First steps to help expand your finishing capabilities

To outsource or not to outsource? That, when it comes to print finishing, is very much the question. The affordability of initial capital investment is obviously the first consideration which needs to be made. So PrintWeek has pulled together a round-up of what finishing manufacturers consider, in terms of initial outlay and ease of use, to be entry-level kit perfect for the printer taking their first steps in a certain process.


Italdibipack 4255EV 

Technologies The wheel in, wheel out shrinkwrapper can be set up in minutes. Improved automation has been aided by a stainless steel out-feed conveyor.


  • The system is designed to offer high performance at low costs for a wide range of commercial requirements.

Ease of use Features include job memory storage, automatic adjustment of sealing time, adjustable hold-down solenoid and automatic release of the conveyor belt to permit the film separation from the sealing blade. It works with thermo-sealing and shrinkable films such as PVC or polyolefin.

Doesn’t do For longer runs there is the Italdibipack 6084 high-performance large-format system. It is the largest of the range’s simplified heat-shrink wrappers and is intended for wrapping large products such as frames, pictures and panels. It is priced at £4,650.

User review
"We had been using elastic bands or wrapping paper to bundle items so this will clearly speed up productivity and give a more professional finish. The sealed bag or shrinkwrap gives a more secure, tamper-proof finish."
Dave Rimington Print services manager, Cheshire Constabulary

Price £4,100 (including stand)
Max speed 4-6pcs/min
Application size 420x550mm
Footprint 1,270x780mm
Contact Intelligent Finishing Systems, 020 8997 8053,


Polar 66 ECO  

Technologies The Polar 66 ECO is a basic low-cost model, ideal for the digital house and small and medium-sized response printer or inplant, says Heidelberg. It’s described as "a robust workhorse with a 198-program capacity for commonly used jobs and an easy to use 5.5-inch screen".


  • This is intended as a good entry-level product for medium to low usage. It is a stable product based on a proven design, is easy to use and maintain, says the vendor. It is supported by Heidelberg’s UK-wide base of engineers.

Ease of use Cutting programs can be generated manually or stored programs can be recalled via barcode reader. Knife adjustment and change is designed to be very straightforward and LED lights enable the operator to see the cutting line clearly.

Doesn’t do Polar’s ECO machines are basic models so they don’t network to JDF workflows, as the Polar 66 NET does, nor can you add materials handling systems as with other models. The Plus covers the mid range and the Pro is for high-end users.

User review
"The clamping pressures and the size of cutting table make it better to work with and the programmability is very intelligent. We have no regrets about our choice. It was good value for money."
Darran Squires Director, Optima Print

Price from £15,500
Max speed Operator dependent
Application size Cutting width: 67mm
Footprint 1.3x1.8m
Contact Heidelberg UK, 020 8490 3500,

Watkiss Mohr 56ECO

Technologies Mohr Cutters are durable, programmable cutting machines featuring a bevel-swing cut with hydraulic drive. The "unique" cutting precision is obtained by the sturdy construction and direct measurement.


  • Wide range of programming options
  • Easy knife changing with automatic shut-off in bottom dead centre and fine adjustment from the front
  • A machine frame with optimised stability is designed to take the force produced during the cutting process and to guarantee maximum cutting precision
  • Low-cost maintenance

Ease of use

  • A cutting stick ejector eases and abbreviates the knife change
  • Transparent rear-table cover ensures the best possible illumination
  • LED cutting line indicators ensure optimum illumination, even when lighting is poor
  • Front knife adjustment
  • Ergonomically arranged control panel
  • 198-program job memory

Doesn’t do Cutting width on this model is 560mm. Watkiss also offers models up to 800mm cutting width (£19,000). For digital workflow integration, supporting PDF, JDF and barcode systems, Watkiss offers the Mohr NET range of guillotines, which are around £4,000 more expensive.

