Horizon BQ-470

Describe your business

We are a digital and commercial printer, established as a laminating house back in 1985. We have been in digital since 1991 then moved into offset in 1997. We’re a family-owned business with 28 staff, based in Newcastle. One of our printers, Dion Horne, recently won the Heidelberg award at the Sydney TAFE awards.

What have you bought?

A Horizon BQ-470. It is a perfect binder that does EVA but also does PUR adhesive. PUR is the next big thing in perfect binding.

What does it do?

It will perfect bind books in quantities anywhere from five books up to 10,000. We have a 7,000-run job on at the moment and we are using the BQ-470 for that.

Why did you choose this product?

We had an old Bourg single-clamp binder that we wanted to replace. We went for this new machine because it is PUR and because it is Horizon. It was competitively priced and we also knew there were a few of them around, so there would be a good level of support. We have subbed work out before to people who have these machines. We felt confident because we have had work done on a BQ-470. Buying a machine like this is all about control: quality control and turnaround times are the main issues. With turnaround times, before we put this in we had to send work to Sydney for PUR gluing. That is a day in transit, then one to two days for the trade house to do the job, then a day to get it back. If, for example, we had an order of just 20 books, the job takes half an hour to print, then this perfect binder means the difference between a four- to five-day turnaround or doing it in 24 hours. It gives us control over the turnaround times, which are forever getting shorter and we have complete control over quality

What features do you particularly like?

The ease of set-up: it has an automatic makeready. We also like the fact that it has PUR and EVA so you can do both glue types. Changing between the two adhesives is a half-hour process – not hard at all.

Is there anything you wish it had that it doesn’t?

I wish it had PUR side glue, but it only has EVA side glue. We chose PUR because we print digital but also because our offset press has an aqueous coater. We aqueous coat all our work. For the cover, we have to strip the aqueous away so the EVA side glue works. If we had PUR side coating, we wouldn’t have to strip away the aqueous. Also, it will do a 65mm book, which is quite thick, getting up in the realms of a ream of paper. We have been asked in the past to do thicker books than that but have told the customer they have to split into two volumes. But that is rare.

How fast is it?

It is rated at 1,300 books per hour and 1,000 an hour with PUR. We haven’t really tested it out yet but from what we have heard, realistically you are looking at about 800 books per hour. This all comes down to the operator, because it hand-fed. One operator would get through about 300 to 400 books, so you would need two operators to get 900. We are going to test it out on that 7,000 run to see what we can get out of it.

How reliable is it?

We have only had it for a week. So far so good! This is our first Horizon but we know they are in lots of trade houses, so they’re going to be alright.

How easy is it to use?

It is very user friendly. It has a touchscreen and the only two adjustments to make are the backstop on the cover feeder and the delivery backstop. Everything else is set: like your spine thickness and glue length.

Has it won you any new business?

We will be able to pitch the fact we can do PUR in-house. I think we will get a little bit more work. It is not going to be gangbuster machine but it is going to help us doing bits and pieces.

How has the pre- and after-sales service been?

Installation and training were really good. Our operators have just gone through the training. The trainer was here for a week, which is good – you can never have too much training. With an operator who has used a similar machine before, it took two hours to pick it up. For another operator who had never operated any similar machines, it took a day and a half. We haven’t had a great deal of experience with Curries before, but they were excellent.

Who do you think this product is right for?

Anyone who wants binding under their own control, depending on run lengths. 

Would you buy another one?

If this one broke down, but it is unlikely we’ll need another one.

Supplier’s response

This year, Currie Group has installed five BQ-470 perfect binders, bringing the total Australian install base to more than 25 units. It’s great when Daniel says that within a couple of hours, Who Printing’s main operator was running the machine and within a couple of days, a non-skilled person can function a Horizon product. This fits with Horizon’s message of intelligent automation. Skilled finishing operators are hard to find so Horizon is developing products with touch screens that drive servo motors to adjust the clamps in the binders, whether single- or four-clamp machines.

Bernie Robinson, Currie Group

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