Bound to Last
The wheel is one of the greatest inventions of mankind. Centuries old, its shape and function have changed little. Better technologies have come along-wood, steel, rubber,&031;-making the wheel increasingly more useful but still resembling the chiseled rock seen in a BC comic strip.
Though not quite as old, a similar transition is affecting the book manufacturing industry. Today, binderies face the challenge of finding new ways to improve older technologies and equipment to make them run more efficiently without adding to the bottom line. Adhesives, binding materials and equipment have all evolved to keep up with new paper products and customer demand, but books are still manufactured with spines and covers; methods used for decades.
"As far as new technologies that have arisen in the binding world, there hasn't been anything new that says we're going to bind books this way from now [on]," says Matthew Reindl of Reindl Bindery. He also reports that some of the new coatings and stocks used by book manufacturers have made it necessary to employ new adhesives. "We've gone to a lot of pressure sensitive adhesives, which we've been using for about five years. They have the ability to stay tacky and have a better flexibility than what we've used in the past."
A longer lasting hold
In addition to supplying binderies with adhesives that support the evolution of paper stock, suppliers also look at ways to make books last longer, which couldn't be more critical than for those binderies that serve the library market. Libraries pressure their binderies to produce books that are extremely durable so that the Encyclopedia Britannica collection will hold up over many years and the cover of a Curious George children's book will still be intact when it's checked out for the hundredth time.
"In library binding the goal is definitely quality. Our overriding sense is to make a book for the ages, and we're trying to get them to material that was satisfactory, but we were looking for something that offered a bit more stretch and strength. Specifically for rounding and backing," says Rob Mauritz, vice president of sales for LBS. "What we found was a material that would place nylon in the fill direction so that you would have nylon going in one direction and a cotton blend in the other. When we round-and-back the spine of the book the material stretches and does not split.