Digital book printer Printondemand-worldwide has continued its automation drive by investing in a Kolbus DA270 Casemaker.
The machine, which was installed at the firm’s 2,508sqm Peterborough production facility shortly before Christmas, is the first DA270 in the UK to be equipped with a variable automatic spine-cutter.
It is also the first Kolbus machine to be linked to a customer’s own MIS system to produce a book of one.
“This investment is all part of the overall picture of seamless automation, to get a book out the door as quickly as if it was coming from a warehouse,” said Printondemand-worldwide managing director Andy Cork.
“Casemaking has always been the slowest part of the 'book of one' process and now we’ve automated this it has sped up our production significantly.”
The fully automatic machine has fast makeready and a variable automatic spine-cutter that is said to ensure consistent fast throughput of high-quality products. Using the firm’s MIS system, products are barcoded to make ready the machine.
Cork said the majority of the company's book of one work completed on the new Kolbus device was previously done manually.
“Each person manually was producing 65 books per hour, but now we can do this per minute,” he said.
“This puts us on track for our ultimate goal to supply global content in any format same-day/next-day.”
The Kolbus investment is the latest part of a major investment programme undertaken by the firm over the past 18 months, which has so far seen it spend more than £1m on new equipment.
The business also invested in a Ricoh Pro C9100 last summer, to boost the volume of high-quality colour work it could produce, as well as a custom-designed Hunkeler Book Block Line, a refurbished Screen Truepress Jet 520Z inkjet system and an automated binding and trimming system from Intelligent Finishing Systems.
The firm also operates a range of Canon Océ cutsheet equipment and a Xerox iGen 150.
The company’s next move will be to link its inkjet line to its automated binding lines, which it aims to have completed by the end of 2016.
It is also planning to buy an additional inkjet machine towards the end of the year but was tight-lipped on the specific details.
“The book of one market is still growing and we see ourselves growing by another 50% over the next 18 months as we’ve been building the infrastructure for growth,” said Cork.
Printondemand-worldwide has been in business for 20 years and is now one of the UK’s longest established digital book printers, with 70 staff and a turnover in excess of £5m. Its customers range from mainstream and academic publishers to individual authors publishing their own titles.