Publishing, Book On Demand
folded, cut and collated book blocks ready for binding
HP Indigo 7000 Series
HP T230 Inkjet Web Press
HP Indigo W7250
Bridgeport National Bindery’s roots go back to the 1800s and for many years the company’s success came from the library binding and preservation business. “At one time 75 percent of our business was binding periodicals for academic libraries but we saw that work disappearing little by little at a decline of 15 to 20 percent a year ”, said Executive Vice President Bruce Jacobsen, who joined the company full time after college in 1978.
At that time, he estimates that there were 50 library bindery operations in the U.S but today that number has diminished to six or seven. Bridgeport has adapted and embraced new technology. In the early 90s the company moved into the digital marketplace and by the spring of 2004 was producing print on demand books. While Bridgeport still handles work for publishers who have converted parts of their academic titles into print on demand, the company has evolved into a versatile and thriving operation on the cutting edge of the publishing world.
“We’re known for being able to customize our production processes to handle a wide variety of specialty projects for our customers all over the world”, Jacobsen said. “We work for Internet companies, mainstream publishers as well as individuals who write a biography or a church history.”
Currently there are 13 digital print engines operating in their 70,000 square foot facility in Agawam, Mass., where they produce high-end, mostly soft cover black and white and color books and case binding for their diverse and expanded customer base. With an eye toward increasing quality and productivity, six years ago Bridgeport partnered with HP on both sheet and web-fed digital presses and invested in automated bindery equipment from Tecnau, formerly Lasermax Roll Systems, to produce folded, cut and collated book blocks ready for binding.
In 2013, the company produced 15,000 books a day during the peak production period leading up to Christmas and New Year’s. One year later, Jacobsen estimates their capacity has increased to 20,000 books per day.
Bridgeport also realized a 42 percent increase in business volume last year, with a decrease in staffing levels.
“By taking the brute force out of the production cycle – the time it used to take to sort, separate and make the pages bindery ready – the automated finishing equipment has shortened both the printing and binding cycles,” he said.
Bridgeport is the first U.S. customer of Tecnau’s PageReady® OL, which takes large sheets from the company’s HP Indigo 7000 Series Digital Presses and cuts and trims them down to individual finished pages that are then stacked into a collated book block ready for off-line binding.
The PageReady operates off-line and can support multiple HP presses with the production of bindery-ready output. It accepts a large stack of varied output, 2-up, 4-up to 8-up, and automatically reconfigures its cutter blades to move from imposition to imposition with no operator intervention, making it a more cost-effective solution than using a guillotine cutter.
“There is no room for error and the machine is very reliable and makes the cuts exactly right where they need to be,” he said. “PageReady is a smart, innovative machine that’s great at saving us time on the finishing of small-quantity books (50 & under) from our HP Indigo 7000 series presses,” says Ralph Souza, Physical Plant Manager.
According to production numbers, the company runs 12,000 to 14,000 pages per shift through the machine, and has run more than 2 million press sheets through the PageReady, easily justifying its cost. “This has been a very good investment for us,” Jacobsen said. “It has eliminated time and manpower and increased productivity.”
Bridgeport’s two digital web presses – an HP Indigo 13-inch W7250, and an HP T230 20-inch – can handle large size images and are both connected to Tecnau finishing equipment for maximum efficiencies. Tecnau’s StreamFolder 2020s allow for the production of single-copy books and also can handle challenging, lightweight papers.
The HP Indigo W7250 allows Bridgeport to produce large covers and dust jackets and run many different weights of stock. Half of the jobs are monochrome books. “A lot of our work is black and white, although we can do some color on the ink jet if the size is right. Mostly it’s book blocks that come off the machines ready to go into the bindery,” Jacobsen said.
Right now, approximately 200 feet of paper runs through the 7250 per minute, with 400 on the ink jet T230.
“Both of the StreamFolders are doing plow flowing and cutting and are essentially low maintenance and have performed flawlessly,” he said. “They definitely keep up with our production.”
“We deliver one book every 4.5 seconds from the T230 that’s ready to go into a binder and that’s far more efficient than if we were using mainly sheet fed presses,” he said.
With less reliance on manual labor, the company’s turnaround times have also improved in their print on demand division, averaging two to three days per job.
“Tecnau is an excellent company to work with and our partnership has been very valuable to our company,” said Jacobsen. “They have been very responsive to our feedback.”
The combination of HP digital presses and the Tecnau finishing equipment has allowed Bridgeport to grow their print on demand business and efficiently produce a range of high quality books to meet the demands of their customers now and long term.