Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Some time ago I sold a Coilmaster Jr. to a small printer in the south. This is our automatic, table top, coil inserter. I had been working with this client for over a year. She has an unusual business. She sells books that are printed in the US and punched in Korea (At first she told me China, which she may have thought Korea was a part of). She needs to bind tens of thousands of books per year and is loathe to send them out.

When she got a serious about placing an order I had her send me a sample of the book she was binding. It was a fairly straightforward job. It was a thin book, 12mm, with an oval hole. I told her that all was fine and I sold her the machine. The only thing that was unusual was that the book was punched at .248 pitch with an oval hole. I remarked that I had never seen that before. I sent her the article I had just written for American Printer: “Perfect Pitch,” which you can read here: http://americanprinter.com/binding-finishing/printing_perfect_pitch/index.html I also sent her a couple of articles about punching for coil.

I sent my technician there who said that there was some problem with the punching. I called the customer upon completion of the installation and she told me that everything was fine and that she was happy with the machine.

A couple of weeks later I called her to follow up. She told me that she was having problems. Her operator stated that the coil entered the book but stopped halfway through as it was spinning in. I remarked that this sounded like a pitch problem. Running coil with a wrong pitch has a cumulative error effect. Then she told me something that she should have told me right from the get go: She was punching inserts here in America that had to be put into the book. The book she originally sent me had no such inserts. I told her to send me a couple of these sheets along with some of the sheets punched in Korea.

I was flabbergasted. The sheets punched here had a different pitch: .2475. Now that doesn’t sound like much of a difference but get this: The margins were different. The distance between the first hole and the head of the sheet were different. That’s not all: The distance between the spine and the row of holes were different. So, she was fighting sheets punched with a different pitch, a different margin, and a different spine to hole distance.

She then asked the bindery who was punching her job if they could match the hole pattern that was being punched in Korea. They said no. They also told her that there was no such thing as a .248 pitch.

What is a body to do? How much preparation can a salesman offer a prospective client? I would like to hear your comments. If you are interested in receiving any of the articles I had sent this customer, please e-mail me.

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