The Exeter-based business made the move in order to be more competitive and to meet the fast turnaround times required for short runs. The device, which was supplied by Ashgate Automation, was installed at the firm's 372sqm site in early May.
Ashley House, which has 20 staff and a turnover of £1.6m, produces litho, digital and wide-format print and offers finishing services including folding, layflat binding, PUR binding, stitching and cutting and creasing.
The company said it was seeing an increasing number of requests for hard-case finishing from self publishers and for other applications such as children’s books, photobooks, travel books and recipe books.
“The one thing that they all had in common was the requirement for a hard case and the short run length, anything from a single copy up to about 100 books,” said Ashley House managing director Rob Otton.
“We did outsource less frequent projects before – by bringing the work in-house it is more cost-effective, quicker and quality controlled.”
The table-top H46 Pro, which can produce tailor-made cases from CD size up to 1,040x490mm, can be used with printed or non-printed covers.
The covers are positioned on the Casematic’s illuminated suction table and registration marks and a centre line then ensure accurate placement. Once the boards are attached to the cover, the edges are folded using the integrated edge wrapper. The folding unit is adjustable for different thicknesses.
“The Fastbind Casematic was recommended by a colleague who had used it before. We did look at a few others but this one is built well and fitted our requirements,” said Otton.
“Together with our layflat binding machine, which does edge-to-edge binding, we can embellish high-end products inexpensively.”
The company is now exploring the other applications possible with the Fastbind machine, including hard-cover ring-binders.