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Multi-Bookbinding - asterPRO, automatic book sewing machine

Case study
From the left: Mrs. Danielle Gendron (Lead Bindery Operator) and Mr. Yvon Sauvageau (General Manager of Multi-Bookbinding)
25 Jan 2021

Multi-Bookbinding improves thread-sewn book quality and sets to zero return rate with 100% product integrity check

Multi-Bookbinding, also known as Multi-Reliure in Quebec, is one of the leading trade-bindery in Canada with over thirty years of experience in bookbinding, servicing printers in Canada, and the US.

The company was founded in 1988 by Ms. Suzanne Ferron, who started her business specializing in the production of yearbooks and book repair.

Over time, Multi-Bookbinding quickly grew to become Quebec's premier bookbindery, positioning itself as a point of reference in the industrial production of books, especially for hardcovers.

In 2007, following the death of the founder, the company was acquired by Yvon Sauvageau and a group of associates including the son of Ms. Ferron, Patrick Pâquet. The new team brings unique skills in growth management, giving a strong impetus to the business, also through major investments in industrial machinery for bookbinding to increase productivity and efficiency.

“In 2018 we have started the retooling process of the company with an investment of over 2 million dollars,” says Yvon Sauvageau, General Manager of the company, “Our final goal is to automate every production process to minimize manual operations”.

Today Multi-Bookbinding has over 60 employees and a facility of 6.000 square meters (62.000 ft²) equipped with high-performance bookbinding machinery providing printers in Canada and the US with large production capacity and extensive experience in bookbinding techniques such as book sewing (also known as Smyth-sewing), perfect and Wire-O binding. There are about 7 million books produced per year, of which about 1 million are thread-sewn. Among the latter, coffee table books (high-quality books often full of photographs or images) and yearbooks (school annuals that record and commemorate the school year) stand out.

What are coffee table books?

Coffee table books are books to be put on display, the content of which favors photographs and images, and which aim to entertain those who browse through the pages. They are therefore high-quality books that must be finished with care.

CHALLENGE

In 2019 we were in the middle of the retooling of the company and we wanted to increase our production capacity for thread-sewn books”, says Yvon Sauvageau, “The need was also magnified by the winning of a big contract for a coffee table book that was scheduled for production right in the middle of the yearbook season, a time in which thread-sewn production is close to saturation”.

SOLUTION

We already had two book sewing machines of another manufacturer, but for this investment, we trusted Meccanotecnica Group and Manrico Caglioni (President of Book Automation, the U.S. company of the Group) for the importance to have a reliable and responsive after-sales service”.

The decision went to the asterPRO, automatic book sewing machine, that incorporates all the cutting-edge technologies for book sewing, automatic features, and the latest GigaLynx™ vision systems for a complete integrity control system.

The asterPRO purchased by Multi-Bookbinding is equipped with two GigaLynx™ artificial vision systems. The first, located inside the loading station, checks the correct sequence of the gathered signatures, allowing the operator to intervene in the event of an error without rejecting the book. The second, located inside the transport saddle, checks the correct opening of the signature, completing the integrity check before the book is sewn.

RESULTS

asterPRO increased our productivity considerably and improved the final quality of the sewn book with the production of tighter blocks, also positively affecting downstream operations”, says Yvon Sauvageau, "Having tight and compact book blocks that do not lose signatures during transport allows us to automatically feed the binder, instead of performing the operation manually and consequently increase the speed of the process and reduce the number of people involved".

Furthermore, thanks to the two artificial vision systems equipped on the asterPRO, we have also managed to reduce the annual return of yearbooks from 85 books to 0. This is a very important benefit, especially for yearbooks which are immediately checked by the students and which has helped us to reduce complaints and the percentage of overprints for each order". Says Mr. Sauvageau "One last interesting element of asterPRO is linked to its attractive design and easy-to-use software interface that makes it easier to find new operators willing to work in the bookbinding department. Young people feel more attracted to the machine and more willing to work on it".

Business benefits

  • Highly reliable binding (thread sewing)
  • Revenue increase (more productivity)
  • 100% product integrity
  • Ease-of-use (aster machines)
  • Sewing quality

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