HPM Group has invested nearly 500,000 in a Muller Martini Pantera 1577 perfect binding line with a Merit S three-knife trimmer in response to print buyers increasingly switching from stitched to premium glued products.
HPM managing director Richard Mortimer said the company first noticed an increasing demand for perfect bound products around three years ago, which led it to invest in a 20-year-old Muller Martini Panda perfect binder at the time.
However, the shift from saddle stitching has been so substantial that he decided to bring in a new Pantera in August to replace the Panda.
HPM's work mix includes a number of football programmes for Premiership clubs including Sunderland and Liverpool, many of which have switched to perfect bound finishing in the past few years.
The Newton Aycliffe-based company will keep its Presto saddle stitcher, but Mortimer said the perceived value and quality of perfect bound products that could be produced on the Pantera was bringing in greater revenues and new customers.
He said: "We planned to work it on single shifts until Christmas and then move to 16-hour double shifts in the New Year.
"But it has gone far better than that and is already working a two-shift system."
According to Mortimer, demand for work from the Pantera, which can handle PUR and hotmelt glue and produce up to 4,000 books per hour, has come from trade binders and HPM’s higher end customers, such as the pensions market and corporate client’s annual reports.
Mortimer said that he expects his current £4.25m turnover to increase by £500,000 by the end of 2012, and hopes for a further £500,000 additional revenue in 2013.
Mortimer said he planned to look at investing in further equipment to join the Pantera in HPM’s factory at the beginning of the new tax year.