|Bookletmakers Buyer's Guide
Booklet makers are machines that assemble individual sheets of paper by stapling and/or
folding them together. Stacks of paper are either manually fed or automatically transported via
collators into booklet making machines where they are then jogged, stapled, and/or folded into
separate document sets. Afterwards, document sets can then be trimmed by compatible trimmers.
Trimmers will cut away any undesired margins for a clean, crisp presentation. Anytime booklets are needed,
from formal business gatherings to more informal situations, a booklet making machine is the right tool.
Booklet makers offer fast, efficient results combined with simple operation. Not only is production fast,
but the high quality of finished documents makes these machines extremely valuable.
You can expect to spend anywhere from $2,000 on a basic booklet maker to as high as $20,000
on a high end complete finishing system (booklet maker, collator, stacker, and trimmer). The level of
automation and compatibility with other machines will be the key determinants in pricing. Based
on your needs, you should be able to choose a booklet maker from the wide variety being offered in
today's market, based upon the factors listed below.
- What level of automation is needed?
For fully automated machines, only a few buttons have to be pressed to create booklets, saving valuable
equipment training time. Higher-end models have more pre-set programs and memory settings for frequently
processed paper sizes and document presentation styles. For example, memory settings allow operators to
store repeat jobs and move from one job to another by simply pressing a button. A touch screen, key pad,
and LED display keep the operator informed of the system???s running status at all times. For less automated
machines, particularly manually fed machines, more operator assistance is needed (e.g. loading the documents).
- Are other machines (collators, trimmers, etc.) compatible?
Very often booklet making machines are combined to work "on-line" with collators and trimmers so that jobs
can be completed from beginning to end by simply connecting a few machines and pressing a few programmable
buttons. Higher-end machines are compatible with high quality collating and trimming machines that can handle
a wide variety of paper types, sheets sizes, and weights. Compatibility with other machines makes for
incredible efficiency, as well as high output levels.
- What extra features does the machine have?
All booklet makers have a jogging feature that prevents pages from sticking together allowing them to
turn easily once they are in a booklet. Better machines have both side and back joggers that ensure the best overall
quality of the finished document. Every machine has some type of jam and/or double feed detection, although
more expensive machines tend to have more sophisticated and reliable detectors.
- How many sheets will need to be stapled and/or folded at one time?
Booklet making machines tend to have a 20 sheet capacity, although some machines can handle a few more sheets at a time.
- What production speed is required (booklets per hour)?
The amount of booklets per hour varies from machine to machine. Higher-end models can produce up to 2,800
booklets per hour, while less expensive machines usually produce up to 1,500 booklets per hour.
- What method or options of stapling and/or folding are available?
Higher-end models are fully automatic with more stapling and folding capabilities. Stapling options often
include side stapling, corner stapling, and saddle stapling (see glossary).
- Booklet making: Assembling individual sheets into small document sets by stapling and/or folding them together
- Collator: A rather tall machine with trays that stack, store, and transport document sets
- Corner Stapling: Documents are stapled with one staple in the top left corner
- Jog: To create a vibration that aligns the edges of piled sheets of paper as the material hits or shakes against a flat console surface
- Off-line: The machine is not connected to other machines (collators, trimmers, etc.) requiring a user to manually feed sets into the machine
- On-line: Production is under automatic control of the machine, where the booklet maker is connected to collators and trimmers, working "on-line" with them
- Saddle Stapling: Staples booklets in the center; commonly found in magazines and catalogues
- Sheet Capacity: The maximum number of sheets that the machine can handle at one time
- Side Stapling: Staples booklets on the left side of the document enclosing the document from the outside
- Stapling Head: The part of the machine where staples punch through documents. Some stapling heads are fixed in position, while others can have up to nine different stapling positions
- Trimmer: A machine that will cut or trim any undesired margins from a document