Back in 1995, Wohlenberg unveiled its new-generation perfect binding line, the Golf 6001, at Drupa. It boasted a perfect binder, gatherer and inline three-knife trimming. “It was the launch of that range that put us where we are today,” says Rayne Simpson, general manager, bindery for Ferrostaal Australia/NZ, which recently became the ANZ distributor for the Wohlenberg Baumann group. “It was also the first machine with a drum cover feeder.”
What set the drum feeder apart at the time was that pile or steam cover feeders have problems feeding covers with flaps. “It leads to jams and stoppages,” says Simpson.
The Golf feeds the cover upside down and face up, so the flaps were held firmly against the drum.
While the Golf is a manual makeready machine, on every position there is a digital dial. This means the operator doesn’t have to use ruler scales, as they did with the other machines on the market at the time. The micrometer dials give a visual readout of each adjustment.
“The fact you have those dials makes it really a semi-automatic makeready. Also, it means you can very quickly go back to previous settings,” adds Simpson.
Other features on the machine include wheel in wheel out glue tanks for spine and side gluing, with built-in pre-melters underneath the tank. On average, the gatherer on the machine usually has around 12-16 stations.
This led to the machine selling in its hundreds worldwide, according to Simpson, with a number of installations targeting trade finishers, book binders and printers.
In 2002, Wohlenberg launched the City e. This machine had a fully automatic makeready system compared to the manual makeready on the Golf. There were minor changes during the Golf’s lifetime, but the fully automatic City range proved irresistible for the market.
Hence, manufacturing of the Golf stopped in 2003. However, the Golf range still has a strong secondhand presence in Australia, NZ and worldwide.
Ferrostaal Australia/NZ will trade in the Golf, but usually sells older models to dealers.
Depending on the circumstances, Wohlenberg will occasionally refurbish a used machine in its factory in Germany. Spare parts are still available as many of the components are used through the current range are interchangeable.
Because of the bespoke nature of the machines (due to the configuration, build and type of work), service contracts are tailored to suit the customer. A new City e 6000 model costs around $1.5m
to $2.2m depending on configuration and options. A 2001 Golf 6001 is priced between $450,000-$600,000 depending on specification.
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