Printondemand-worldwide buys Hunkeler Book Block Line at Innovationdays

By Richard Stuart-Turner, Tuesday 10 March 2015

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Digital book printer Printondemand-worldwide has invested in a custom-designed Hunkeler Book Block Line, which it first saw and made the decision to buy at the manufacturer’s Innovationdays event in Lucerne, Switzerland last month.

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Cork (C): Automation is the only way forward

The device, which will be installed at the firm’s 2,508sqm Peterborough production facility next month, was purchased from Hunkeler’s UK agent Friedheim International for £500,000.

It follows the company’s recent purchase, for an undisclosed sum, of a refurbished Screen Truepress Jet 520Z, which will be installed later this month.

The business took on an extra 836sqm premises late last year to enable it to accommodate the new machinery, all of which is additional to the company’s plant list. The firm also operates a range of Canon Océ cutsheet equipment.

The Hunkeler Book Block Line has been configured to run either online or offline. This will enable it to produce real-time books of one or, if required, to mass produce longer runs roll-to-roll and finish them offline at speeds of up to 200m/min. Online it will run with mono and colour web inkjet technology at speeds of up to 128m/min.

Printondemand-worldwide’s configuration will include a plow-fold, capable of taking webs up to 762mm (30in) wide, a high-speed cutter and an offset stacker.

An automated binding and trimming system from Intelligent Finishing Systems (IFS), which cost around £300,000, was also installed last month.

“That’s three binders connected on a conveyor system which then goes to a trimmer and from there goes to dispatch. It’s a completely automated book of one to book of 1,000 line,” said Printondemand-worldwide managing director Andy Cork.

“We are currently in the middle of a three-phase technology overhaul, where automation is the only way forward.

“By reducing the amount of manual handling, our aim is to achieve ‘lean’ manufacturing whereby we produce a customer’s job on the same day ready for dispatch the next day – matching if not exceeding the speed of a warehouse operation.

“We are investing a lot of time, effort and money to ensure success in this project, and this involves purchasing the best equipment available.

“With the Hunkeler line, we are getting the highest possible quality and production efficiency that has been achieved through decades of experience, and that is why the £500,000 being invested by Printondemand-worldwide is a good investment.”

Prior to making the Hunkeler purchase, the business had also looked at alternatives from a range of US and Italian manufacturers, including Tecnau.

The final stage of the company’s three-phase strategy will be to buy another inkjet line within the next 18 months.

Friedheim national sales manager for digital solutions Robin Brown said: “We have been working with Printondemand-worldwide for several years now and they have grown into a position where the Hunkeler Book Block Line suits their needs.

“Printondemand-worldwide specialises in books of one, and with the Hunkeler Dyna-cut ‘automatic change size’ shown for the very first time at Innovationdays, they will be able to produce a true book of one at speeds of up to 200 metres a minute, and this puts them in a very unique situation.”

Printondemand-worldwide has been in business for almost two decades and is now one of the UK’s longest established digital book printers, with a turnover in excess of £6m. Its customers range from mainstream and academic publishers to individual authors publishing their own titles.

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