Imprint Digital has installed a Horizon HT-1000V three-knife trimmer and BQ-470 four-clamp perfect binder to keep up with its customers' desire for increasingly shorter runs.
Exeter-based print subsidiary of book publisher Imprint Academic, the firm took delivery of the two new machines from Intelligent Finishing Systems (IFS) in November 2017 in an effort to “futureproof” the business against its customers’ constantly evolving requirements.
The new BQ-470 binder is a like-for-like replacement of an older machine and will run inline with the HT-1000V trimmer, which replaces an HT-80.
“Run lengths for our orders are getting shorter, averaging around 200-250 books,” said production manager Adam Roppert. “Our customers are small-to-medium sized, established publishers and sometimes independent authors. We have been able to do really short runs like five or 10 books before, but these new machines prepare us more for the possibility.
“We are expected to handle book sizes from A6 up to A4 landscape, and everything in between, and the HT-1000V’s quick set-up means we can chop and change in 30 seconds, rather than 10-15 minutes like on the old system.
“Currently, no one is really asking us for book of one production, but it is not out of the question – though the cost would be quite high. Our new systems give us the reliability and consistency of new machinery, which was the main thing we wanted for our customers.”
The BQ-470 can bind 1,350 books per hour at up to 65mm thickness, boasting fully automated set-up through an LCD touchscreen. It is suited for mid-range softback book production.
Imprint Digital is also looking to expand its hardback offering, according to Roppert, with a new machine set for installation expected in the next month.
The firm's team of 10 staff can all run a multitude of machines, which Roppert describes as a “lean, quick” operation. New hires are not currently planned, though Roppert said Imprint would “see how the work goes” with the new machines before deciding.
Its printing kit includes two Canon Océ Varioprint mono presses, and three Konica Minolta digital colour presses. The circa-£1m turnover firm’s finishing capabilities include laminating, single-clamp binding, inline casing, and two Polar guillotines – a 76 and a 66.