09 March 2014 Printing/Print Company Profiles

Bell & Bain scores further first with move to hardbacks

Glasgow book printer gets the first in the UK of Muller Martini's automatic, no waste casing machines

BELL & BAIN HAS PLACED ORDERS for the finishing equipment to underpin its move into case bound books. The company is buying an Acoro binding line and Diamant MC casing in line from Muller Martini and a Horauf case maker as it makes a move over the next few months.

The Acoro A7, being supplied by Bindery Machinery Services, arrives within weeks. It has been sourced from a company in the centre of Sweden and is a very lightly used machine says Jim Brown, managing director of BMS. The Diamant MC, which will be the first in the UK, arrives later in the summer. "We are the best softcover binder," says chief executive Stephen Docherty, "now we aim to be the best hardcover binder."

THE DIAMANT MC IS DESIGNED for producing ultra short run books with minimal loss of set up time. It will produce a book of one without waste says Docherty. There are two head banding units, one in operation, the other being made ready so there is no need to stop production. Adjustments to trim width and length are made automatically. Pressure on the forming irons to form the spine is automatic as is adjustment on the pressing clamps and the rounding operation. The result is a book produced mechanically which can stand alongside a handmade book.

The order for the Diamant MC was confirmed at the end of last month. Location for the case binding line has still to be decided, between its existing factory or the new unit in Glasgow that the company has acquired this year. Bell & Bain already operates an Allegro for its soft cover binding and burst binding for casebound work that has been sent out.

HOWEVER, THE QUALITY RETURNED HAS not always been up to scratch says chief executive Stephen Docherty. Few offer proper rounding of the book, something that the Diamant has no problem with. “Rounding is a skill that has been lost, but customers want it,” he says. “It is taking away the real skill that is needed to produce a case bound book. This is a mind boggling machine and I think I’m more excited about this machine than buying the 4/4 KBA.”

Before placing the order Docherty and production director Karen Bailie produced 30 sets of five different sized cases on the Horauf machine, taking these to Muller Martini. “There was no waste. We had digitally printed books and burst bound books - the machine had never handled burst binding before - and it sailed through, the first one off was saleable.” Both produced books on the machine in just a few minutes having no previous experience of making casebound books.

THE INVESTMENT COMES HARD ON THE of the installation of the first Fuji W540 inkjet web press in Europe which arrived towards the end of last year. The company has encountered the inevitable settling in issues, particularly with regard to finding the most suitable paper. Docherty is standing by his claim that the Fuji produces the best quality of any inkjet web press. It runs to a Muller Martini Sigmaline for softcover production. Now it can use the same production line to produce hardcover books.

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Bell & Bain directors Tony Campbell, Karen Baillie and Stephen Docherty expanding into hard backs.

Bell & Bain directors Tony Campbell, Karen Baillie and Stephen Docherty expanding into hard backs.