Ashgate Automation has launched its new KF-640 large-format bookletmaker, which it says is less than half the price of similar machines on the market.
Manufactured by KAS Paper Systems and distributed exclusively in the UK by Oxon, Oxfordshire-based Ashgate, the machine will be given its official launch at Ipex, which opens tomorrow (31 October) at the NEC in Birmingham, and will then become commercially available in the new year. Pricing is set at around £16,000, which Ashgate managing director Lewis Price said compares to between £40,000 to £50,000 for rival, more highly automated machines.
The KF-640 is supplied with the KF-640T inline trimmer as standard.
Taking a maximum sheet size of 640x320mm, which means SRA2 sheets will not require pre-trimming, and running at speeds of up to 1,500bph, the machine is said by Ashgate to be the first of its kind to be able to produce 320x320mm squareback booklets.
Price said the strength of the new product lies in its ability to take 640mm width sheets, allowing it to take advantage of new extendable feeders on digital printers from the likes of Konica Minolta, Ricoh and Xerox.
“The catalyst was working with digital print providers,” said Price.
“We’ve sold bookletmakers for 30 years now so we know the market fairly well in the small digital format and our customers over the past two years have been asking a lot for this larger sheet size. In the past it was exclusively for litho but now digital seems to have taken that on and it’s a real boom and we’ve been inundated."
Available for configuration with a Kasfold Squarefold 104 squarefold unit, the bookletmaker can be sold separately to the trimmer and comes configured with a high capacity stacker. It has 44 gauge staple heads, a pro-clench flat clenched staple system and a high speed fold knife system to eliminate marking, along with optional configuration of a loop stapling modification.
“It’s going to be a real coup and something we’ve strived for for a while and having been involved in the research and production it seems like it will tick a lot of boxes," added Price.