What does it do?
The Ibis Smart-binder Plus HS is a British-made high-speed wire/glue saddle binder for digital print, producing either wire-stitched or cold-glued books and sections. It can run either inline with a high-speed digital web press or in near-line configuration with pile or roll-to-sheet feeders.
When was it launched and who is it aimed at?
The latest HS iteration has been launched this month, with performance and reliability enhancements to keep up with the fastest digital web presses. Target markets are digital press users that need a high-speed, heavy-duty saddle-binder that can run 24/7 to make booklets and publications.
How does it differ from previous models?
The original Smart-binder was launched in 2005, developed out of the Digi-stitcher DS2, the company’s first model from 1999. The revised Smart-binder Plus was launched at Drupa in 2012. Some 110 Smart-binders have been installed worldwide, with the first HS deliveries due this summer.
The new HS model takes the additional features of last year’s Plus and increases maximum input speed to 24,000sph and output to 7,000 1-up 10mm-thick booklets per hour, or 14,000 2-up. Reliability of the trimmer is also improved. According to John Cracknell, managing director of Ibis, the HS can keep up with the fastest digital presses so far announced. It will run inline with presses up to 130m/min with the standard folder. With additional folders it can run at at least 200m/min. The folder handles a minimum of four sheets, meaning fewer potential blank pages than a restriction to eight-page sections.
How does it work?
The Smart-binder line takes digitally printed sheets (in collated order) from a pile feed or directly from an inline printer with sheeter. Covers can be fed separately. The sheets are folded on the saddle then gathered into sets that pass under the stitching heads. They drop into the collector for the trimmer, which adjusts on the fly for different thicknesses. Finally they go onto a delivery conveyor. Barcode tracking is standard for data integrity. There’s provision for JDF and other connectivity to MIS.
What’s its USP?
Cracknell says that "talking about a USP" for Smart-binders is limiting, as the machine has several unique features. In particular there’s the patented individual sheet gluing (ISG) option. This puts dots of PVA adhesive on the fold line, before folding and anvil pressing, to create glued sections without wire stitching. These close flatter than wire-stitched sections.
Another USP is the downward-angled gravity-assisted collector for the trimmer that adjusts between thicknesses on the fly to support personalised items, which can be tracked by barcodes.
The range is also highly customisable, says Cracknell. The SB-2 base configuration has wire stitching only, while the SB-3 adds the ISG gluing unit. Other options include a buckle folder, plough folder, high-speed collator, and edge trimmer (with optional centre trim). The SB-4 adds an inline perfect binder for use with ISG, with a choice of single- or four-clamp units. SB-5 has a shared input/feed that can send sheets to either the Smart-binder or a separate perfect binder.
What training is available and how easy is it to use?
Set-up, using the touchscreen control station, is easy says Ibis, who provide training for operators and maintenance engineers.
With such a wide range of options it’s hard to give a definitive price, but a basic SB-2 wire-only system for inline operation costs from £120,000.