Monday, March 15, 2010

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Automating the manufacture of the classic cave-cut step index for reference books.

A cut-cave index, usually combined with glued, lettered tabs (semicircular stickers), is a thumb-friendly cut into the opening edge of a book block. Its purpose is to help readers quickly find and turn to desired sections--reducing wear on large reference books. Also referred to as a "bible cut," its compact cut shape offers protection to the index area of products. This cut is often used for dictionaries, encyclopaedias, medical reference books and Bibles which have a long service life and whose indexes are subjected to frequent use. One limitation of the cave cut is thickness; books must be of a minimum thickness to allow for cutting the shape.

Manufacturing cave-cut indexes and affixing the stickers has, up to now, involved intensive manual work and has been commensurately time-consuming. Normally four to five people are required to find the position, cut the index and affix the tabs. The entire manufacturing process, therefore, is heavily dependent on the skill of the staff.

German finishing systems builder Durrer says it has been making consistent advancements in the field of index cutting. Its latest progress is shown here, in a solution comprising two separate machines to replace the conventional, manual production process. The new REBIB and KLEBIB machines enable the three work steps--"finding," "cutting" and "sticking"--to be performed by one worker. The semi-automatic REBIB machine was developed to cut the cave-cut index, whereas the KLEBIB affixes the preprinted tabs into the index hollows. Details on the process are at

The advantages of this approach would be obvious to anyone charged with this type of work: precise mounting in the REBIB machine ensures a high degree of repeat accuracy when cutting. This considerably increases the accuracy of the cut indexes--exact cut-in depths and the precision positioning of the indexes, down to the millimeter, are crucial to the shape of the cut. Once an accurate and consistent cut has been made, the possibility opened for printed labels to be affixed automatically using the KLEBIB machine. The resulting quality does not depend on the skill of the operating staff, according to Durrer.

The company says development of all its machines focuses on a high degree of flexibility, short changeover times and safety. The automatic cave-cutting process is user programmable. The machine processes virtually all paper qualities up to a maximum book thickness of 80 mm.

A REBIB prototype was exhibited at drupa 2008 and attracted immense interest from all over the world, says Durrer. Since then technology has gradually progressed and the company can now demonstrate the machines at its workshops in Kussnacht am Rigi, Switzerland. Durrer will also present the REBIB-KLEBIB concept as a whole for the first time at IPEX 2010, May 18-25 in Birmingham, England.

Source Citation
Esler, Bill. "Automatic Cave-Cut Indexing." Graphic Arts Monthly 81.11 (2009): 8. Academic OneFile. Web. 15 Mar. 2010.
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Gale Document Number:A212104753
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