User review
"The Mohr has got lots of features you wouldn’t necessarily find on another entry-level guillotine. We find being able to program jobs really useful as we have a lot of repeat work."
Peter Hannen Co-director, Ripe Digital

Price £15,000
Max speed Back gauge return speed: 70mm/sec
Application size Cutting width: 560mm Feed depth 560mm
Max feed height 80mm
Footprint 1.2x1.7m
Contact Watkiss Automation Sales, 01767 685710,

Duplo Ideal 4350

Technologies The Ideal 4350 is an entry-level floor-standing electric guillotine, designed to handle formats up to A3. It includes the full Ideal Safety Cutting System feature package which includes transparent hoods over the front and rear tables, two-hand operation and automatic blade return. The Ideal 4350 has a maximum cut depth of 40mm for 500 sheets of paper, electric clamp and a hand-operated back gauge with digital read-out.


  • Digital display for accurate positioning of cutting line
  • Optical cutting line from LED lamps
  • Fast-action flick position clamp
  • 40mm cutting depth
  • Maximum 430mm cutting length, 35mm minimum
  • Easy-change cutting stick

Ease of use Transparent safety hoods guarantee safe operation with no loss of control over the cutting task. The electric clamp helps ease of operation while digital read-out on the back gauge means accurate positioning of the stack for cutting. An illuminated cutting line provides further reassurance that positioning is accurate. Cutting stick removal from the side is safe and simple, while blade changeover is also a fail-safe operation.

Doesn’t do The maximum cut length for the 4350 is 435mm and there are no programmable cut sequences. To cut larger sizes, and speed up production time, Duplo offers the 4860 ET (£7,995) capable of a cutting of 475mm and including a digital touch pad for entering parameters.

Price £3,620
Max speed N/A
Application size Cutting length: 475mm; cutting height 80mm
Footprint 755x990mm
Contact Duplo UK, 01932 263900, 


Duplo DF-970

Technologies The DF-970 is a friction-fed twin-fold plate-folding machine. The feed mechanism has three rollers which make contact with the paper to precisely feed sheets. It’s also equipped with features including feed pressure adjustment, paper separator adjustment and skew correction, which Duplo says ensure consistent fold accuracy.


  • This machine is designed to cater for office environments, therefore user-friendliness is key and functions such as the automatic plate setting ensure fast set-up and consistent folding accuracy. The DF-970 is capable of feeding a wide variety of sheet sizes from A3 to A7. With six standard fold styles, the user can also create custom fold styles using an intuitive control panel to move the fold plates and create unique applications.

Ease of use The DF-970 has a 10-job memory for non-standard folds, so the operator can select the fold positions easily from the control panel and save them to be recalled for future use, meaning all the operator has to do is select the desired job parameters from memory, and press the start button.

Doesn’t do The DF-970 is not suitable for stocks heavier than 157gsm, cross-folding is optional, and there is no double-feed detection, or automatic paper size detection. For these features Duplo would recommend the DF-1200 (£6,200), capable of folding a single sheet of A4 up to 230gsm.

Price Around £3,526
Max speed 260 sheets/min
Application size Max paper size: 311x457.2mm; min paper size 74x105mm
Paper weight 52-157gsm
Footprint 755x990mm
Contact Duplo UK, 01932 263900,

Horizon PF-40L

Technologies Crisp, tight fold quality is assured with high grip urethane rubber fold rollers with the gap easily adjusted to suit different paper weights, says Horizon. A registration guide is designed to ensure accurate sheet transportation and a high-quality fold. Speedy throughput is aided by a high-capacity feed table that can hold up to 1,300 sheets, minimising loading during longer runs.


  • The folder designed to be cost effective, compact and easy-to-operate. It features a suction rotor feeding mechanism that can handle a wide variety of paper stocks from 52gsm up to 157gsm.

Ease of use Fold patterns, ranging from single and double parallel to short-fold, accordion and open gatefold, can be easily set up via the operator-friendly console, says Horizon. Up to 20 jobs can be stored for instant recall and five speed modes means it can be run at a top speed of 390sph as well as quieter operating speeds for office environments.

Doesn’t do For larger sheet sizes and more complex folds Horizon offers a range of systems with the most popular being the £55,950 AFC-566Fjdf, a JDF-ready fully automated B2 folder.

