The Alice in Wonderland story begins with a picnic on a riverbank near Oxford. Alice tumbles down a rabbit hole and has encounters with various odd characters. It is a tale that has inspired many ever since. The latest is Perfect Bindery Solutions, which used the story as a peg for its open house to demonstrate production of personalised presentation boxes.
Each visitor received a box, their name in foil on top, containing a case bound book, pack of playing cards which was produced Ivory Graphics before the show, recipe for scones written by Letterbot in Swindon and a tea bag. Everything, tea bag excepted, was produced within the PBS premises.
It began with 3D design by Four Pees, creating the box, showing the carton for the playing cards and the inlays which would hold everything in place. The process can be almost fully automated to enable a customer to fit artwork to a template, approve and sign off the job which is then sent as a print ready PDF to whatever is the most suitable output device.
The software was also able to make late adjustments to the box design after the first concept had to be edited because the design for the lid was larger than the Konica Minolta press could cope with. It was a matter of moments to recalculate the sizes, saving hours of trial and error over a hand drawn design.
The design of the box lid was rather more conventional. As each visitor popped through the door, VPress sales director Kelvin Bell, like Alice’s caterpillar, stopped the visitors and tapped their name into the Coreprint web to print software to edit the artwork. Each personalised file was passed to a KM digital press to print on a blue Winter & Co covering. The black-only image was then fed through a Matrix metallic digital foiler which applied a gold foil on the image printed in black toner.
Then it was on to the lid production process. An IML grooving machine was used to cut away the areas where the board would fold in at the last step in the process. Next the corners were cut from the grooved board and shaped the cover material, the corners taped then the foiled cloth covering glued to the board blank.
The final step was the pulling together of the lid, wrapping the cloth into its final place and delivering the lid ready to be united with the base of the box.
The IML semi automatic device for this had a bespoke forming block the same size as the inside dimensions of the lid. Once the glued cover and board blank were fed into place, the block pushed down, the sides came up and the cloth was wrapped into place and applied in a smooth motion.
Within a few minutes and metres, a personalised box lid was ready to complete the gift box. The Queen of Hearts, aka Julia Giddins, collected the different items to fill the gift while Mad Hatter daughter Hannah Giddins had been working on material preparation and cutting the corners.
The concept for the day had been her idea and it was carried through in costumes worn by the hosts and in the material each visitor departed with. This included a recipe for tea time scones ‘written’ by Letterbot, a robot device holding a Parker fountain pen. The lay flat cased in book had been printed on the Konica Minolta machine a few days earlier and bound beforehand by Precision Printing with sheets for the cover, soft laminated by Vivid and then enhanced by MGI digital spot varnish and cased in on Schmedt’s new entry level use binding system, with head and tail banding.
It includes additional content accessed via the Konica Minolta Genarate augmented reality technology where scanning a page or point on that page opens the way to additional content, a video or form, for example.
“By the end of the second day, we had handed out 68 boxes,” says managing director Steve Giddins, “and have had to make up more boxes for the last day and to send to those that weren’t able to make it.” The challenge, he says, is that because the idea of semi automated box production is new, few will have seen it to recognise that there could be an opportunity to expand and diversify their business. That opportunity lies between the manual production of presentation boxes, a slow and skilled process and the automation of a Kolbus which requires huge volumes and equally large amount of space.
The IML box wrapper can run at 15 boxes a minute with manual feed and removal of the finished box. One customer in the UK, Steve Giddins says, is producing 15,000 boxes a month and has topped 1 million in a year. These can be up to 460x350x120mm deep at a maximum, 80x65x10mm minimum.
By Gareth Ward
Steve Giddins donned costume to welcome visitors to the Perfect Bindery Solutions open house to demonstrate the impact of IML's box wrapper for rapid production of bespoke presentation boxes.