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Focus On

Bookletmakers and Trimmers

Bookletmaking and trimming is a competitive market. Jo Golding investigates this core technology sector and its latest advances that are furthering book production efficiency

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Whether printing eight-page manuals or 200-page booklets, bookletmaking and trimming is a sector with tough competition

Book smart

The bookletmakers and trimmers sector of the print industry is booming, from smaller entry level machines to high production devices. With so many companies competing to have the most efficient equipment, it is not always easy to know where to turn. Rounding up the latest innovations in the market from just a handful of companies has shown how much the sector is developing in order to improve the everyday production of books.

One company developing in partnership with C.P. Bourg is Integra, who became the sole distributors of offline C.P Bourg equipment this April. Richard Maclean, director of Integra, explains: “One of our main companies we’ve worked with in the past and still work with is Sitma machinery and we saw the need of entering into digital finishing and the digital side of the industry.


The C.P Bourg BM-e bookletmaker from Integra can produce 5,000 booklets per hour



“We investigated the marketplace a couple of years ago now and we highlighted C.P. Bourg, who are digital finishers, as being an extremely well built, very technical solution for both short-run digital binding and bookletmaking. They are very well known and one of the market leaders across Europe and America, but in the UK they’re not so well known so it was an ideal opportunity.”

Perfect partnership

To make their name in the UK market, they have developed the BDF-e and BM-e bookletmakers. He says: “The BM-e is the newer, higher speed, 5,000 booklets per hour machine. That can do landscape A4 which is an advantage and up to four stitching heads. That also includes a bleed crease module and a face trim which produces a fully finished book. That can be fed from either a collating tower for litho work or a sheet feeder for near-line production from digital presses.”

The BM-e can produce a 120-page booklet up to 350gsm. Though Maclean describes its ‘important feature’ is its ability to feed the sheet from 19 different trolleys, saving valuable space and money: “You may have in your production area a Kodak for this, a HP for that, but you’ve got to feed it to one bookletmaker. We have 19 different types of trolleys for work from different presses which is a huge advantage.”

In a competitive industry, he also advises it is crucial to stand out. “The near-line solutions is unique. We’re the only bookletmaker that can be put inline with HP series 5000, 6000, 7000 presses. The other newer product is the single clamp binder, the BB3002. That comes in different versions either nearline, inline or offline. In my opinion it is the best single clamp binder on the market.”

Integra showcased both the BM-e and BB3002 at an open day in April, and Maclean emphasises that they offer full support for their machines.

Manufacturer and supplier of digital finishing equipment, Morgana, are excited to reveal the BM500, the latest addition to their bookletmakers range. The machine can produce 200-page booklets and is an ‘offline adaptation’ of an inline solution sold through Xerox and Ricoh.


The easy to use BM500 from Morgana has a full colour touchscreen interface with clear instructions



Ray Hillhouse, sales and marketing director of Morgana discussed that there was ‘a need for higher page count booklets and booklets created using much thicker paper stocks’. A lead edge trimmer can be supplied also, with a square fold option which is ideal for larger booklets.

The new device also has extra user-friendly features to help operators. This includes the first Morgana full colour touchscreen interface with clear instructions, designed to improve overall efficiency and reduce turnarounds.

Something for everyone

From high-end digital to small entry level machines, Watkiss Automation has a solution for all. Jo Watkiss, communications director of Watkiss Automation, says: “Our most popular probably is the PowerSquare 224 because it’s a machine that’s in a class of its own in terms of the quality of output and its capability. I think the key features on it is that it will do a book that’s up to 224 pages and in doing that, it adjusts the quality of the stitching and the folding so it doesn’t make any difference whether your book’s got 8 pages or 224 pages, you’re always going to get a perfectly formed stitch and a perfectly formed book.

“There’s no compromise on quality. That’s a really important feature I think because for that sort of application, you’ve got a large bulk of paper there that needs to be held securely, and that product is designed for the high production environment. The machine comes in three different versions: a hand fed version, online version, and a nearline version, making it highly versatile.”

Watkiss describes how the firm aims to give their clients an, ‘efficient, quality, and cost-effective service’. Their clients include Homebase, Argos, AB Print Group, Antony Rowe, law firms, univeristies, as well as people who do ‘print for pay’.

