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May 21, 2014
Canada

AT A GLANCE

Industry sector

In-Plant print shop of a university

Challenges
  • Competition from students in the form of unauthorized copied courseware
  • Need to produce perfect bound books economically and on-demand, and make the course material more attractive, less expensive and hard to duplicate
  • Ability to saddle-stitch large course materials in landscape format to obtain a U.S.P.
  • The print center has a mixed analog of digital printing operation
Solutions
  • The Bourg BB3002 perfect binder
  • The Bourg BM-e booklet maker and a dual-station Bourg BST10-d suction tower collator
Results
  • Ability to produce professional-looking books fast, at reasonable price and on-demand thanks to the BB3002
  • Reduction of unauthorized copies done by students
  • The highly automated system and user-friendliness of the BB3002 enables labor-cost savings
  • A near-line bindery solution that offers the flexibility needed
  • Acquired new business opportunity: the production of landscape-format photo books
  • Improved efficiency thanks to the BM-e and the BST10-d

Simon Fraser University Thinks Big on its Finishing Investment Using Binders from C.P. Bourg

Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia has one of the more advanced in-plant Document services departments in the academic world, thanks in part to a near-line bindery operation outfitted with C.P. Bourg binding and finishing systems that help it compete more effectively.

Located at the university’s campus in nearby Burnaby, SFU Document Solutions provides print and finishing services that rival even robust commercial operations. It operates with 15 full-time employees; boasts an equipment list that includes six digital presses – including the first Xerox® iGen3™ digital color press installed in Canadian education setting – a new 5-color Heidelberg Speedmaster 52 offset press and on-demand binding and finishing; and relies on electronic Web job submission to serve more than 25,000 students, 700 tenure-track faculty and 2,800 staff at the school’s three campuses with millions of pages of print.

That impressive achievement took SFU Document Solutions director Raj Nadrajan several years and required transforming an antiquated system that had been hampered by manual procedures, laborintensive workflows and obsolete technologies.

Solving old problems

Combining the shop’s dysfunctional duplicating and printing departments, upgrading to a Xerox digital front end and implementing a PDF-based electronic job submission system (WebCRD) solved many of the problems Nadrajan inherited in November 2000 when he took over the school’s in-plant print shop.

Another key function Nadrajan addressed along the way was the SFU Document Solutions bindery. The center’s new in-line booklet maker was adequate for finishing standard 12 x 18-inch sheets, but dedicated to the iGEN press it couldn’t be used to finish color output from any of the other printers or from the shop’s offset press. And the school’s 15-year-old off-line stitcher was format-bound and living on borrowed time.

“Any job printed on the best of technologies isn’t complete until it goes through the bindery process, and this is when we bill our customers,” he explains. “Finishing is a very important part of the print operation.”

Nadrajan focused first on finding an automated system that offered near-line speed and flexibility to support the print center’s mixed analog and digital printing operation. He also needed to satisfy their biggest customer – the SFU University Bookstore and Centre for Distance Education – which Document Solutions supplied with custom course materials for 70% to 80% of the university’s student enrollment.

As is common at most colleges and universities, SFU Document Solutions printed copyright-cleared copies course material in black-and-white, then three-hole punched and shrink-wrapped them for sale. Even though the condensed materials cost less than buying textbooks for each course, to cut costs students often copied the courseware and re-sold it to other students. This not only cut into Document Solutions’ and University Bookstore revenues, says Nadrajan. It also put students at risk for copyright violations. Pursuing new opportunities

In 2005, Nadrajan began looking for equipment that would enable SFU Document Solutions to perfectbind books economically and on demand, and make the course material more attractive, less expensive and harder to duplicate. After almost settling for another supplier’s machine that would have required significant operator involvement, Nadrajan saw a C.P. Bourg BB3002 Perfect Binder demonstrated at a national printing tradeshow in Chicago. The BB3002 is a highly automated system so efficient that it’s suited to professionally binding books more than 2-inches thick – even “books of one” – in volume.

“The C.P. Bourg BB3002 had a simple touchscreen interface and didn’t need any tools for job changeovers, so the operator didn’t need to be an bindery expert,” Nadrajan recalls. “With it we could create professional-looking books fast, at reasonable cost and completely on-demand. So I said, ‘This is it! This is exactly what I want to solve my courseware binding problems!’”

With its tool-less job setup and other labor-saving features, the BB3002 binder allowed Document Solutions to take staff-designed color covers for each subject, produce them offset or digitally and combine them with B/W contents produced on any of the DocuTech printers. Even better, the BB3002 could be used to bind books in portrait or landscape format – making the course material more attractive to the students, while lowering costs and reducing unauthorized copies.

