This is the first step in the case making process. The cloth is ordered to customer specification and comes in on large rolls. The rolls are mounted on a spindle and the cloth is fed past circular knives which slit it lengthwise and a scissor-action knife which trims it across. The result is sheets of cloth, trimmed to specified dimensions large enough to make a case for the final book size.
The collated book blocks are placed into the machine which then sews the signatures together with heavy thread. The sewn book blocks are then either sent back to the soft binding machine for a paper cover and trimming or on to the case binding process.
The sheets of cloth are loaded into one side of the casemaker. Binder board (heavy paper board) is loaded in two side-by-side stacks into the other side. (The binder board is ordered pre-trimmed but is sometimes trimmed to special specifications at our plant.) A narrow strip of paper known as "spine-strip" is fed off a roll into the machine underneath the stacks of board. A sheet of cloth gets a coating of glue on one side and is carried forward to meet two pieces of board (one for the front, one for the back) and a piece of spine strip. In the middle of the machine, the board and spine strip are placed on the glued side of the cloth and the edges of the cloth are turned inward around the edges of the board. The completed cases are stacked for drying and sent on to the stamper.
This is the final step in the case making process unless the customer chooses to have a "blank" case, which is rare. A stamping machine uses metal dies, thin sheets of pigmented foil, heat, and pressure to print text and / or images onto the cases. The blank cases are fed into one end. The foil is fed from a spool on the side and passes under the die which has been mounted in the center. As each case passes, it is hit once with the heated die through the foil. The pigmented side of the foil is released from its backing into the impressions made by the die.
Sewn book blocks are loaded into the machine and travel on their spines to a gluing and tipping station. A thin bead of glue is applied along the spine on the front and back and end papers (end leafs) are clamped on. The next station applies glue to the spine and the blocks are then carried over a drying unit. They travel from the dryer to the three-knife where they are trimmed to final size. They are stacked off onto skids to allow the glued spines to become firm enough for the casing-in process.
The book blocks are now loaded into the casing-in unit. They are tipped onto their fronts and moved along to the preforming and rounding stations where the spines are pressured into a rounded appearance. This results in a "flange" along the spine. Next, hot glue and a strip of gauze-like material (crash) are applied and then more hot glue and a strip of backing paper which carries a piece of headband at each end. (Headbands are the colored bits of cloth, specified by the customer, that decorate the top and bottom ends of the spine.) The blocks then travel to where they meet the cases. Glue is applied to the front and back of the block and the case is wrapped around it. In the final stage, the books are turned back onto their spines and heat and pressure are used to mold the case into the "flange" mentioned above, creating a "hinge" and tightening the bond of the case to the book block. This is known as "building-in". The completed books are stacked on skids and sent to the finishing and / or packaging area.
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