A seven-clamp solution for your book

Print publishing is at crossroads. It has become pertinent to automate. The obvious reason is: eliminating bottleneck and improve the efficacy on the shopfloor. Print technologist, Priya Raju looks at Welbound’s seven-clamp PUR ready perfect binder.

05 Apr 2017 | By Priya Raju

The Indian book printer seeking short to medium runs, with multiple gluing options and requirements of quick turnarounds have always found it difficult to pick the “perfect” perfect binder. Either speeds are insufficient or change-over time is painfully long or the gluing options are limited. WB2500 – the seven clamp perfect binder from Made in India, Welbound seems to be addressing these challenges.


Pallipuram Sajith, director of Welbound Worldwide says, ‘We are seeing three trends, Replacement of an older machine, and book firms that seek a sturdy Indian solution for production, and finally, printers who are bringing binding in-house.” When asked why in-house, Pallipuram says, “This allows printers to retain control of their own work instead of subcontracting. There were occasions where a firm was spending lakhs per month on perfect binding, with no control over quality or delivery.”

He feels, “The Welbound seven-clamp has a lot more capacity and functionality on it and it will enable a bindery unit to turnaround more work. We can now collate and bind longer runs in-house that we would have traditionally put out, which has allowed us to bring our costs down and be more competitive.”

Indian book industry in a good shape
Are printed books destined to eventually join the ranks of clay tablets, scrolls and typewritten pages?

The Economist and BBC, media behemoths who have pushed the digital envelope in the past decade are saying, no.

The USD 132bn world book publishing market is defending the fortress in spite of the theories of doom and gloom.

The India Book Market Report released by Nielsen at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2016 states that the value of the print book market in India, including book imports, is USD 3.9bn and put the compound annual growth rate of the market at 20.4% between 2011–12 and 2014–15, with about 9,000 publishers in India.

The study calculates that 55% of trade sales are of books in English. Books in Hindi account for 35% of the balance, i.e., the Indian language sales.

Of the total publishing market, educational segment holds a significant share and plays a crucial role. A growing literacy rate, estimated to reach 90% in 2020, government spends on education, digital initiatives, and outsourcing of publishing services to India, are all identified as the strengths of the Indian publishing industry

The report says that the educational book market in India is projected to grow at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 19.6% and will reach Rs 541.9 billion by 2019-20. According to the report, the K–12 market (school books) has grown from Rs 63bn in 2007-08 to Rs 186bn in 2013-14. Higher education book sales have grown in this period from Rs 16bn to Rs 56bn.

The spur in growth has resulted in the increase in the volume of book produces and at the same time in a shorter lead time for the print firms in India. In a recent round-table conducted by PrintWeek India, Henkel and Welbound, for book publishers and book print CEOs, one of the key takeaways was that it is important to look at the total value chain instead of only the cost aspect. The key take-away from the discussion was: how one can improve efficiency in the entire supply chain.

Efficacy of post-press
Print publishing is at crossroads. Today, it is pertinent for book printers to invest in a dedicated binding machine to finish the large volume of books and eliminate the bottleneck.

In India, thread-sewing is a bottleneck in book production. Even the fastest of sewing machines take four hours to produce 2,000 books of 20 signatures, which with a seven clamp perfect binder can be done in one hour. Also, PUR technology is gaining traction in India and could be a good solution to replace all sewn paperbacks to save time and to improve quality and bind multi-substrate products.

It is to address this market, Welbound introduced the WB 2500 a seven-clamp PUR-ready perfect binder. Sajith Pallipuram, director of Welbound, says, “Considering the positive trend towards adoption of PUR, we felt that there was a need in the market to introduce a perfect binder, which can enable a print firm to opt for PUR in future and enable to interchange the glue tank when needed.”

“This need gave birth to the WB 2500 seven-clamp machine,” adds Pallipuram.

A seven-clamp solution for books
“The medium speed adhesive binder employs all the technologies in gluing - water based, hot melts and PUR.” He adds, “The binder is a one stop solution - be it for technology, quality or speed. This will also have options for quick change over and will have minimal manpower requirement,” he explains.

WB 2500 binder equipped with seven clamps, and with a cover feed options of size 25-inch. This enables a book printer to produce oblong sized books like coffee table books, etc online.

The machine can be operated at variable speeds of up to 2,500 books per hour. When a book is bound with PUR, a different handling method is required post the application of glue. The WB2500 comes with a vertical stacker which gives the required waiting time for PUR to initiate the curing process, without manual handling. The interesting thing is the entire operation requires only one operator, unlike in traditional perfect binders. This assures every book is handled with care and can be placed standing on the spine. The proficient delivery system – a combination of down-hill and vertical stack ensures that books bound with cold glue or PUR do not have covers shifting.

The Welbound 2500 comes with two versions – a standard electromechanical version that is robust and ideally suited for the requirement of commercial printers and book binders who have high run length.

Whereas, the WB 2500 – 7E version is a book-on-demand avatar that allows complete job change-over at the touch of a button. There are multiple milling options, connectivity to a book block feeder, glue pot on the wheels – that can be rolled in and out, flat pile cover feeder with adjustable crease widths and depths and the moving cam type cover nipper that produces squarely nipped books.

Pallipuram says, “The machine is indigenous innovation built by us and our customer response has been optimistic. The seven-clamp binder can be custom built and offers flexibility for printers as per their requirements.”

For example, one can opt for either open glue tank or a nozzle type from either Nordson or from Welbound. Depending on the requirements, tank with capacities of 2kg, 20kg or 180kg can be opted for.

What we think
This medium speed, versatile binder fills the void between single clamp binders and high speed inline binding solutions – by providing the right mix of throughputs, floor space, and investments (or the returns).