Deanprint is the second business in as many months to invest in a new Aster sewer, and for the Stockport business it is a second investment in sewing this year.
In February the company bought a Smyth Magnum which enables it to improve production of over size lay flat books. Now the Aster takes this to another level of productivity. It is also a further mark of the growing interest in sewing as a differentiator from perfect binding.
“We have had an old Aster and old Muller Martini, both from the 1980s,” says Deanprint production director Kevin Lee. “We wanted to be able to handle A3 portrait sketch books automatically which we could not do before.
"This now speeds up the whole process and gives us a far better range of sizes. We reckon the new Aster will run three times the speed of the old machines and is going to be very good for us.”
Even larger books, A3 landscape for example, can be produced on the Smyth Magnum, the first of these machines to reach the UK. “We’ve found that over the last 18 month interest in larger format case bound books has increased and that other trade finishers can struggle with them, which means that it becomes a growth area for us,” he explains.
Covers can be drawn on using the Wohlenberg Quickbinder which, supplied by Friedheim International, was one of the first investments as Deanprint renews key pieces of production equipment. It reckons to have spent more than £1 million in the four years since a management buyout. “Next year we will need a new folding machine and then we will have replaced all the bits we need.”
“There’s a definite change in the air,” says Robert Flather, managing director of supplier Kolbus UK. “Quality is driving demand for these machines, and most sewers that trade binders and printers have had are now uneconomic.”
While the thread stitching aspect has not changed, modern machines enjoy the latest electronics and better built cam boxes which means they are better able to run at specified speeds on a greater range of stock, Flather explains. “As a consequence you get the consistency that gives higher outputs.”
The Aster Pro52 runs at 200 cycles a minute, includes computer controlled thread cutting to protect the spine and has a 520mm saddle.
In contrast to the latest technology in the sewer itself, folded sections to feed the machine are gathered on a Sulby line.
Books finished in this way can then have covers drawn on using the company's Wohlenberg QuickBinder.