TJ INTERNATIONAL HAS REPLACED its entire bindery set up with a £3.5 million investment in Kolbus equipment for its Padstow factory.
The move is a return to Kolbus after an absence of nine years while the book printer has been running Muller Martini in its main bindery and Wohlenberg, supplied by UK agent Friedheim International, in its nearby digital print on demand operation. “Ten years ago Kolbus was number two in terms of technology, now Kolbus is very much number one for the market that we are in,” says CEO Angus Clark.
WHEN THE COMPANY FIRST MOVED to the factory in Padstow it was a Kolbus house, but switched to the Swiss manufacturer at its last upgade. The current change follows a lengthy investigation into suitable binding technology.
The investment will reduce makeready times and through the Kolbus 360 will be receiving and providing production data to the company’s MIS. It will also meet a requirement for high quality cased in books. Clark adds: “An increased drive from clients requiring tangible improvements to the quality of their books has enabled us to buck market trends and commit to an exceptional and truly world-class addition to our armoury.”
THE INVESTMENT WILL PROVIDE additional capacity across the operation to meet publisher demands on both front and back list titles. Set up times on equipment the first equipment to be delivered has already improved says manufacturing director Jon Sole.
“We want to push our ability to offer things others cannot. I am really looking forward to seeing the machinery producing quality products across a diverse range of substrates and sizes. The BF line has been running since mid-June and we’ve already seen an incredible improvement on set-up and make-ready times,” he says.
“This equipment will give us the tools to produce books that are the best in class and not just in the UK. For me it’s all about the product, adding value and looking at how books can evolve and offer more. We enjoy and rise to the challenges of difficult, demanding work as the end results are well worth the effort.”
The case making machinery arrived in mid June. It comprises a BF530 hard cover casing in line, the first of the 70ppm lines to be in operation in the UK; DA 270 case make, PE312 blocker and SU652 jacketing machine feeding into stacking and wrapping equipment.
THE SOFTCOVER LINE, COMPRISING A 20 station ZU 822 gatherer, VA423 and sheet feeder and gluer, KM600 binder with both hot melt and PUR adhesive, FA650 front cutting unit, HD143P three knife trimmer ahead of the stacker and wrapper. The last piece to enter full production ten days ago was the KM600, able to run at 7,000 cycles an hour.
“This has been a huge investment,” says Clark. “Our focus is firmly on the bindery. While production runs have remained pretty much the same, from 1,600-1,700 ten years ago to 1,200-1,300 now, reducing set up times is very important. It’s all about reducing makeready ready for shorter runs.”
THE FINISHING AREA HAS ALSO GAINED an additional guillotine with installation of a Polar N 137 Plus, specified to cut cloth and colour sections. This joins an existing Polar N 137 and will ease the risks of bottlenecks as volumes of business rise.
The upgrade of the bindery continues a strong run for Kolbus in the UK with installations at Clays earlier this year and at CPI UK ready for the main book production season later this summer.