Every week, I dutifully scour my sources and the internet for truly new finishing developments and systems to present to you. Sometimes I succeed, and sometimes not, but last week was a winner. I received a LinkedIn press release alert on something called “Vpaper”. My first response being “what?” But then I saw Paul Gardner’s name attached to it. Paul is a guy with a long history in photo books, and who was a key player in the development of this printing industry segment, both on the print and finishing side.
One of the biggest finishing challenges in photo books is achieving perfect “lay-flat” when you open the book. You want to be able to view a two-page photo “spread” in which both pages present a seamless flat photo panorama. This is easier said than done. Over the years, there have been a few specialty products that have attempted to solve this. One is a photo paper sheet with an actual plastic-laminated hinge at the end. This permits the printed sheet to bend 90° when bound in to the book to achieve lay-flat. But this is not an inexpensive paper, and there is still something of a gap between pages when the sheet hinge folds to 90°.
So along comes the Vpaper Tower, which is a product of Belgian-based Peleman Industries. Peleman also makes the Unibind thermal binding system. The Vpaper Tower is a machine that creates a flexible hinged sheet from your paper stock. Individual sheets are fed into the machine via a pile feed, and each sheet goes through a combined creasing, plow fold and pressing process to create a reverse hinge on the sheet. This enables terrific lay-flat when the printed sheets are bound in to the book. The Tower is aptly-named since it actually resembles a tower. Sheets enter the machine at operator-level and proceed up to the top of the tower and down the opposite side where they exit.
The Tower will process substrates from 70-lb. text to 60-lb. cover, at 6,000 sheets per hour. The applications for Vpaper include photo books, journals and textbooks, among others. All-in-all, this is a very interesting development in producing high-quality bound media. Here’s a link to a short video on the Tower.
This article originally appeared in Printing Impressions.