Hobbs makes mark with world first digital Muller Martini

The Presto II Digital can take digitally printed sheets and deliver high quality stitched and trimmed products.

A growing volume of digital work says Graham Bromley.

A growing volume of digital work says Graham Bromley.

HOBBS THE PRINTERS HAS SCORED a world first with installation of a Presto II Digital saddle stitcher. The system, which takes a flat sheet and delivers a finished stitched product, was previewed at Print 13 in Chicago and arrived at Hobbs’ Southampton factory at the end of the year.

The feeder accepts flat sheets in pre collated order from a digital press. These are folded in line by an MBO folder before the folded sections are fed to an accumulator before plow folding and dropping on the saddle chain. Muller Martini’s ASIR recognition system is used to pick up end marks for each product which can have a fully variable pagination.

THE PRESTO AT HOBBS ALSO has four conventional hoppers and a cover feeder to allow it to run conventionally printed material either for litho only products or for mixed products. The system will switch between products without stopping, either for fully digital products or from digital to hybrid publications where litho sections are added to the digital section.

The company already has a six-feeder Muller Martini BravoPlus stitcher, hence the new machine needs only four feeders. Hobbs operations director Graham Bromley says: “We needed to increase our conventional saddle stitching capacity and we wanted to deal with short run digital products, finishing these to the same standard as litho, and small cheaper machines could not offer that as far as we were concerned.”

THE COMPANY PRINTS A WIDE RANGE of publications using litho and both Océ and HP Indigo digital presses. These cover academic publishers, the educational sector, transport and a growing volume of personalised magazines. “We are handing variable data as well as standard batch products,” he says. The Presto II Digital is limited to A4 products, which is not a problem given it will be handling digitally printed sheets, the existing BravoPlus will run A3 sized stitched products.

The company has noted an increase in digital printing and has until now been using a booklet maker to finish these. As its digital presses are producing two page sheets, the Presto was the right machine for the job, delivering A4 to the quality that matches its litho printed work. “We were not concerned at being the first,” Bromley says. “We tested the machine thoroughly before installation.”

Source: Print Business 13 January 2014 and the company