User review
"Whereas run lengths used to be predominantly between 2,500 and 5,000 they are now 500 to 2,000 so we have to find ways to handle the same volume of work, but with more makereadies. The new folder makes a big difference."
Christopher Ward Business and marketing manager, Cranfield University Press

Price £8,540 (including the table)
Max speed 390sph
Application size B3
Footprint 1,560x630mm
Contact Intelligent Finishing Systems, 02089978053,


UniBinder 8.2

Technologies Thanks to this machine’s crimping tool, users can choose from three UniCovers spine sizes, which can then be crimped to fit the document. The UniBinder is made up of two heating plates and two cooling plates, which, like Unibind’s other thermal binding systems, works when the steel of the spine is placed on the plate, activating the magnet. No warm-up time is needed. UniCovers come in five new colours plus a range of steel book and steel crystal hardback covers.


  • UniBind says the USP is the machine’s affordability combined with the professional look of the books it produces.

Ease of use High-quality binding is completed in three easy steps, says Unibind. The machine is apparently fully automatic after initial detection of the steel spine.

Doesn’t do Documents above 130 pages. For larger documents Unibind recommends the XU range, which includes the XU138 which binds up to eight documents at once (£495), the XU238 which binds up to 16 documents at once (£795), and the XU338 which binds up to 24 documents at once (£895). All of the above bind up to 340 pages, but don’t include a crimper.

User review
"The Unibinder 8.2 opened up a whole new market for my copy shop, allowing me to offer highly professional bound books and documents without having to outsource. It’s fast and economical."
‘Mr S’, Leicester

Price £1,195
Max speed approximately 90 seconds for up to 12 binds
Application size 1 to 130 pages
Footprint 380x270mm
Contact Unibind UK, 0845 226 0887,


Duplo DB-280

Technologies According to Duplo, the DB-280 is an easy-to-use perfect binding machine which combines two hotmelt glue drums and a wider notching tool to ensure a more durable bind. It features a unique nipping mechanism that produces a square and precise book spine every time. Multiple applications can be produced on this machine at the touch of a button.


  • The machine is able to produce an array of applications, including padding, soft cover binding, tape binding and end-sheet binding.
  • Standby mode allows the user to start up more quickly, as the glue only takes five minutes to warm-up.
  • Cover detection sensor at the nipping station which ensures the clamp will not travel back to the nipping position until the cover stock is in position.

Ease of use The machine features an ergonomic control panel for single-operator efficiency. Its electronic operation and clear LED display ensure that precise settings are made, perfect for running different applications with minimal user intervention required. Operators also have the option of presetting nipping and clamping times for maximum efficiency.

Doesn’t do Despite being able to offer a selection of binding options, the DB-280 is unable to run PUR glues. Duplo would suggest the KB-4000 PUR perfect binder (£49,000) for this.

User review
"The convenience of having this system available in-house has meant that we no longer have to outsource print binding jobs, allowing us to make substantial savings of approximately £20,000 per year."
Ian Bealey Print co-ordinator, Appleby Westward Group

Price £7,470
Max speed 200cph
Max book size 320x400mm
Min book size 80x50mm
Max cover size 320x838mm
Max binding thickness 40mm
Footprint 2x1m
Contact Duplo UK, 01932 263900,

Morgana DigiBook 150 PUR Binder

Technologies This is Morgana’s entry-level PUR Perfect Binder. Interest in PUR binding for smaller print operations is on the rise, with the particular difficulties encountered when binding digitally printed sheets with normal hotmelt glue.


  • Touch screen operation
  • Spine preparation by sophisticated notching device
  • Paper chip extractor
  • Patented hermetically sealed PUR application system for spine and side gluing with automatic glue cut-off
  • Automatic cleaning and sealing of the glue head

Ease of use The machine is simple to setup, although, according to Morgana, it is fully equipped with all the features you would find on the higher end Morgana binders including the patented sealed tank and nozzle applicator for the PUR glue.

User review
"The 150 is perfectly suited to run from 6 to 200 copies which covers just about all of our needs."
Peter Randall Owner of The Digital Press

Price £22,990
Speed 150cph
Application size Binding length: 110-320mm; spine thickness: 2-50mm
Footprint 1,670-1,070mm
Contact Morgana, 01908 608888,

Tecnograf ANT 150 PUR Hybrid

 Technologies The ANT 150 PUR Hybrid is a fully automatic, single-clamp binder targeted at short-run digital jobs and, as its name suggests, it employs the best bits of two systems, according to supplier Friedheim. It has the reliability of a simple roller configuration, but without the drawback of a reservoir tank – so it only uses the glue it needs.


