Living In The Mechanical World
Optimum Bindery was founded in 1990 by Frank C. and Joseph F. Frisoni, Jr. in Nashua, N.H. Frank had been a staple in the bindery business since the mid-60s, first learning to run the machinery and then working his way up in the industry. His forte was in folding and saddle stitching, and he became known as a troubleshooter. Customers would call when they ran into problems and Frank would create layouts and setups to solve the issue. After years of hearing that he should open his own business, Frank founded Optimum Bindery.
The intention was to open a one stop shop for saddle stitchers, perfect binding, and die cutting. After starting out with a small number of basic machines in 3,000 square feet, the company built its way up to having three saddle stitchers, six die cutters, several folding machines, and a Kolbus perfect binder in a facility with more than 21,000 square feet of space. Optimum had a dedicated customer base, drawn by the company's commitment to meeting turnaround deadlines with high quality work. But something was still missing.
Frank had looked into mechanical binding in years past, but hadn't felt the need to invest in the equipment. As it was, Optimum Bindery was a diversified business already, with enough work to occupy the people and space. But Frank saw the economy changing, and decided a change might be looming for his company as well. "Around 2003 the calls for mechanical binding kept growing and growing," said Frank. "It was impossible to ignore. Over half of our customers wanted it done. We refused to do it for a while; then we started researching the equipment. If we already had established customers looking for it, then we knew we were going to have an established base for sales."
Frank had talked to several companies about mechanical binding equipment in the years prior to his decision to add the capability to Optimum Bindery, but ultimately decided on Spiel Associates. "David Spiel was the only one to really respond. He guided me through what 1 needed to have. They have case studies and how to articles" that help you through the early stages of purchasing the right equipment. Plus, their videos demonstrate how each piece of equipment actually works. To make a long story short, David called me a year later to see if I was going to attend the On Demand show in Boston. I told him that I couldn't make the show, so we struck a deal there and then."
David was surprised to find that Optimum Bindery had no mechanical binding equipment. "Usually when you visit a bindery there are a few manual coilers around. They didn't have any so we had to start from scratch. Frank didn't want to just start with plastic coil, he wanted to bind with double loop wire as well to cover all the bases," explained Spiel.
Frank determined that he wanted to start off with high-speed equipment. "We do 25,000, 50,000, 250,000 runs here. We weren't going to be able to handle that with manual, table top equipment, he explained. "We started off Spiel's new machine, The Sterling Coilmaster Jr.® We really wanted brand new equipment but Spiel had a mint, second hand Sterling Punchmaster that was reconditioned , and that sounded like a perfect fit. This gave us the additional capital to purchase a brand new Rilecart wire binder with an automatic cover flipper. It eliminates a lot of hand work." says Frank.
Books being wire bound require the binding element be closed between the last page and the rear cover so that the "seams" don't show and so that the book opens easily. This requires the operator to flip the cover, closing the book for the end user. The Rilecart TP-480 semi-automatic machine facilitates one operator binding the books and one material handler to box books quickly.
But Frank had a problem on his hands, the best kind of problem, too much work. "We decided to gel our feel wet with a smaller coil binder and then a tsunami hit us. Our first job was for 30,000 books and we had two more of a similar size on the way."
The punching was no problem. The Sterling Punchmaster punches over 100,000 sheets an hour, but Optimum couldn't keep up on the binding. Less than three weeks into the mechanical binding business, Frank made the decision to buy a bigger, faster machine. He decided to jump right in and purchase an in-line plastic coil former and binder, The Sterling Coilmaster III plastic coil binding system. David was kind enough to lend me another Coilmaster Jr. and this let me finish the job I had in-house." explained Frank.
The Sterling Coilmaster® was the first automatic inserter and, in-line with the Coilmaker, the first in-line plastic coil former and inserter. It forms the plastic coil as you need it, from spools of filament. "Quite a few of our employees have had experience with various punching and mechanical binding machines, but Spiel's technician was available to get us set-up and trained on the new equipment. Then the fun began! I really didn't know anything about purchasing coil or wire, but David did a great job helping me through the first few jobs." explained Frank. "Both Michael (Spiel) and David have spent a good deal of time with me on the phone determining which coil and wire sizes were right for each job. Part of my new learning process included me having to start talking metric. Now we order our coil and wire through Spiel Associates and it generally gets here in a day or two."
Frank is pleased with his company's introduction to mechanical binding. Jobs are lined up that will keep the shop running twelve hours a day next week. With an automatic punch, a wire binder, an offline and inline coil binder, Optimum Bindery is well on their way in the mechanical world.