The 300 was launched in 1998 to go toe-to-toe with Muller Martini’s Bravo stitcher and the German manufacturer secured more than 85 sales of the ST 300 during its lifetime in the UK and several thousands more worldwide.
The difference between the ST 300 and its successor, the 350, was the latter’s ability to synchronise the timing of the feeders to the speed of the saddlechain. Targeted at trade finishers, it was an A3-format machine renowned for its flexibility. Buyers could integrate up to 16 hoppers holding upright or flat signatures in any desired sequence and effectively handle an unlimited range of jobs.
Mark Hogan, marketing manager at Heidelberg, who describes the machine as a solid workhorse and standard equipment for any trade finisher’s print room, says that the stitcher is capable of handling signatures up to 12mm thick and producing a 24mm-thick book.
Equipped with detection devices, the ST 300 will reject any over-long or over-thick books. It can take up to six standard or four loop stitching heads simultaneously.
Essentially, the only difference in models was either optional extras or the number of feeders available. There are up to six stitching heads for normal staples or four for wire loops.
Scoring of covers was integrated in the cover fold hoppers, so printers did not need to crease them first. Signatures could also be manually fed anywhere along the line by
pivoting the hopper heads up to 50 degrees from their horizontal positions. This also allowed for a card-gluer to be attached manually to any of the feeder stations by simply swinging back the feeder to allow the gluer unit to be accommodated.
The firm’s Opticontrol quality-control system was fitted on the machines as standard. The signature-control recognition system was essentially a camera on every feeder, which optically scanned a portion of the signature to make sure the correct printed material was in the right position and was correctly orientated.
Heidelberg still supplies spare parts and service contracts for the ST 300 and spares are guaranteed to be available for a minimum of 20 years after production of a machine has ceased. It can supply 90 per cent of spare parts within 24 hours and has 60 finishing engineers based across the country. A used ST 300 will typically cost around ($AU165,000) to $AU250,000, says Hogan, and Heidelberg still sells used ST 300s itself, as it often takes them in as part exchange on new machines.
13,000 cycles per hour
2mm (24mm finished book)
Six for normal staples; four for wire loops
What to look out for
• Condition of bearings
• Wearing on clamp chains
Read the original article at www.printweek.com.
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