over 4,000 booklets per hour, making it possible to produce 400,000 booklets a month in a single-shift operation.
Tecnau’s booklet makers offer a maximum productivity of 1,800 booklets per hour. Users produce about 200,000 booklets per month.
The PowerSquare 224 from Watkiss Automation Sales Ltd. is designed for average monthly volumes of up to 50,000 books, with a peak of 150,000 booklets per month during times of high demand.
Certain feature sets on a booklet maker target high-volume production where continuous runs are the norm. Automation is essential. “Systems must be easy to operate, have a JDF/PC-based setup, no human intervention, and no tools required for set up,” says Anthony Gandara, partner alliance manager, Duplo.
Jo Watkiss, communications director, Watkiss Automation, points out that stitching from a wire spool as opposed to stapling with pre-formed staples is more cost effective for high-volume runs. In the PowerSquare 224, each spool of wire produces up to 150,000 books.
Another feature popular for high volume is a book stacker. Watkiss Automation’s PowerSquare 224 includes a high-capacity book stacker that allows for unattended running without operator attention. Similarly, Standard’s booklet makers can be paired with a Horizon VAC tower collating system, which allows loading while running non-stop productivity.
“In a production print environment, operators need to be able to set up a machine quickly, and then walk away to leave it running while they attend to other tasks,” explains Watkiss.
While many print providers may produce static booklets up into the thousands, digital print technology is designed to handle vast amounts of personalization and booklet makers also follow suit. Features found on these machines allow digital print providers to produce variable output and runs as low as one.
Tecnau relies on 2D Datamatrix codes, which allow each booklet to be different from the next, according to Scott Peterson, product marketing manager, Tecnau. This includes number of pages and composition of the booklet—number of inserts, position of the inserts within the booklet, and personalized covers.
On Standard’s Horizon devices, the OMR feature allows for the production of variable page count from book to book, personalized covers can be matched to each booklet with a camera, and an optional barcode reading system ensures the correct information is printed.
“This is especially relevant in the case of healthcare, financial, and insurance applications that may contain sensitive information,” says Bob Flinn, director, business development, Standard.
ISAG’s booklet makers allow for fast and easy format change from booklet sizes like 4×4 to 5×7 inches. “Each booklet can be different from the next in number of pages and page length so single runs are as efficiently produced as large runs,” explains Juergen Tesch, product management fastBooklet, ISAG.
When at drupa…
For a small part of May and a good part of June 2016, Messe Düsseldorf GmbH hosted drupa 2016. Held at the Düsseldorf Fairgrounds in Düsseldorf, Germany, the show provided product launches of all kinds—including those in the booklet making field.
Imaging Solutions AG announced the fastBooklet finishing system for layflat photo booklets. The product is targeted toward photo product suppliers with customers from 15 to 35 years of age requesting prints generated from mobile applications (apps) like Instagram. An integrated order process via a Web app allows for easy transfer of files. Booklets are ready to ship directly after production.
Watkiss Automation Sales Ltd. introduced the new PowerSquare 160 booklet maker, which is aimed at the mid-volume market. With JDF/JFM compatibility, it is available as an inline, nearline, or offline solution. Modular, the system can include two suction-fed sheet feeders and with inline configuration it features a dual-mode functionality for flexible workflows. A face trimmer is included standard with the device, but there is an option for full-bleed trimming of color booklets.
Certain feature sets found in booklet makers make it easier for operators to do their jobs. For example, connectivity, color touchscreens, and stored memory options are components that many buyers look for and often times see as a necessity in today’s need-it-now world.
“In theory, inline connectivity with a digital printer is one of the highest levels of automation, making it as simple as possible for the operator. Automation, a PC-based controller, touchscreen operation, and job memory are all important features that are necessary for an efficient operation,” adds Gandara.
Tecnau controls its booklet makers through a PC with a touchscreen display and the Tecnau Management Information System. “The software diagnoses failures in any part of the system and supplies historical data for efficient management, providing an overview of any recurring errors. The system layout and operating status is depicted on the PC monitor. Productivity data is also available on the PC—booklets assembled per day, month, year,” explains Peterson.
Standard’s devices operate based on a color touchscreen for job input and utilize high-capacity memory storage for repeat jobs and templates. With JDF compatibility, machines perform setup from data created at prepress, job scheduling and tracking, machine availability, and JMF reporting to MIS for historical data.
The Watkiss Automation PowerSquare 224 also allows users to save job settings, which make repeat orders easy to call up with a touch of a button. Stitch position, wire draw length, the amount of spine form required, and trim dimension according to sheet size and number of pages can be saved under a unique name.
Full automation is the center of ISAG’s fastBooklet. The operator’s work is simple, according to Tesch, attach the paper roll, select a product, and press start on the color touchscreen.
“In today’s digital print environment, where same day turnaround is required on jobs with run lengths as little as one, it is important to invest in equipment with the level of technology to provide the higher quality output, with no makeready, low operator skill requirements, and the ability to produce a much higher number of jobs in a single shift,” shares Flinn.
An Open Book
Booklet makers are designed to complement digital print environments. Features like automated book stackers help to keep up with mid- to high-volume output while ease of use is offered through integral components such as connectivity, color touch screens, and stored memory options. In addition, as variability is such a key component to many digital jobs, many devices are equipped with features like barcode reading to ensure integrity between each book. All of these characteristics are important considerations when deciding on a booklet maker. dps
Oct2016, DPS Magazine