Tell us a little about your business.
Fotobase is a digital printing company that specialises in real estate marketing. We handle all of the marketing needs of the majority of the real estate sector in South Australia. We cover everything from photography to floorplan drawing, sketches and, of course, printed material. We print anything from DL flyers to fully celloglazed books or brochures, and everything in between.
What have you bought?
A Watkiss Bookmaster Pro.
What does the new machine do?
It collates, staples, folds, trims, then squarebacks booklets that have from one to 22 insert text pages in them.
Why did you choose this machine?
From talking to people in the industry, we became convinced that Watkiss would provide us with the least problems and would handle anything that we threw at it.
Did you consider any other products?
We looked at several cheaper products but when we looked at reviews it became obvious that you get what you pay for, and that the cheaper products would continually break down.
What features do you like most?
The most impressive feature about the Watkiss Bookmaster Pro is the squareback function. It does a very good job of keeping a rigid square with only a staple in the spine. It also has a nice solid feel to it and the backup service has been fantastic to date.
Is there anything you wish it had that it doesn’t?
Not really. It has a very intricate system of adjustments for every aspect of the machine. The only thing that would help is a larger trim bin, as it fills up once every few hundred booklets.
How fast is it?
That’s a difficult question to answer as the computer’s calculations are hardly ever what the end result is. The fastest I’ve seen it run is 3,400 sets per hour, but with things like misfeeds and jams, I reckon it could produce around 1,500 8pp brochures per hour if all went to plan.
How reliable is it?
Also difficult to answer, as I am yet to get the hang of all the functions of the machine. But from what I’ve seen, as long as it is well maintained and everything is set up correctly, the Bookmaster Pro could easily smash through hundreds of books without a hiccup.
How easy is it to use?
It isn’t as easy to use as a guillotine, but the settings are fairly self-explanatory. And if you ever get stuck, the handbook is written in an easy to understand language with frequent diagrams.
Has it won you any new business?
We are currently in discussion with several potential new clients. That will dramatically add to our workload, which we could not service without this piece of equipment.
Has it saved time and money?
We have only had it operating for a few weeks, but when all is working well it certainly saves a lot of time and makes the result look brilliant.
Were there any difficulties surrounding the install?
Not at all, the Bookmaster Pro is very small and compact for the work it can handle, so it was easy to set up and install.
How has the pre- and after-sales service been?
The service is unbelievable. We once had a feeding issue because I couldn’t work out the right settings for the feeder, and the technician flew down from Melbourne to help us out.
Would you buy another one?
Hopefully this one will last for a long time yet and handle all the needs that we will have for a while, but I would certainly recommend it to anyone else.
For whom do you think this product is appropriate?
It’s perfect for digital printers who have a lot of booklet work, especially if the runs aren’t more than, say, 100 booklets at a time, but would also be very useful for government departments, schools and the like.
Fotobase owners Jason and Randell came to Melbourne to inspect a couple of machines, liked what they saw and sent some samples to test from their digital machine. They were very pleased with the results – as they were stunning – and they purchased the Watkiss Digital Finishing System. The reasons why they bought this machine from us are very simple. It feeds heavier stock than any machine on the market, it is shorter in length than anything on the market, and it makes nicer booklets than anything on the market. We have sold two of our PUR binders since PacPrint 2013. These are the hottest machines on the market at the moment – bang for buck.
Matthew Benn, managing director, FAB Equipment
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