The University of Wolverhampton, which has about 20,000 students, is the latest educational establishment to install a Kasfold 640T, 640 mm sheet length bookletmaker with trimmer and squarefold unit from Ashgate Automation.
The digital print services department, with a team of eight people, provides graphic design, printing and finishing for the university's staff and students and increasingly for external customers. Two and a half years ago they made a significant investment in two digital presses, a Ricoh 7110 and a 7100. ‘Appearance is very important across our wide range of print, from teaching material to student dissertations, marketing brochures and leaflets,’ said Gae Forbes, head of Digital Print Services. ‘The Ricoh digital presses gave us the print quality but we needed new finishing equipment that was suitable for digital work, to ensure a quality finish too. This has become all the more important because we want to improve our internal productivity, as well as expanding our external print service.’
The department produces a lot of booklets and, although its previous bookletmaker was relatively new, the positioning of the staples was restricted. ‘We were unable to use it to finish A6 and A4 landscape booklets, which are popular formats. We have a banner tray on one of the Ricoh presses which gives us the capability to print A4 landscape booklets, so we needed the capability to be able to finish this size too,’ Gae explained.
Gae visited the Ashgate stand at an exhibition and explained the current limitations. Although the department had an old stitcher it often had to finish booklets by hand. ‘It was not unusual for us to receive a request on Friday to produce 200 A4 landscape booklets by Tuesday which put pressure on the department. In fact it we often have to print and finish 2000 booklets of this type, with a fast turnaround,’ she emphasised.
‘Ashgate’s staff went through hoops on the stand because we asked them to set up the machine to show us different booklet sizes. They were very obliging and we made up our minds that this was the right machine for us both in terms of performance and price. They suggested that we contact Warwick University Print, which had recently installed the Kasfold 640, for a reference, which we did.’
This manually operated machine produces a maximum booklet size of 320 x 320 mm and more common sizes like A4 and 12” x 12”. It handles a maximum sheet size of 640 x 320 mm which means that SRA2 sheets do not require pre-trimming on the short edge on a guillotine, prior to producing A4 landscape booklets.
‘We were pleased with the on site tuition because basically Ashgate gave us as much time as we needed, so that we were confident to go into production,’ Gae commented.
‘One of our recent jobs was a 20 page marketing brochure for the university’s Springfield Campus. Printed on one of the Ricoh presses, it has a 350 g/m2 silk cover and 150 g/m2 silk inner. We would have had difficulty producing a quality finish without the Kasfold. For other jobs we also use the squarefold unit which sits between the bookletmaker and the trimmer, to stop the booklets bowing and to give us the professional finish of a perfect bound book, with the security of a stapled finish. All in all we are very pleased the Kasfold, it should definitely help us to bring in new commercial work .’