The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 18, Number 3
Jul 1994

Books on Demand Symposium

A Report by Gary Frost

The first annual Books on Demand Symposium, sponsored by Xerox Corporation and LBS Bookbinding Components, took place June 11-12 in the Des Moines Convention Center.

Library binding is the ultimate "on-demand" industry. Not only is the business based on speedy turnaround, but the product exemplifies manufacturing for the "ultra short run" and a "market segmentation of one." This convergence was emphasized by Greg Campbell as he spoke to 200 book production entrepreneurs at the Xerox/LBS Books on Demand symposium.

The program continued with speakers on "Industry Trends in On-Demand Publishing," "Emerging Technologies in On-Demand Book Production" and on "Emerging Technologies in On-Demand Binding," a panel on "Adhesive Technology" and a presentation on elements of production of "Custom Texts." The second day provided concurrent workshops on "Binding Technology" and "Adhesive Technology" and on "Low Volume Book Binding."

The heart of the symposium was the roll-out and demonstration of new equipment and systems for short run, on-demand book production. These ranged from desk-top sheet binders to a complete DocuTech installation with adhesive bind and trim accessories. The program provided many hours to gain a useful knowledge of these systems.[1]

New equipment at Des Moines included the Challenge DocuTrim, the Mekatronics Mekabind double-fan binder and the OtaBind/RepKover related equipment by Planax North America.

The Challenge DocuTrim 3-cut guillotine, designed for use with copier texts, is a wonderful design that turns the machine around to provide a loading face behind the clamp and knife. A swiveling clamp positions the three edges to their cuts as activated by keyed-in instructions. The completely new Mekatronics stand-alone double fan machine looks perfect for automation of a hand fanning station. It is fully motorized with automatic adhesive application. It is a quiet, well-built machine with excellent safety features.

The relevance of the OtaBind/RepKover binding-related equipment is more in the future. A reinforced version of this proprietary binding structure, which would feature double fan adhesion and a laminated, heavier cover, could have a major effect not only in the short-run market, but in the library binding market as well. At the moment the short-run OtaBind/RepKover equipment by Planax is not well adapted to the library bindery setting, since its grinder/in-line adhesion station is inappropriate. While the Otabind represents the wave of the future in edition binding and lay-flat book construction, the adaptation of this type to double fan work is still in development.

A feature of another short-run binding system by Flesher Corporation is contact adhesive endpapers. Imaginative library binders could use these endpapers, made by LBS, to start down the track toward development of a "waterless" binding process. In short-run work the contact ends would also eliminate moisture effects on thin texts.

Large market and social forces are driving the short-run, books-on-demand trend. Photocopiers are at the center of this trend, providing production means to everyone and permitting widespread familiarity with capture and conversion of content and unique compilations of information. Now new binding systems are needed to permit the production of durable and elegant books from the copier "pages."

For more information on the symposium contact LBS, Box 1413, Des Moines, IA 50305, 800/247-5323.

1. The equipment suppliers that exhibited included LBS Bookbinding Components, Planax North America, Flesher Corporation, BCI/Book Covers Inc., Xerox Corporation, Channel Bind, The Davey Company, Mekatronics Inc., James Burns International, Powis-Parker Inc., GBC, Challenge and Holliston.

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