Made in India: Megabound Active Dual Plus case-maker
The case-maker is an essential piece of equipment for a converter, even in the packaging industry, N Srinivasa Reddy, director-marketing, Megabound, explains to Rahul Kumar
27 Feb 2019 | By Rahul Kumar
The Active Dual Plus automatic case-maker is one of the star products of Megabound, the manufacturer of complete hard-case solutions for the books binding industry in India. Based in Bengaluru, the company was co-founded by N Srinivasa Reddy in 2001. Reddy says each month the company sells at least five Active Dual Plus kits.
The machine can be used to manufacture diaries, table-top calendars, boxes for packaging, book covers, exam pads and other products that need outer side hard. A printer can use this case-maker for window packaging boxes, especially for readymade garment and cloth industries.
Megabound developed the machine seven years back on the demand of its existing customers. Earlier, most of the processes would be manual, but now it is fully automatic and two operators can easily operate the machine.
The company has so far installed around 400 machines in India, and in the neighbouring countries. There are some installations in the US as well. Of these, 300 machines are installed in India.
“We install around 50 Active Dual Plus annually,” Reddy says. “We have observed that in the last two years, the demand for the case-maker has increased and so does the number of installations.”
Reddy insists that being an Indian manufacturer, the company has developed the machine for Indian circumstances, as Indian board does not work on all the machines. “We have developed this machine for board programme. We have changed the programme,” he says.
The machine can also be used for packaging boxes with a window to show the product. Reddy says in Mumbai, many printers are using the machine for window boxes. “We can say that we are the only manufacturer in India for such kind of machine,” he adds.
Making of the case-maker
Launched during Pamex 2011 held at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, the machine had a long and illustrious journey, along the way becoming Megabound’s best product on offer. The company first targeted books printers, diary manufacturers, exercise notebook manufacturers, table-top calendars manufacturers and so on. Now that it can manufacture boxes as well, the company has introduced the machine in the packaging segment as well.
Reddy says while board fixing and turning of the machine is automatic, gluing is usually manual. The company offers automatic gluing as well, but it does drive the price to the higher side. “Without automatic gluing, the price of the machine is half compared to a machine with the automatic gluing line,” he says.
This differentiation works as most converters opt for the machine for its competitive pricing.
Working with automation
Also, the setting time of the machine is only ten minutes. So, anyone can set the machine. Reddy says in other automatic machines, there is a need to set the dummy part too, but not in Megabound Active Dual Plus. There is no need for any setting. Thus, converters can use it for both short- and long-runs. “A printer can do 100 cases as easily as he can do a few thousand and more, without any skilled operator running this machine,” Reddy says.
The machine also works well with variable sizes. This is important because only a few printers in India use board cutters. So in most cases, boards come with size variations and the machine can handle them well.
So, Reddy says, the machine was designed to fulfil three requirements. One, it should be easy to operate without any skill requirement. Two, it should be cost-effective. Three, the production must be fast and precise.
Reddy insists it fulfils all the three requirements, producing 450 cases/ pieces per hour.
Reddy says customers need better finishing. For this, registration is a must. One millimetre of difference can change the shape of the final product. That’s why printers need automatic board registration. “Our automatic registration is precise up to the level of .01 mm +/-. On this machine, we can register inner sheet pasting as well,” he explains.
The machine is equipped with an infesto cylinder. These are magnetic rod censored cylinders for the accuracy of board fixing. The entire machine is manufactured with stainless steel and aluminium to avoid rust because water is being used in glue tank, and also, other liquids are used during the operation. That’s why even the old machines also look young and new, he says.
The machine can handle paper, cloth, rexine, velvet, coated paper, kraft paper and others, except PVC for covers. “In India, this is the only product of its kind and we can say that we are the only manufacturer for such kind of products,” Reddy says.
The company has also introduced screw rod adjustment given for the automatic adjustment. Thus, there is no need to remove any parts in the machine. “Earlier, we used to remove the parts and set it manually, but now, everything is automatic,” he says.
Reddy says the machine has been improved with customers’ suggestions. “We advise the use of gelatine glue and cold glue (optional), but we do not provide any kind of glue to our customers,” he says. The company also provides onsite training for two to three days.
For after-sale services, the company has a direct presence in the cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata and Ahmedabad. Services depend on customers’ locations. “In Delhi, sometimes we provide service within an hour. In any case, we offer a solution for the problem within 24 hours,” Reddy says.
This may be one of the reasons why the company gets more from its existing customers. Around 80% of its customers have more than three machines.
“When I visit a customer, I focus on how they use the material, how they prepare the material, how they start the machine, and so on. This is because just a machine cannot offer quality. Preparation before production is equally important,” he says.
Working on the Active Dual Plus
All the operations are executed by the operator seated in front of the machine. The operator passes the cover material into the gluing unit where it receives an even coating of hot gelatin glue. Utilising foot switches, the operator controls the air suction plate for perfect registration of the cover material. By the use of suction bars, the Active Dual Plus automatically places the board pieces accurately on to the cover material.
Turning in of the cover material on all four edges takes place in only two passes of the case. This process is enhanced by the use of brushes and pressing rollers. An added benefit is that the Active Dual Plus model can also handle cases with a central window cut-out for photo albums production. At this point, the working process is completed and the final product is delivered to the rear of the machine on an inclined delivery table.
After gluing, only placing the board on the paper takes place. Boards come automatically as per the registration. It fixes automatically and the next process is turning unit. In turning unit, it has six varieties of programmes, to handle both lower grammage and higher grammage paper and board.