Binding is no longer about speed—it’s about efficiency: How to produce more offset and short-run digital work with less manpower.

Today’s printers and binderies are challenged with shorter offset run lengths and growing digital work. How can such different needs be finished efficiently—while reducing manpower? The highly innovative full automation and touchless workflow capabilities found in Muller Martini’s modern Alegro perfect binder delivers optimum utilization of the production line, resulting in more product produced in less time with less labor.


How can the Alegro achieve such unprecedented results? It reduces the time the binder is not running to a minimum, thereby optimizing its efficiency. The system keeps the binder running and uses the digital capability of the line to produce short run digital without stops. And, by keeping the line running it can simultaneously perform make-ready for offset work or pre-gather for sewing work.


Muller Martini’s new separating element and timed-infeed between binder and gatherer enables the binder to do a complete offset makeready by running setup stock through the reject gate, at the same time running digital work without interruption. When the gatherer is ready, the new offset job is programmed via the Book Data Center (BDC), and the machine is ready to run offset signatures while the next batch of digital jobs is prepared.


Here is a real-world example of how this process works:


With today’s new offset presses, automation can drive offset runs down to 1,500, yet no other work can be produced during that time.  The modern Alegro changes that.


In our experience walking the floor and talking with operators, total production for an eight-hour shift is typically six jobs and 10,000 books per shift.  Allowing a 60-minute make-ready on a conventional binder and 20 minutes to run a 1,500-offset job, the binder operator is performing makeready (MR) for one hour, running for 20 minutes, performing MR for an hour, running for 20 minutes, and so on.


In contrast, the Alegro reduces MR by 50% through automation. So, taking the above example, MR now takes 30 minutes, and the run still takes 20. Total production would be 9.6 jobs and 14,400 books (+60%).  And the Alegro can add even further efficiencies. It can fill in that 30-minute MR by running one digital job of 500 while operators load the gatherer with paper. That would result in the production of an additional 4,800 books per shift for a total increase of 113% per shift over what’s been achieved in the past with a less efficient platform.


Moreover, multiple digital jobs can be run without any machine adjustments when the Alegro is in fully automatic and touchless digital mode, filling the available time between offset jobs to achieve maximum productivity.


In an upcoming blog, we’ll discuss how the Alegro’s touchless workflow can produce—uninterrupted—short digital work with varying thickness and format sizes in a fully automated mode.

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