Paper Technology – Covered Cardboard

How machines can optimize graphics finishing processes

The issue

There are several graphic products made from the union of a print, fabric or special sheet with one or more pieces of cardboard, as well-known examples we find: hard cover, rigid packaging, game board, calendar desk, file folders, showcase, among others.

Finishing is responsible for the conversion of these materials into products that can be hand made with simple tools, manufactured with mechanical assistance of manual machines as well as with semi-automatic equipment and, finally, with automatic systems for high production.

To define the best set of machines that matches your current and future demand is the vast majority issue because of the many possibilities of case binding.

The challenge


Notes to the Graphic:

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a) The graphic shows as an example a hardcover of a simple notebook with 1 piece of cardboard in A4 size for wire-o binding, yield varies with other types, sizes and models of products.
b) Except for the fully automatic systems, it considers Tünkers equipment worked by 2 and / or 3 bookbinder.
c) This yield bases only on the paperboard finishing processes in accordance with the production layout 2 set forth below.
(d) the numbers indicated are taken from a systematic production which takes place logistical support for replenishment of the input/output material and withdrawal of the finished product by an independent operator.


Handicraft Production

A Covered cardboard product always begins with gluing and a good tool or even a glue machine to assist this step is crucial.

The Hand Applicator is most suitable for small format porous coatings (eg up to A3) made of common papers (offset, coated paper, synthetic cover paper, etc.). School works, mockups, handmade products, toys and very small hard cover runs.

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If you want, however, to produce file folders, big rigid luxury packaging or materials larger then A3, but in handmade runs, then it is correct to choose between the Liliput 350, 500 e 800. When choosing one motorized gluer you probably are aiming and making possible to growth, with such machines you avoid different coating layers of glue along the surface of the material.

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When it comes to materials that are hard to bond, Tünkers offers a hotmelt applicator. If your cover paper is photographic paper or fabrics, which are often used in album hard cover bindings, or even high-density special papers such as engravings, it is necessary to use a high adhesion adhesive that is when you need a Maxit Hotmelt Gluer.

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Production Processes – Example hardcover A4 notebooks

Layout 1 – Prepress / Printing / Postpress

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Layout 2 – Postpress

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Layout 3 – Postpress

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Mechanical Assistance

We call mechanical assistance the combination of two (2) or more machines that contribute by improving some stages of the process bringing standardization, quality and speeding up the pace.

It is possible to produce hard covers by alternating the use of machines with handcrafted handling, for example, we can coat with a glue machine, join the cardboard and fold the edges manually and use a rotary press for the final step. In the same way, it is possible to glue and fold the edges with machines and to press with the old manual presses of weight.

The vacuum case maker centralizes the cardboards without the need for printing on the reverse, but many companies choose not to use them when focused on products with only 1 piece of cardboard. This type of tool helps a lot when talking about products with two or more pieces of cardboard.

All the combinations normally starts from a glue machine and can turn into a Complete Solution offered by Tünkers as an option combined in a large workbench.

Modular mechanical assistance options TÜNKERS:

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We emphasize the following advantages by using TÜNKERS machines:

  • Mobility, it is possible to reposition the equipment to obtain a different workflow for each type of product.
  • > economy, cheaper final product
  • > Production flexibility, more exact requests can be produced and with instantaneous exchange of format without losses during set up.
  • Easy contact to the manufacturer or with its representatives for immediate communication.
  • Equipment is manufactured to work up to 3 shifts, tripling production in the event of unforeseen necessity.
  • > Profitability
  • Extremely easy machine operation requiring no specialized labor
  • Low life cycle cost of machines (periodic cleaning only)
  • Equipment consumes little energy
  • Space required for installation is too small.
  • Diversity of formats, standards and materials that in many cases is not possible with an automatic equipment.


Semiautomatic Solutions

Semi-automatic solutions meet the needs of serial production as well as small on-demand productions that together reach a medium volume.

It is common among companies to point out that their production is concentrated at certain times of the year, saying that there are unexpected peaks or to work high quantity orders, those seek outsourcing.

Outsourcing is valid but you must add to it the following costs and risks:

1) More expensive final product reducing profit
2) Expenses with transportation
3) Outsourcing unavailability
4) Use of adhesives and materials that may have less quality, affecting the final product.
5) Poorly finished material.
6) Delays on delivery time.
7) Designing limited to equipment and knowledge of the outsourcing.
8) Companies usually refuses Just in Time orders with short deadlines.
9) Less reliability if the customer knows that, part of the production is outsourced.
10) Your clients is exposed and they may receive a better offer.

Stop outsourcing is challenging and you need to manage it as a unique business to generate the maximum revenue. Many companies realize the need for finishing equipment after having quality problems, delays with outsourcing or when winning an order without find anyone to do it.

One of the most common question for a hardcover equipment for example is how many hard covers does the machine makes per hour? The answer varies according to the Notes to the Graphic shown above; logistics, format, operators, and product type directly influence the performance of the system.

Some Print Companies understand that the yield of a semiautomatic production system is not satisfactory when verifying that the semiautomatic production range goes from 120 to 300 or up to 400 units per hour.

We then ask you to reflect on the following questions:

  1. What kind of semi-automatic solution are you analyzing?

Machines that are not modular have the glue machine and the turning-in structures as part of the workbench. They belong to it. If you cannot move the turning-in machine you are unable to add an operator and therefore increase the production. Non-modular models becomes usually a bottleneck to the production.

  1. Does your volume justifies purchasing a used automatic model?
    Consider a low average (200 / hour) of the semiautomatic hard cover machines, we come to around 30,000 covers / month. There will be 360,000 covers in a year; this volume still does not justify an automatic system that can exceed 2 million covers per year.
  2. I do not have 30,000 covers / month but eventually I need to produce 60,000 or even more in this period.
    It is still worth it to work in two (2) shifts with a semiautomatic model that needs less investment, easy training operators, space and energy saving to invest in a used automated equipment.
  3. My “in-between” volume does not justify buying a semi-automatic model, but I am already suffering to produce when the more active months arrive.

Implement new products, covered cardboard products as stated at the beginning of this article is the basis for many products. Try to plan and anticipate steps of what already has sales history and focus on new opportunities serving new markets. If you do so, you might get the volume needed to invest.

  1. There are versions with and without automatic cardboard feeder. Which one do I choose?

Answer looking at the type of production you have. If there are 1500 units per day you need to produced, but in six (6) different formats divided with the same quantity, then do not choose the feeder because your setup needs about 20 to 30 minutes of adjustments, depending on the format.

If you need to change the Gripper set-up acording to the format more than twice or at most three times a day then we suggest you to take the large orders to use it, specially those which need more than 2 cardboard pieces.

It is easy to change set-up but depending on the quantity and the type of the hardcover it might be faster to register the cardboard manually.

  1. What is the accurancy – x and y directions of the automatic feeder?

The automatic mode = cardboard Feeder = Gripper.

It self is precise and we could say that the accuracy is about +/- 0,5mm although:

  1.  The cover material is manually positioned on the vacuum table and this step usualy interfere on a better accuracy.
  2.  The cut from either the cover material as well the cardboard are also a detail that for sure generate a superior registering.
  3.  The trackway guides alignment is manually set and the operator must assure that the space gap between them to bring the cardboard from the pile to the front along its way is as small as possible without blocking the material.
  4.  If the printed media is symmetric but it was cutted bigger in one side, it means you need to insert in the glue machine and put it on the table always from the same side, otherwise you will not have a good register.


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