Stitchers & sewing machines

However, automation carries a premium and is not going to be the right road for everyone. Gissing says that for a customer performing four or five makereadies a week, then it does not justify the expense of a fully automated machine. However, he says, for a user with five or 10 makereadies a day, it is an essential.

Quality control

Another key focus for users is quality control. Top-of-the-range saddle-stitchers have detectors that can recognise and automatically eject misfeeds, while auto-signature image recognition is an optional function that allows operators to set the machine to recognise the image on a page. This means that if for some reason the incorrect set is put into the feeder, it is detected and automatically rejected.

The degree of automation that has been introduced in the bindery, with some companies now running fully automated lines, has to some extent led to a de-skilling of the workforce, who may not have the requisite knowledge to intervene when things go wrong.

Despite the enhanced levels of automation, to get the most out of the machinery, operators still need to have a basic skillset they can call on, according to Gissing who said that companies shouldn’t overlook investment in training. Nor should they neglect machine maintenance, which can often lead to costly problems later down the line.

This is a serious issue within the industry due to the number of companies that do not bother to carry out regular machine health checks. If the maintenance is not there, then problems can occur, explains Gissing.
In addition to carrying out regular checks, Gissing advises would-be customers not to buy cheap, but to look at machines that offer flexibility and deliver added value.

• Goss and Ferag jointly launched the Pacesetter+Ferag saddle-stitcher for the European finishing market at Drupa. Up to 40 hoppers can be fitted to the machine, which can reach speeds of 25,000 copies per hour (cph)
• Swedish firm Tolerans also chose to introduce two new stitchers in Dusseldorf: one aimed at high production speeds, while the second was a more compact model
• Horizon launched the StitchLiner6000 at Drupa as a prototype. The company has redesigned its VAC delivery platform to feed the B3 sheets long-edge on to the line. The result is an ‘L’ rather than ‘U’ configuration, allowing for greater control of the sheets
• Coventry-based John Good, bought the first new Primera saddle-stitcher – the C130 – from Muller Martini at Drupa. The Primera will be installed at the firm’s factory where it will stitch together more than four million theatre programmes. Dublin-based Future Print also splashed out on the 14,000cph Primera E140, which also launched at Drupa

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