  • Hybrid technology for ease of use and cleaning
  • Fully automatic or manual operation
  • Separate dedicated hotmelt side glue unit with roller application
  • It can be cleaned in minutes as there is no tank to worry about
  • Virtually no glue wastage

Ease of use Book covers are fed individually into the cover feeding/register station. After completion of the binding process, the books are then automatically transferred to the delivery tray for removal by the operator.

Doesn’t do It can’t handle folded sections.

Price from £19,750
Max speed 150cph
Footprint 1.6x1.1m
Contact Friedheim International, 01442 206100,

Watkiss 340HM

Technologies The 340HM hotmelt perfect binder is an easy to handle, entry-level semi-automatic binding machine, ideally suited to short-run applications, according to Watkiss.


  • Automatic book clamp and vice
  • Automatic spine notching
  • Adjustable glue thickness
  • Side gluing
  • Digital temperature display
  • Programmable binding time
  • Standby mode
  • Book counter

Ease of use Standby mode, programmable binding time and a book counter are standard features that add to ease of use, says Watkiss. The binder also features easy LCD display for function setting and control and an automatic book clamp and vice.

Doesn’t do Customers looking for a higher specification perfect binder from Watkiss should consider its 420 range which has a wider binding width (420mm) and includes options for spine milling, cover feeding, creasing and a closed tank PUR gluing system (from £10,000).

Price £6,500
Max speed 260bph
Application size Length: 130-340mm; thickness 3-35mm
Footprint 1,020x460mm
Contact Watkiss Automation, 01767 685710,

Horizon BQ160

Technologies The BQ160 is a single-clamp offline EVA and PUR perfect binder.


  • Horizon says that this machine is perfect for digitally printed stocks and books where lay-flat is a key requirement. A "uniquely designed" glue tank ensures superior glue application to the book spine and a double-pass notching function enables the production of strong book binds. There is the option to add the CRB160 for near line scoring.

Ease of use The binder features a colour touchscreen and a clamp that opens and closes with the press of a button.

Doesn’t do The BQ470 is preferable for versatility in mid-range softback book production. This binder also features EVA and PUR glue options, touch screen set up and variable software that individually sets each individual clamp for faster production. The BQ470 EVA version is priced at £62,490 while the PUR version is £65,600.

User review
"We have been looking at possible solutions for a couple of years but they’ve always been around £40,000 to £50,000. We don’t currently have the demand to justify that level of investment. We also wanted a robust system, but user-friendly enough to be set up by any one of our team."
Michael Burman Managing director, FE Burman

Price BQ160EVA: £12,900; BQ160PUR: £16,700
Max speed 180cph
Application size 300x350mm
Footprint 1,430x605mm
Contact Intelligent Finishing Systems, 020 8997 8053,


Morgana CardXtra/CardXtra Plus

Technology The CardXtra is an automatic finishing device primarily used for business card production. However, the CardXtra Plus has a Morgana creasing mechanism added that widens the range of finished products to greetings cards and four-page creased brochures. It’s a template-driven device, developed to finish digital print.


  • Cut and crease in one pass
  • Rule and matrix guaranteed for life
  • Fully programmable
  • ‘Million-cut’ guarantee
  • Choice of optional plug-in cutters
  • Image tracking registration mark

Ease of use Cards are simply imposed using the supplied PDF template, or imposed in the RIP giving 20 business cards per sheet. A registration mark is printed on the sheets allowing the image to be tracked giving perfect results even if there is a bit of movements on the printed stock.

User review
"The CardXtra has given us a new revenue stream by making business card production easier, faster and more profitable."
Peter Martyr Owner, GP Print

Price CardXtra £8,490/CardXtra Plus £13,990
Max speed 140 business cards/min
Application size A5, A6, postcard, business card and adjustable custom sizes
Footprint CardXtra: 1,032x615mm; CardXtra Plus: 1,300x615mm
Contact Morgana, 01908 608888,



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