Shivalal Agarwala and Company to improve quality with Impel page-pull tester

Agra-based education books publisher Shivalal Agarwala and Company have added a portable page-pull testing machine developed by Impel Services, a Welbound group company.

27 Jun 2018 | By Sriraam Selvam

Vivek Mohan Agrawal with the page pull tester from Impel-Welbound

“We always strived to provide quality content at an affordable cost so that it helps the rural Indian student to further his or her educational dreams. We use the best of authors, raw materials and produce books that not only help them understand subjects like force or friction but also stand the test of time,” said Vivek Mohan Agarwal, the second-generation entrepreneur who manages the complete end-to-end production facility of Shivalal Agarwala and Company.

Established in 1940, some of the company’s early titles were authored by luminaries like Dr Rajendra Prasad, Dr S Radhakrishnan and Jadunath Sarkar. The company turned its attention to educational publishing and focused on the large market of the Hindi heartland. Currently, they publish more than 500 titles for school education, across various syllabi and are considered leaders in the Madhya Pradesh market.

“Despite employing the best of material, machines and process, there could be a few complaints from the market – and we are very sensitive to such issues. The brand Shivalal is built on highest levels of quality expected by the teachers and students. We could not find a way to address this. Sometimes these issues were traced back to a machine setting like a slightly blunt notching tool etc and it is not possible to identify these issues with visual inspection. We do try to pull a few pages from here and there, but that is not scientific. When M Suresh Nair, our bookbinding guru and a member of the Welbound family called me to introduce the page pull tester developed by them, I agreed to buy one right away,” said Agarwal.

The portable device enables a better understanding of the variables associated with bookbinding operation and confirms the effectiveness of binding in the book.

According to bookbinding expert and Impel’s chief technical officer, Suresh Nair, “In perfect-binding, hot melt adhesive is used to join the book block and the cover ensuring a strong bonding. The efficiency of binding depends on several factors like the quality of spine preparation, consistency of glueing and the quality of adhesive used. The best way to evaluate the combined performance of all these factors is to measure the page-pull value of the bound book.”

“We tested a series of books bound across different machines in our factory with paper and adhesive being the same. We saw some of these books did not make the “good” ranking, and this was traced back to machine settings, including a blunt knife,” explained Agarwal.

Traditionally, page-pull testing equipment had to be imported and was “prohibitively expensive”, thereby only a select few book printers and publishers had access to it. Plus these were bulky equipment. Impel’s page-pull tester is a portable device, which can be dismantled and easily transported to different locations within or outside the premises of a printshop.

Nair designed the device, inspired by  the writings of Tony Clark who had described the page pull testing in detail in "Bookbinding with adhesives"

“The demand for the page pull tester has been highly encouraging. Our aim is not to position this as another machine from our range of bookbinding machines, but as a device that will make the user seek more support from us. It will only be a short period from the acquisition of this testing device that user will drastically reduce their costs of bookbinding – be it related to rejections or over-engineering,” said Pallippuram Sajith, director of Welbound Worldwide.