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Lean Finishing: The Relentless Drive to Automate Book Manufacturing

Press release from the issuing company

New Standard Smart Binding System Marks Milestone in Efficient Short-run Production 

ANDOVER, MA – Wikipedia defines lean manufacturing as a “production practice that considers the expenditure of resources for any goal other than the creation of value for the end customer to be wasteful, and thus a target for elimination.”

This “lean” philosophy is alive and well in most pre-press and press rooms, but many short-run book binderies remain islands of inefficiency. Standard partner Horizon has mounted an effective response to this problem, developing a steady stream of innovative, increasingly automated binding and trimming solutions. Still, customers who aspire to take full advantage of high-speed roll-fed or cut-sheet digital presses for production short-run softcover book manufacturing have found that complementary binding solutions remain stubbornly labor-intensive... until now.

Standard Finishing Systems, together with partners Horizon and Hunkeler, will unveil a new lean book manufacturing process at Print ’13 that solves many of the challenges inherent in short-run, roll-fed and cut-sheet book production. The new Smart Binding System drives labor cost out of the equation by producing variable format books of different thickness within a continuous-feed or cut-sheet print stream, with fully automated changeovers and minimal touch points.

The space-efficient platform is comprised of several new Horizon finishing technologies that have been uniquely combined with existing, proven modules. Workflow plays a critical role too, taking post-press finishing requirements into account during job planning and imposition to insure smooth production. Intelligent readers mounted throughout the system also monitor and control the finishing process in real-time, contributing to overall efficiency, flexibility and top-quality results.

For Print ’13, production begins with 20” wide rolls. Standard collaborated with Canon Solutions America and Screen USA to develop the book applications and pre-print the rolls. Each roll contains three different titles, and each title has a different format and page count. Three trade titles were pre-printed on the Océ ColorStream® 3900 Inkjet Press, with matching color covers printed on the Canon imagePRESS® C7010VPS.  Three educational guidebooks were pre-printed on the Screen TruePress Jet520 Inkjet Press. Five, ten and fifteen copies of each title were arranged on each roll in sequence to simulate the real-world, where short-run production quantities vary up and down by title.

The Hunkeler UW6 unwinds the 20”-wide pre-printed roll, which is then cut into parent sheets on the Hunkeler CS6-1 rotary cutter before entering the Horizon AF-566F folder for conversion into 12-page signatures. The folded signatures are then intelligently gathered (different quantity for different books), spot glued, and pressed in the new Horizon BBS-40 module. The gluing process forms a unified book block, to prevent any skewing as the book block travels to the perfect binder. 

Book blocks next enter the heart of the Smart Binding System, the all-new Horizon SB-09V (V for variable) nine-clamp perfect binder, which can automatically changeover between different book thicknesses on-the-fly, driven by information that is read upstream and transmitted to the binder.  Readers in the SB-09V also double-check that each book is married with the intended cover. The SB-09V has been quality engineered for reliability and performance, with the ability to produce up 2,000 professional-quality books per hour. 

Bound books exit the SB-09V into a smart accumulating station that uses book thickness data to calculate the correct stack height to be conveyed to the Horizon HT-1000V Three-knife Trimmer. The HT-1000V will automatically adjust for book/stack thickness and format on-the-fly, pulling instructions from the barcode on the book cover. Uniform 20” roll widths yield completely different book formats by combining intelligent job imposition with the variable trim capability of the HT-1000V. Readers at the exit end of the trimmer provide closed-loop verification and can also report production statistics.

“The Smart Binding System fills an important technology gap in the digital book production space,” said David Reny, Executive Vice President, Standard Finishing Systems. “Horizon engineers listened to book manufacturers to understand their pain points, and then applied their expertise in post-press automation to solve a unique set of challenges. We believe a stronger focus on post processing method, paper, format, imposition and workflow – before you print – can yield significant efficiency and labor savings to those who have the right mix of short-run book volumes. That’s what this platform delivers.” 

The high-performance Standard Horizon Smart Binding System, coupled with Standard Hunkeler pre and post processing, employs lean finishing techniques to help customers leverage the economics and flexibility of inkjet or toner-based systems for roll-fed book production. The high-speed feed table of the Horizon AF-566 folder allows the system to support cut-sheet digital input as well, providing flexibility in mixed digital print environments. Standard and industry-leading digital print manufacturers will cooperate closely to bring this solution to market.

Live demonstrations of the Standard Horizon Smart Binding System will be conducted daily on booth 1902 during Print ’13 at the McCormick Exhibition Center in Chicago, September 8-12. Print ‘13 attendees are invited to arrange a private equipment demonstration tailored to their application requirements by pre-registering for the Standard VIP Program at http://www.sdmc.com/print13.


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