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Dummies are smart

Dec 1, 2009 12:00 AM

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We like to get it right the first time. That's why, whenever possible, we do mockups of jobs in advance. That practice paid off on a recent map-folding project: 10,000 eight-panel maps for a national scientific and education institution.

Because the job called for 78-lb. cover stock, we were concerned that the specified perforated outer panels would be stressed during the multiple folding on Seattle Bindery's MBO 30 × 50-inch folder. After receiving blank stock from the customer, the production team constructed mockups with the perfs and ran them through the folder. Confirming our suspicions, the perforated panels broke away on the equipment. So, we recommended scoring the outer panels instead.

The job arrived Monday on 28 × 40-inch press sheets that were immediately put on our Bobst Autoplaten press — which scores, perfs, and diecuts in a third of the time cylinder presses require — for scoring. The production team then sent the job to the trimmer and began prepping the folder for makeready, which they knew would take longer than usual. Six hours later, the job was running slowly but surely on the MBO in perfect register and perfectly square. Because of the thickness of the stock and the full-size press sheets, as well as the necessity of having the flexibility to extend all the rollers as wide as possible, this folder was the obvious choice.

The number of folds — seven accordion folds and one right angle double parallel fold — and the thickness of the stock also required the folder to run at its slowest speed to ensure unbroken production. The speed also allowed the job to be bundled and shrinkwrapped right off the folder.

In many ways, the slow speed was a blessing in disguise. If we'd run the job at full speed, we probably would have lost time at the end because we would have had to offload the job onto another piece of equipment. This way the shrinkwrapping was done inline.

The customer requested a partial delivery on a Wednesday, which we easily met. The remainder was delivered the next morning, right on deadline. While folding projects can be both interesting and challenging, we've learned over these many years to run tests beforehand. It's the only way to avoid heartache in the end.

Milt Vine is president of Seattle Bindery ( Contact him at

Single operator does double duty

Rapid Bind's (Portland, OR) Chris Garvey recently shared a YouTube video of a double-closed gatefold with two wafer seals.

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Seal the deal: Direct mail closure options

Rickard Bindery's (Chicago) Kevin Rickard recently addressed USPS requirements for folded mail pieces without a carrier. Mail pieces must be sealed at the open edge — wafer seals and glue spots are popular options for brochures, stitched booklets and catalogs.

  • Wafer seals are affixed to the outer panels of a mail piece and wrap around the open edge to seal it shut. According to postal service regulations, the number of seals required depends on the location of the final fold and orientation of the address on the piece. For example, if the open edge is located at the head of the piece in relationship to the address, only one seal is needed. If the open edge is located at the foot of the piece, below the address, two seals are needed, located one inch from each corner.

  • Spot gluing is a solution for roll-folded brochures and other mail pieces with multiple folds. It can also be used to seal the edge of a piece that includes a perforated tear-off piece. Spot gluing typically is more economical and more efficient than wafer sealing, resulting in lower costs and reduced turnaround times.


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