by Lara Copeland, assistant editor, PostPress
Specializing in design and production of high-quality book sewing machinery since 1979, Meccanotecnica, along with its New Milford, Connecticut-based service and support division, Book Automation, recently released its new Universe Sewing WEB-FED Automatic Book Folding and Sewing Line. This roll-to-book solution allows for high-quality, lay-flat digital book production for sewing books directly from the printed roll. Manrico Caglioni, president of Book Automation, said “The Universe Sewing WEB-FED automatic folding and sewing line represents a game changer in the digital book printing industry.”
In a digital environment, the machines help users to efficiently manage short- to medium-run lengths and streamline production. “The solution is a breakthrough,” according to Caglioni, “because it gives printers the ability to effectively manage the cost of medium runs.” It also is ideal for offset printers wanting to invest in digital printing and top quality finishing systems – allowing users to avoid certain steps, like creating printing plates, folding, palletizing and gathering signatures.
The Universe Sewing WEB-FED performs several processes in a single run including unwinding, cutting, sheet buffering and feeding, scoring and folding, collating and sewing. Guaranteeing a constant stream towards the Universe Sewing, the buffer module collects sheets from the webcutter. A new registering device squares the sheets before they are transferred into a scoring station where they are then folded into “four-pages” and collated to compose a signature. The new pressing roller guide feature provides perfect folding and ensures the best alignment of the folded sheets in the collating unit. Signatures are then transferred under a PC programmable accelerator wheel and conveyed to the sewing unit. Book blocks are automatically separated from each other and delivered spine up for easy unloading. The line’s model showcases a 15″ touchscreen and a Siemens PC that controls all functions. Machines are enabled for remote service connections and live support performed by expert engineers.
Optional elements are available upon request and include a device that reduces thread ends to around 10mm, the GigaLynx dual control camera for controlling the sequence by reading barcodes or images and an ionizing unit that removes the potential electrostatic charge on sheets. Universe Sewing can operate standalone, nearline or directly connected to inline – book finishing lines.
The Universe WEB-FED sewing line can be operated by a single person, providing users the benefit of cost-effective production and low operating costs. Additionally, this technology gives digital printers the ability to use thread sewing as a binding technique. Its inherent properties give this solution yet another advantage for the user. Caglioni explained further saying, “The lay-flat feature is a natural attribute and not a matter of machine settings, operator skill or ability. Superior resistance and longevity make it last for generations.” Furthermore, a significant feature for print-on-demand is the fact that the quality of a sewn book can be validated and checked as soon as it comes out of the production line. Other binding methods require books to be left overnight before finishing, ultimately increasing the lead time.
Customer and prospect response to the unveiling of the new solution has been positive according to Caglioni, who emphasized, “Digital printing has reached good quality and definition along with high production levels that are increasingly reaching the cross over point between digital and offset printing technology.” With digital printing not being confined to short runs anymore, there is a need to better manage the production of books in medium runs.
The Universe Sewing WEB-FED Automatic Book Folding and Sewing Line can handle a maximum sheet feeding speed of 400 A3 sheets/min and a maximum folded signature thickness of 3mm (?”). There are 10 stitch positions and a stitch length of 19mm (¾”). The external supply of air consumption is 250 l/min at 7bar, and its net weight is 2,900kg.The sheet buffer has a minimum sheet size of 210x270mm (8 ½x10 ¾”) and a maximum sheet size of 340x464mm (13 ¼x 18 ¼”).