Compact Bindery Solutions In-plants Love
Printing business cards is the easy part. Cutting them, on the other hand, can take a lot of time, especially for an in-plant using a guillotine cutter.
Three years ago, Larry Mills decided to put an end to that time-consuming process when his in-plant installed an Akiles CardMac Pro, a compact business card slitter that cuts and slits 10 full-bleed business cards from an 8.5x11" letter size sheet. He liked it so much, he added a second.
“These little machines have saved me so much in labor costs by not having someone stand at the guillotine cutter for hours cutting business cards,” says Mills, manager of Monument Health Printing Services in Rapid City, South Dakota. The Akiles CardMac Pro cuts 10 cards per sheet and up to 50 cards per minute.
“It is not a high production machine, but it fits well in my environment. It will do a standard business card as well as several other sizes of cards. You can only load about 50 sheets at a time to the feeder, but it works great for me. It takes about five minutes to cut a box of 350 cards. However, this allows the operator to load the press sheets, press start, and walk away to work on other projects while the cards are cutting,” Mills says. “On average these machines probably only run a couple of hours a day, but I have had my first one in use for over three years now with no problems.”
All around the country, in-plants are using compact bindery solutions to save time and money. We asked a number of managers about their favorite pieces of compact bindery equipment, and what equipment they have their sights set on acquiring after attending the PRINTING United Expo in October. They listed a range of cutting, punching, binding, diecutting, and laminating equipment. In some cases, they acknowledge their compact binding solutions have allowed them to take in work they couldn’t otherwise have handled.
“We constantly run small notebooks and pads that need to be punched,” relates Jordan Marlar, unit manager of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Printing Center. To handle this punching, his Lubbock, Texas-based in-plant added a JBI DocuPunch, capable of producing up to 35,000 punched sheets per hour. It punches pre-printed and collated documents directly from a copier or printer. It’s designed with the on-demand market in mind: setup time is quick, and it allows for hands-free operation.
Marlar has been very pleased with the DocuPunch and says it has helped bring in additional work.
“We are just now finishing up an order of five thousand 8.5x5.5" 50-page books, and without that machine, we wouldn’t have been able to take the order,” he says. “We love it.”
Strong, Fast Bookbinding
For binding booklets, the Jurupa Unified School District in Jurupa Valley, California, utilizes the Powis Parker Fastback 20, which creates strong books (reportedly able to withstand more than 50 pounds of pull) in 15 seconds or less. The thermoplastic adhesive will not become brittle over time, making it optimal for archival storage. It’s also easy to operate with the touch of a button. Sylvia Castaneda, supervisor of Reprographics & Records, says this machine keeps up with the in-plant’s workflow and works wonderfully when the shop is backed up with projects.
Coil binding is another popular type of finishing for in-plants. Vernon Goodner, manager of Orgill Print Services, in Memphis, Tennessee, purchased an Akiles CoilMac EX+ coil binder at PRINTING United to replace the shop’s plastic comb binder. Goodner believes the coil looks much better and allows books to lay flatter and not come apart as easily as before.
Creasing and Slitting
Equipment that can crease, perforate, slit, and cut continues to be popular with in-plants. Many of them have turned to the Duplo DC-746, which delivers finished jobs up to 50 sheets per minute.
“It is very easy to set up, and its accuracy is great,” says Donna Horbelt, director of Reprographics at the University of California, Davis, who says her in-plant receives roughly 30 business card orders per day. The DC-746 allows the in-plant to meet its three-day delivery standard.
“It also allows for slitting business cards with bleed,” she continues. “This surpasses many other card slitters as it has a guillotine blade that reduces toner flaking on bleed edges. Also, cards can easily be loaded for slitting, and the operator can step away for other duties. This machine needs minimal handholding.”
With its ability to slit, cut, crease, perforate, and fold digitally printed applications in one pass, the DC-746 can handle a range of full-bleed applications, from business cards to invitations and tickets. It also features automated job setup and changeovers, high-feed capacity, and integration with Fiery Impose to automate job preparation.
A similar machine, also an in-plant favorite, is the Duplo DC-615, which can process up to six slits, 15 cuts, and 10 creases in a single pass. Offering a fully automatic setup and quick changeovers, the DC-615 can finish many full-bleed digital applications like business cards, greeting cards, invitations, brochures, book covers, and photos.
“We use this for a variety of projects from notecards, panel folders, brochures, etc.,” notes John Linden, senior director of print programs/fulfillment at Robert Half, a human resource consulting firm. “It’s easy to set up and is perfect for a variety of smaller projects.”
Diecutting and Corner Rounding
Another device that diecuts, creases, perforates, slits, punches, and rounds corners in one process, is the Standard Horizon RD-4055 Rotary Die Cutter.
“We purchased this machine in 2017-18, and it made an immediate impact,” says Wes Troup, business solutions associate at the World Bank Group’s Print & Interactive Media Business, in Landover, Maryland. “Our main use is business card cutting. We print a lot business cards daily, and the Horizon machine saves us a ton of cutting time.”
This system features easy changeover and simple operation, and both setup and control can be done through a touchscreen that displays graphic illustrations.
“Additionally, it allows us the opportunity to handle requests for items with an odd or circular shape,” Troup continues. “Even though the RD-4055 is a small machine, it’s just as well built as all of Horizon’s equipment. To date, I believe we’ve only had one service issue.”
With so much wide-format printing being done by in-plants, many are seeking automated trimming and X/Y cutting devices. Danny Kirkland, national director of Encompass Health Print Services, in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, found the solution in a Fotoba Dreamcut XLD-170 wide-format cutter.
“My favorite toy we have is our Fotobo cutter. I can’t tell you how much time this device saves our wide-format so they don’t have to cut banners and posters out by hand. It’s paid for itself multiple times,” he lauds.
Designed to work with both rolls and sheets, the XLD 170 can trim flexible media output up to 67” wide and 40 mil thick. It will also automatically re-align itself to the edge of the printed image, so if a printer fails to print parallel to the media edge, or if the printer fails to wind up the roll squarely, the XLD 170 true edge tracking will take care of that.
PRINTING United Sparks Ideas
The PRINTING United Expo, which all of these managers attended, inspired them with new ideas, including ideas for compact bindery equipment. Aaron Chrisman, Print Services lead for Salt River Project, in Phoenix, says he’s looking at three pieces of equipment that he saw on the Expo floor: a Challenge EH-3 multiple spindle drill, a Graphic Whizard PT33LSC laminator, and an iJetColor Pro 1175HP envelope press.
What caught his eye about these machines was their compactness — an important feature due to his in-plant’s impending downsizing.
“We are in the process of moving into a smaller facility and are looking for good quality equipment at a smaller size,” Chrisman says. He believes the automation on the laminator will save the shop time and money.
“It feeds, laminates, and trims in a single pass,” Chrisman lauds. “It comes with the load-it-and-forget-it theory, and with that comes efficiency — and efficiency saves time and money by allowing multitasking while in production.”
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