Skyline productivity reaches new heights following Aster sewer buy

By Jez Abbott, Wednesday 02 March 2016

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Skyline Bookbinders has improved throughput of work after starting up a new Meccanotecnica Aster Pro52 sewing machine.


The Aster PRO52 sewer will reduce Skyline's makeready time

The machine, which was supplied by Kolbus UK and installed last month, will operate beside an existing sewing machine where its higher speed and quicker makereadies will save time and money at the Dorking plant.

Skyline offers case-binding and a range of manufacturing products, specialising in quick turnaround service from short-run trade folding through to bulk order A3 hardback books.

The list price of the Aster Pro52 is about £150,000 and the machine replaced an older Aster 160. It runs with an Aster 180 at the 30-staff company.

Skyline managing executive Paul Quinn also looked at alternatives from Muller Martini and Smyth but went for the Aster for its compact size and the track record of Aster machinery, which he has run for 15 years.

“The Muller Martini was a very nice bit of kit but we don't have much space here, so the smaller Aster will help. We also like the improved makereadies.

“We expect to put jobs through 20% faster than the older machine, and whereas makereadies could take up to 30 minutes, with the Aster Pro52 it's more like 12 minutes.”

The Aster Pro52 features a computer-controlled active thread-cutting system that the manufacturer said ensures no tearing of the signature spine.

It operates at up to 200 cycles/min and will enable Skyline to produce sewn products from multiple books as small as 75x120mm up to untrimmed A3 sized products.

A double-signature extracting gripper is said to ease the removal of large sizes even when using lightweight paper or floppy signatures. Four infeed transport belts smooth the transport of larger signatures.

Quinn said: “As a trade binder we need to be flexible. We pride ourselves on being able to produce virtually anything that customers want finishing.

“The new Aster will handle a broad range of sewn work at high speed. And with the fast makeready it will help maintain our speed of turnaround while maintaining a top product quality.”

Kolbus UK managing director Robert Flather said: “It is encouraging to see the increase in demand for high-quality sewn products.

“The installation of this new Aster sewer at Skyline underlines this trend and we are pleased to be involved in the expansion of their extensive trade binding service”.

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