05.05.2020 / Frank Baier

“Cutting-edge” 3D objects

Book edge printing, often referred to today as book edge coloring, is a rediscovered form of representative book finishing.

In fact, book edge coloring is not a new option: Bible editions in leather binding with gilt edges have always been among the most valuable of publications. Meanwhile, color variations of filigree ornamental patterns on editions of series of novels are again common. At present, this finishing is reaching numerous literary genres – fiction and entertainment, non-fiction and art books – as well as new applications in corporate publishing. 

However, it is crucial for the editor and publisher not only to determine a coherent design of the cover or book case and book block, but also to coordinate the design with the commissioned service providers in good time before production begins. As a result, hardcover and softcover with book edge coloring can stand out as color 3D objects in the broad range of publications and inspire customers and consumers alike. 

Not only cover, book case and spine 
The book block had long been lost from the view of illustrators and graphic designers as a design element for enhancing a book. But that is now a thing of the past. Finishing of hardcover and softcover books of various genres is meanwhile not limited to the cover, book case and spine. 

For the benefit of further visual enhancement, book trimmed edges can be printed in any form after book block trimming. Individual printing houses and bookbinderies have discovered this form for themselves and are using the “homemade” brand of self-constructed machines for this purpose. In the meantime, digital printing systems of a few machine manufacturers are being used for the "new" fascinating form of finishing. 

The manufacturer Durrer Spezialmaschinen AG based in Immensee, Switzerland, is said to have sold its new book edge coloring equipment more than ten times since 2018. DIGI-B has been designed for production at a cycle rate of 600 to 1,500 units per hour, with finishing of the book blocks in one process in fully automatic four-page inkjet printing. 

Advertising notepads in four-page mode 
This allows the processing of formats from 50 x 50 mm to 360 x 360 mm (optional 720 x 720 mm) – with a convincing, very high print resolution of 1600 x 1600 dpi. In addition, even advertising notepads can be individualized in large quantities in four-page mode up to the 78 x 78 mm format. 

The experienced specialist for edge gilding machines, Ochsner + Co. AG from Schmerikon, also in Switzerland, also stands out with a book edge coloring machine. The heart of the system is a UV inkjet printing system with 600 x 600 dpi resolution, which processes the book blocks from stack to stack practically fully automatically. As a result, the "IP type" machine can process about 150 to 200 books per hour at a printing speed of 40 - 50 meters. According to the manufacturer, the machine is designed for various formats (from business cards of 85 x 55 mm to book blocks of 420 x 420 mm), the maximum book thickness is 60 mm with a maximum print height of 54 mm. 

Full-coverage images without margins 
Meanwhile, the Hamburg-based company S-Printer offers a book edge printing system. The specialist trade company Schmedt (Set link www.schmedt.com) has had exclusive distribution of it since this year. The S2 system is suitable for runs of one as well as for higher print runs. While the entire process is fully automatic,
only the setting of the book thickness, the feeding and removal of the copies is performed manually. 

The system uses water-based inkjet printing technology and reaches a print resolution of either 1600 x 800 dpi or 1600 x 1600 dpi. In total, up to 1,000 books an hour can be produced. The book thickness is limited to 220 mm and the book format to 350 x 350 mm.

According to the manufacturers, even full-coverage images without margins or image motifs running around a book, book blocks with a rising fold on the spine or rounded book block corners are no problem from a technical point of view.

Read about the creative hardcover and softcover solutions from Germany's leading book manufacturer, Kösel, which has made a name for itself as a leading innovator beyond its national borders, in this article from Muller Martini's customer magazine "Panorama" 3/2018

Frank Baier
Chief Editor, “Bindereport”
05.05.2020 Frank Baier Editor-in-Chief «Bindereport»