At the other end of the spectrum comes a more accessible solution. Watkiss comments: “We have got a new entry level bookletmaker which is the only small table top bookletmaker that still gives you a square spine, which is a feature of our booklet-making and it’s a Watkiss innovation. That’s called a Superfax SF-500EU. If somebody wants a smart professional finish that you get with a square back spine on the book, but doesn’t have the budget for a top end machine, then this is a good solution.”

Watkiss revealed that Sheffield University have replaced their old equipment with a nearline version of the PowerSquare 224 fitted with the Watkiss PSF sheet feeder. This will enable the university to produce a professional finish on documents such as course packs and lecture notes.


Sheffield University’s print and design solutions manager, Paul Tetley, with a PowerSquare
from Watkiss Automation



In order to stay current in an ever-changing market, Terry Cooper Services (TCS) has also rolled out a range of new bookletmaking solutions this year.


Terry Cooper Services says it partnered with Hohner due to their ‘excellent portfolio of high quality, easy to use and affordable solutions’



Following their agreement with Hohner UK, the Hohner Foldnak Compact has been created for use in smaller digital or offset printing, and combines bookletmaking with trimming. The device handles stock from all printing machines, and its integrated trimmer ensures a perfect finish.

Trimming can be carried out with TCS’ challenge range—the challenge CMT 130 three-knife trimmer and the challenge CMT 330 three-knife trimmer. Both trimmers can cut through 2? thick books and can be used as a hand feed offline trimmer.

For companies wanting to make short turnaround work more efficient, Intelligent Finishing Systems (IFS) has added the Horizon StitchLiner 6000 to their range of saddlestitchers. At its fastest speed yet, 6,000bph, output is high quality in a quicker time.

The Horizon SPF-F200L feeds landscape A4 sheets in its booklet production and the CR R 400 bleed crease trims the head and tail of the sheets. Running at speeds of up to 42000 sheets per hour, it is no surprise that lithographic print company Veldonn Printers has invested in the device to ‘boost production capacity, improve quality and bring sqaureback production inhouse’.


The Horizon SPF-F200L from IFS can feed landscape A4 sheets in booklet production



Bryan Godwyn, joint managing director of IFS, explains that the difference investing in a new solution is ‘instantly noticeable’ and the benefits include, ‘a reduction in the amount of staff required, greater flexibility in production capabilities, extended capacity and improved profitability’.

Friedheim International adds to the trimmer sector with Wohlenberg three-knife trimmers—trim-tec 45i, trim-tec 60i, trim-tec 90e. The trim-tec 90e is an inline trimmer that operates at a high speed and features new dynamic drive technology. This increases performance and reduces set-up time, making production easier for the user. Friedheim also boast a range of guillotines with their new feature, power cutting control (PCC), which allows the user to benefit from a large touchscreen display.

One stop shop

A look into the latest innovations in bookletmaking would not be complete without mentioning Duplo, with their extensive range of bookletmakers from the 150Fr Booklet System for short runs, to the Digital System 5000PRO for high speed production. Sarah Crumpler, marketing manager of Duplo UK, explains how booklet-making has had to evolve to meet demand: “The print industry is increasingly faced with shorter run lengths, so customers are looking for fully automated systems that work at the touch of a button. They are looking for an all-in-one solution for across bookletmaking. They want a tool-less system with no human intervention to handle any application.

The print industry is increasingly faced with shorter run lengths, so customers are looking for fully automated systems that work at the touch of a button


“Printers should be looking at bookletmaking systems that are easy to use, provide full automation and have an extremely fast makeready, as well as reducing paper wastage. You need a 100 percent guarantee that the job will be done correctly first time.

“As the world’s first company to introduce dynamic bookletmaking, we have remained at the forefront of technology and work closer with our partners and customers than ever before. However, good products don’t work without huge R&D investment— up to 7 percent of turnover is reinvested annually—and a talented group of people who work for Duplo, many of whom have been with the company for over 20 years.”

O Factoid: A book printed 540 years ago, said to be the first book to be printed in the English language, sold at an auction in 2014 for over £1m. O


Duplo’s range of bookletmakers also have a growing customer base according to Crumpler: “High productivity is maintained at all times with faulty sets automatically diverted without stopping production. A fast and accurate double sheet and miss detection system, a user-friendly and intuitive touch screen PC controller allows for each job to be set up within seconds.”

It is clear that development in this sector is not slowing down, as Maclean hints of even more new releases to come, and I doubt that the other companies in the market will disappoint either.


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