Star product: Hohner HSB 13.000 saddle-stitcher

Simon Eccles
Thursday, April 29, 2021

This high-speed saddle-stitcher was revamped in 2020 and now boasts some smart features for remote diagnostics alongside a huge variety of options, making it a very versatile performer.

What does it do?

It is one of the fastest saddle-stitchers on the market, with only a couple of competitors able to match it. Hohner is a German manufacturer of finishing equipment and the HSB 13.000 is the top of its range. The number is pronounced ‘thirteen thousand’, relating to maximum cycles per hour. In its standard format it can produce normal stitches or loop stitches, 1- or 2-up, on document sizes from A7 portrait (105mm) to oversized A3 portrait (475mm).

When was it launched and what market is it aimed at?

The 13.000 was first launched in 2012 but has been updated regularly since, most recently in 2020. Friedheim recently took over UK distribution and support for the Hohner range from Hohner UK. It says the HSB 13.000 “is aimed at a general commercial market, with one of its key strengths being the flexibility needed to serve this market well”.

Although the 13.000 is the flagship for speed and full automation, Friedheim expects the UK market will take more of the 9.000 model, which offers 9,000 cycles per hour with four stitching heads and semi-automated operations, for a significantly lower price.

How does it work?

Hohner has long specialised in stitching heads. Friedheim says that the 13.000 uses these with “a focus on overall performance, high levels of automation and user friendliness”.

All settings are made by servo motors with intelligent programming via the centralised ‘Motion-Control’ technology. This helps to speed setup and changeover times considerably. The 2020 model made it easier to swap out servos. The large touchscreen control panel includes a job management system that saves previous job parameters which are then used for single-button automatic setup of repeat jobs, again saving time. The automatic centralised lubrication system saves on maintenance tasks as well.

The 13000 can be fitted with up to six stitching heads (Hohner’s HSS 42/6 type), with fully automated positioning of the heads. Delivery is onto a conveyor table with shingling onto a compensating stacker.

New for 2020 were a speed boost, plus improved control software, with display control panels at each station including the trimmer and also a wireless remote control unit. Other improvements include faster knife changing on the trimmer, improved remote maintenance and provision for augmented reality video-conferencing using smart glasses, longer-life light sensors and no-maintenance electromagnetic door switches.

There are lots of configuration/customisation possibilities, from a manual feeder (with what Hohner calls an ergonomic height) to 16 automatic single signature feeders (vertical and horizontal); automatic vertical cover feeder and compact horizontal cover feeder for each feeder position after the standard cover feeder (or 18 signature feeders without cover feeder); 2-up setup; 2:1 production; staple monitoring; straight or 90˚ delivery belt; Hohner compensating stacker and transport system for trim waste).

The lengthy list of options includes: small item support; variable suction timer; continuous error monitoring with display showing the error source; LED lighting for all feeders; inline hole punching and die punching; cameras on the feeder for quality monitoring and barcode reading to match covers to blocks; enhanced operating modes (such as variable suction timing on all feeder types); Hohner’s own compensating stacker or third-party products can be integrated; remote diagnostics; JDF support; and capture of production data.

How productive is it?

As the name suggests the HSB 13.000 runs at up to 13,000 cycles per hour. It can stitch smaller items 2-up.

Did it replace anything in the Hohner range?

“It’s not a replacement for an existing Hohner product but we have found it’s a great replacement for having a number of smaller, less productive machines due to its flexibility,” says Stuart Bamford, national sales manager for Friedheim’s post-press division. “Other in-line options such as hole-punching and die-punching also help keep production consolidated and without bottlenecks.”

What is the USP?

Bamford says the standout points on the 13.000 are the minimal level of workload involved in operating the machine, the level of automation and ease of makereadies with tool-less changeover.

How easy is it to use?

“Very,” says Bamford. “This has been a key objective of the equipment. A high level of automation and intuitive, easy-read touchscreen controls in combination with sophisticated software including job memory, all allow for a lot of production confidence.”

What training, service and support is available?

“Training is quite straightforward due to the high level of automation on the machine, however full training and refresher training is available through Friedheim International, as with all our products,” says Bamford.

He adds: “Interestingly Hohner is bringing new initiatives to the fore here too by offering augmented reality with smart glasses in live view for the purpose of planned preventative mainte­­­nance, diagnostics and repairs. All this is available alongside Friedheim’s three service contract options.”

What does it cost?

Prices will inevitably vary quite widely due to the large number of configurations and options on offer with this kind of system. Friedheim says the machine has a base price of £375,000.


Production speed 13,000 cycles per hour

Stitching heads Up to six automatic Hohner Narrow HSS 42/6

Trimmer thickness capacity 12mm in single production

Max stitching thickness 6mm for normal staples, for loop stitching L6 maximum 3mm; and L8 maximum 2mm

Trim allowance 50mm for front trim (depending on format), 50mm for head and foot trim (depending on format)

Max pile length of vertical feeder Approx 250mm

Dimensions Depends on configuration but typically 11x1.5m from feed (with two horizontal feeders, two vertical feeders and a cover feeder) to the start of the 90˚ belt transport, which is then 3.7x1.3m to the end of the trimmer, with the various stacker unit choices adding about another 3m

Price From £375,000

Contact Friedheim International 01442 206100 


IBIS Smart-binder

A versatile British-built saddle-stitching line that can be used inline or nearline to fast digital presses so doesn’t need pre-collated signatures. It is modular with a choice of feed types, inline folding, perforators, punches and drills, squarers and stackers. In addition to conventional wire stitching the SB-3 configuration includes the ability to apply cold glue dots to bind the sections thanks to the addition of IBIS’ ISG system. There are options for inline (SB-4) or offline (SB-5) perfect binding.

Maximum output 7,000 books/hr (1-up) or 14,000 books/hr (2-up)

Maximum input sheet rate 450 sheets per minute (may contain four, eight or 12 pages)

Max inline web press speed Around 180-200m/min with extra buckle folder

Paper stock weight 40-160gsm

Cover stock weight 70-300gsm (above 240gsm requires testing)

Trimmed book width 120-225mm

Spine length 210-320mm

Book thickness range From four pages up to 10mm

Stitch heads Up to four for 12mm staples, optional loop stitching available

Price £160,000 (SB-2 fed from web cutter)

Contact IBIS Integrated Bindery Systems 01494 561950

Muller Martini Primera PRO

The top saddle-stitcher from Muller Martini has comparable cycle rates to the Hohner and full servo-motor setup, but Muller says it has more capabilities, including potential integration in the company’s Finishing 4.0 infrastructure. Feeders can be flat pile, folder and stream types. A three-knife trimmer is built in, also a compensating stacker.

Production speed 14,000 cycles per hour

Untrimmed product sizes 120x110mm to 485x320mm

Max trimmed sizes 480x315mm (1-up), 235x315mm (2-up)

Max stitching thickness 13mm (1-up)

Dimensions Dependent on configuration

Price Dependent on configuration

Contact Muller Martini UK 0844 875 4590


© MA Business Limited 2021. Published by MA Business Limited, St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road, London, SE24 0PB, a company registered in England and Wales no. 06779864. MA Business is part of the Mark Allen Group .