Printing Books

Below is a short description with pictures and videos showing the digital printing of books at our Alexandria factory. These will give you an impression of the processes we use to make books. You are always welcome to organise a visit so you can see the real thing.

We produce thousands of books every day in a wide range of quantities all the way down to one at a time. We print on a variety of stocks and we offer many sizes and finishing options. For a standard paperback, we would use an inkjet to print the text on a book paper and an Indigo press to print the cover.

Text pages are usually printed on one of our inkjet printers. The Prosper 1000 prints black only, it runs at a speed of up to 200 metres and can print 3600 A4 pages in a minute. The prosper is a web press, it takes paper from a roll, prints it, dries the ink and re-winds the paper back onto a roll.

The rolls with the printed paper are then turned into sheeted book blocks using a Hunkeler CS6 cutter. This machine unwinds the roll, feeds the paper through a series of slitters and cutters and the serves out the finished book blocks, cut to size and ready to bind.

In the meantime the covers are printed and celloglazed. We print most covers on an Indigo press. The Indigo uses liquid ink and an offset-like process to print pages. It is a very high quality digital printer that can print on thick stocks and we use it for all colour critical applications.

The laminate is then applied. What looks easy is not quite that simple: if temperature or pressure are not set correctly you get bubbles in the film or curling covers.

Covers and text meet at the binder. This is one of our Horizon BQ 470s, and Ross is setting it up. He places the covers into the cover feeder and sets up sizes and thickness of the book block.

He then binds books by feeding book blocks into the four clamp binder. The short shrill sound comes from the grinding of the paper just before the glue is applied and the cover added. Ross can make up to 500 books per hour.