Product Review: Welbound WB3600

Sachin Shardul says never under-estimate the appeal of a workhorse whose flexibility, fast set-ups, upgradability and productivity are of the highlights of Welbound's 12-clamp perfect binding kit.

Since 1989, Welbound Worldwide, the Thiruvananthapuram-based manufacturer has created a brand name for post-press kit like perfect binding, saddle stitching, hardcover binding, trimming machines.

It was in 2009 that the company launched WB3600, a 12-clamp perfect binding machine. Since then the company has installed 35 machines in India.

This includes installations at Repro India and SAP Print Solutions in Mumbai, Hindustan Times in Delhi, MBD Books in Gagret, Shivlal Agrawal & Co and Upkar Prakashan (Agra), Ajay Offset in Raipur, Mathrubhumi in Calicut, Satyajug Cooperative Society in Kolkata.

P Sajith, director marketing at Welbound Worldwide, says: "The 3600 meets production demands and is suited for printing and publishing houses where the production runs are medium to large. This is also a flexible model with many possibilities for upgrade."
The WB3600 is equipped with features like stack delivery that enhance the production quality, with minimal man power requirement. The book clamps are calibrated with thickness indicators and have single-knob adjustments which enables easy job changeover. This 12-clamp perfect binding system has dual milling station, one with ‘strip’ cutter and other with ‘roughener’ which are user selectable for better spine preparation. The dial indicators measure the depth of milling.

The glue station is removable and is easy to clean and maintain. The gluing station has three rollers with one reverse spinner along with accurate head and tail end cut-off to avoid adhesive squeeze out. The WB3600 has separate side gluing station with tank and gluing discs.

Sajith says: "Depending on the spine thickness, the width of the side glue can be adjusted; this is matched with the opening crease width. In thick books and oblong (landscape) formats, we use larger creasing widths. The temperature of pre-melter, glue tank and side glue tank can be independently pre-set."

The WB3600 has automatic, drum type cover feeder with on-line creasing attachment. The cover can be aligned on the alignment table before creasing. The gaps between all four creases are adjustable.
PUR option
Welbound Worldwide, for the first time in India, demonstrated a PUR perfect binder during Ipex 2009. But that was a single-clamp binder. Within two years, the WB3600 PUR perfect binder was introduced. This machine could produce annual diaries at the show, eliminating the thread sewing process.

"Producing annual diaries is a challenge when it comes to testing the binding durability. Hence this was made as a test case for PUR perfect binding," says Sajith. "And it passed the test."
According to the Welbound team, one of the key issues challenging the book printing industry in India is the necessity to thread-sew book blocks before cover pasting. At the moment, thread sewing is a bottle-neck in bookbinding. "We feel Polyurethane Reactive (PUR) hotmelts is the only solution for such jobs," said Sajith.

PUR, as we know, needs controlled environment, machines, applicators and know-how. For this, Welbound tied up with the world leaders in this technology – Henkel Adhesives and Robatech AG. Welbound’s managing director K C Sanjeev is pleased with the response to PUR technology. "The response was unprecedented."

"The educational publishers are pleased that they have ready to market books while the commercial printers are happy that they can print their brochures and books with ink or coatings spread on the spine. Coffee table books can now be produced lay flat," says Sajith.

The end result is a book which is attractive and structurally solid.

Technical Data
Book size
Spine thickness 3 to 50 mm
Spine Length 140 to 440 mm
Cover Size
Cover size max 650 (300-50-300) x 440 mm
Cover size min  210 (100-10-100) x 150 mm
Maximum speed 3600 books per hour

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