Bound to Last
"Our customers really wanted something that worked better with the equipment," Mauritz adds. "The equipment goes back and forth along the spine about four times and the strength holds the character of the spine."
Bridgeport National Bindery, another convert to the Nylon Stretch material, previously used a stretch lining that was also woven but didn't have either the strength or the stretch. "It was okay; it was fair and it was the best thing on the market," says Jim Larsen, Bridgeport's president. "Our customer base is varied and that is one of the difficulties [we find] in furnishing product. We are first and foremost a library binder, but we have diversified into producing hard cover bindings for the print-on-demand book market.
"[Nylon Stretch] works well for that product and for the library market. We also rebind classroom texts, and this product shines in that segment of the our business as well."
Altering the technology that makes a better, stronger book can easily be done without an overhaul of the entire operation. Replacing bindery equipment, however, is seldom done on a whim, although some book makers will install new equipment on a cost analysis basis. The key, of course, is saving money in the long run while improving efficiency or quality. "If a new piece of equipment can help us and the cost ratio is good, then we'll do it," says Wert. "There are people [within the industry] who look at new machines all the time."
Currently in the prototype stages are systems that help the on-demand and short-run market produce books with zero make-ready, effectively manufacturing books more quickly and with a smaller production staff.
"A quicker turnaround is what the market is demanding," says Larsen, "and we need to do it more efficiently than we currently do to hold our cost down. Equipment in the longer-run market is already available to do what I'm asking, but for the on-demand market, the equipment is on the drawing board and not a reality.