A beautiful spine can be delightful

"We always want to offer our customers the highest level of quality," says Gerhard Wittemann, Managing Partner of Grossbuchbinderei Schiffmann GmbH & Co. KG in Rösrath near Cologne. This is why the company is using a new VFN 700 spine nipping press 
from Muller Martini to avoid the spine build-up of the book block that occurs during thread sewing.

"We now have an angularity in the spine that is really crazy." Gerhard Wittemann, managing partner of Grossbuchbinderei Schiffmann GmbH & Co. KG, is full of praise for his new spine nipping press. 

However, the fact that the quality of the thread-sewn products has been "dramatically" (quote Gerhard Wittemann) increased as a result is only one major advantage of the VFN 700, which presses every book block in the spine area and thus significantly reduces spine build up. On the one hand, the inline solution accelerates the speed and also the production flow, and on the other hand, it increases work safety. "We previously had a standalone press from the 1960s that was operated by hand. But this was a work-related risk, which is why we disposed of it immediately after commissioning the VFN 700."

"This machine is here to stay"
Quite the opposite is true about the new spine nipping press, for which the Schiffmann bindery was on board at an early stage. For the first time in its company history, it was a field test customer for a newly developed machine. According to Gerhard Wittemann, this was with a clear intention: "If I participate in such a pilot test, then it's with the clear idea of taking over the machine as well." 

He has only good memories about the field test period, the cooperation with the Muller Martini technicians and the production of samples with and without the press. "The exchange between the experts from the two partner companies was very valuable, and the quality of the end products rose quickly. For me, therefore, it quickly became clear: this machine is here to stay."

Specializing in premium products
Thread sewing of textbooks, health guides and pocket calendars with print runs of between 500 and 250,000 copies has become increasingly important at the Schiffmann bookbindery in recent years. Around 20 percent of the brochures produced in Rösrath are thread-sewn. "Because ordinary print products are having an increasingly tough time," says Gerhard Wittemann. 

"That's also the reason why we have specialized in premium products. High-quality, eye-catching products to touch that offer a haptic experience and excite and generate reader curiosity are in demand - such as colorful threads in open thread sewing. It's not unusual for a customer to tell me, 'I've never seen that before.'" 

Gerhard Wittemann (left), Managing Partner of Grossbuchbinderei Schiffmann: "High-quality, eye-catching products to touch are in demand." On the right, Volker Keppler, area sales manager for Muller Martini Germany

Ventura MC 200 and Alegro
For thread-sewn brochures, the Schiffmann bookbindery has been using a Ventura MC 200 from Muller Martini for three years. "The fact that thread sewing has awakened from the slumber of earlier years also has a lot to do with modern machines. And thanks in particular to its format variability, this also includes the Ventura MC 200, with which we have improved our value chain," says Gerhard Wittemann.

Majority of the sheets thread sewn by the Ventura MC 200 and pressed by the VFN 700 are subsequently backglued on the Alegro, which was commissioned five years ago and also comes from Muller Martini. In March 2018, Schiffmann presented its perfect binding line, which saves one to two shifts a week and 500 kilograms of glue a year compared to its predecessor, to the public together with Muller Martini during a well-attended open house.

Learn more about the VFN 700 in this blog on the Muller Martini website.

Find out in this video what advantages the Alegro perfect binder brings to the Grossbuchbinderei Schiffmann in its daily work.