“The BB3002 changed the way we do business,” says Nadrajan. “Now it is allowing us to move into the market for on-demand landscape-format photo books – a new business direction.”

Staying with a winner

When the SFU print shop needed a booklet maker to replace their outdated stitcher, Nadrajan’s good experience with the BB3002 and with other Bourg products dating back to 1990 convinced him to stay with C.P. Bourg.

In addition to getting a new booklet maker that was easy to use, fast and efficient, Nadrajan needed one binder in his shop that offered unique and marketable capabilities. Saddle-stitching the large-format sheets produced by the iGen3 was high on his list; and doing it in landscape format was the ideal.

“To succeed in business, you have to do things differently. Everybody does books in 8-1/2 x 11 format. We wanted to offer saddle-stitched course materials and other kinds of books in landscape format,” he explains.

Nadrajan’s quest led him to the new C.P. Bourg BM-e Booklet Maker and a dual-station C.P. Bourg BST10-d+ Suction Tower Collator.

Sporting a format size of 14.33 by 22.5 inches, the new Bourg BM-e is the first near-line production stitch/fold/trim booklet maker able to handle full-size output from the iGen3 digital press. A variety of unique features and innovations built into the Bourg BM-e are aimed at improving near-line finishing speed, efficiency and flexibility. Among them are fully automatic operation controlled by a 12-inch color touchscreen mounted on a 300-degree swivel-boom, tool-less job size changeovers, the ability to fold up to 30 sheets of 20-lb bond, and a totally visible, straight paper path with a new, soft-handling paper folding mechanism designed to prevent marking, scuffing or scratching delicate digital prints.

Operators can select top, edge, corner or saddle stitches from a simple menu on the BM-e control panel; choose a topstitch bypass to hasten other finishing functions; and make fine adjustments to stitch position, fold position or trim distance in increments of 1/10 mm “on the fly,” as the job is running.

Because the booklet maker is a new design and SFU the first installation, Nadrajan couldn’t get it as quickly as he wanted. To compensate, C.P. Bourg loaned Nadrajan a Bourg BM-e Booklet Maker to work with the dual BST10-d+ Tower Collators.

In mid-December, 2008, the Bourg BM-e was installed and operators were using it with just two hours of training. With it, SFU Document Solutions is able to handle 11 x 17-inch or 12 x 18-inch sheets with ease and in landscape format, making it easy for Nadrajan and the Document Solutions staff to take on new and different types of work – jobs that help them market their operation more effectively and stay competitive.

“Printing used to be a craftsman’s job. But these days, you just don’t have time to train people. Everything has to be technology driven or it isn’t useful,” says the SFU Document Solutions Director. “Having an automated bindery and being able to do landscape books is giving us more control over managing our process and faster turnaround. With it, we can deliver more and more interesting work on time.”

Document Solutions recently used the Bourg BST-BM-e combo to collate and finish 7,000 booklets containing a graduates’ list. The job was short-fused, Nadrajan said, but aided by the Bourg finishing equipment, it was completed, packed and shipped within one day – far faster than Document Solutions could have produced it without the BM-e.

Delivering ROI

By collating and binding off-line while the offset press and digital presses keep running, the Bourg combo collator and booklet-maker adds to the shop’s efficiency – and profitability.

Even though Document Solutions is university-owned, SFU is not mandated to use its services. Moreover, the shop gets no money from the university for its operations, Nadrajan points out. All revenue the shop receives goes to pay for equipment, salaries, supplies and other expenditures, plus a small percentage of gross to the university.

This means that all of the equipment that Raj Nadrajan has installed in SFU Document Solutions has to prove itself financially, and the BM-e is no exception.

“Our goal is to compete, and that means we have to market our services extensively and produce the work. We can’t afford to tell our customers we can’t do their job, because they’ll find some other shop or some other way to do it.

At the end of the day, any job we don’t have to package and ship off to another bindery where we would be slotted into somebody else’s schedule, we save a customer and we make money. So we make sure we have the best tools for our employees to provide the services our customers want and need, and not just on time, but ahead of time.

The new Bourg BM-e is worth the investment alone in the better control we get over the finishing process. Plus it opens new doors for our business, and once people are aware of what it can do, the financial ROI will follow.”

Having more than doubled Document Solutions’ revenues since he took over the operation and no stranger to success, Raj Nadrajan is confident the C.P. Bourg BST10-d+ Suction Tower Collator and C.P. Bourg BM-e Booklet Maker will pass every test – in a big way.