28 November 2018 Finishing

Finishing is vital to success for Bluetree

In addition to the press itself, Bluetree Group needs the technology around it to be equally slick and equally effective.

This means the Tecnau handling systems that deliver the paper into Bluetree's Sceen TruepressJet lines and collect it after, and it means the Horizon equipment to process printed sheets into stitched booklets and perfect bound books. As with the press, Bluetree wanted to work with a partner it trusted, in this case IFS.

IFS had already supplied three StitchLiner MkIIIs to the company to handle litho sheets. It now has five. The systems have proved reliable, versatile in terms of format and substrate, and are automated enough to make ready at the push of a button for almost instant set up from job data accessed through the barcode. This also helps track progress of the job and ensures its integrity.

Likewise the BQ480 four-clamp perfect binder was a known package. Bluetree has had a BQ470, so the step to the more automated machine linked to an HT1000V three-knife trimmed, was logical.

The BQ480 can cope with book of one production, switching in seconds between books of different lengths and thicknesses with measurements gained automatically.

Jason Seaber, technical director of IFS, says: “Bluetree is very much about fast turnaround. As everything has to go through finishing it could become a bottleneck, which is where they need automation.”

The Tecnau is somewhat different. The Italian manufacturer is specialist in handling systems for continuous feed web printing. It has taken this into its own book production lines. It has also developed a zero speed placer for digital web presses.

This will take away the down time spent replacing a reel when it it has run out by switching instantly to a new reel, much like a web offset press. In the digital world this unit could enable a printer to switch between different types or weights of paper to cope with multiple short run jobs says Harm Jan Hulleman, sales director for central Europe, UK and Middle East.

“We have a wide portfolio of solutions around digital print,” he says. “Our ideas tend to come from customers and we will work with them to develop the products printers need.”

One of these developments is key to Bluetree. The ability to cut to different lengths and change this on the fly is well established and has helped Tecnau to its market leading position.

Now after sheeting, it has developed a soft touch gripper to control the sheet into the delivery, much like the stacker on an offset press. It replaces a system of belts used to transport the paper with a no mark solution.

As inkjet moves into commercial printing with greater levels of ink coverage, the ability to move the paper in this way will be vital.

“We have previously sold into transactional and book printers. That market is there but it is not really growing and is no longer the biggest segment. Today digital print in the graphic arts is the biggest segment for us,” he says. “The gripper means that customers can run a wide range of media, including coated stock with heavy ink coverage.”

This requirement came up in the detailed presale conversations says Seaber, leading to the specifications of the Horizon finishing technology and for the Tecnau technology.

Adam Carnell says the choice for Tecnau was influenced by IFS and “the credit you give to the company that is world market leader in the transactional world”.

And for Hulleman the appeal is equally succinct. “Customers like Bluetree are the customers of the future – and we need to be part of that.”

Gareth Ward

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Adam Carnell

Adam Carnell

Bluetree's Adam Carnell says the choice for Tecnau was influenced by IFS and “the credit you give to the company that is world market leader in the transactional world”.

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