A 'World's First' for 'World's Oldest' Bookbinder
The key to developing an efficient cutting system is computerized measuring. In library binding, each individual book block is measured, and the dimensions of the covering material are automatically computed. Since it's all done with software, "it is as simple as swiping a bar code," Parisi says.
The system identifies the job, the number of pieces required, and so on. For example, there might be 10 of one edition, five of another, and 40 of another. With no formal contract, the engineers at Mekatronics went to work. The result was the EZ-Cut robot, which cuts individual pieces of covering materials off rolls, without human intervention.
In this, the world's first cutting robot, waste is minimized, as the cover material is dispensed from rolls stored in the Paternoster elevators. This is basically a tower in the form of a vertical carousel.
At Acme, four such towers are used to store four different width rolls. Each tower can accommodate 24 rolls of material in 24 colors for a total of 96 rolls. (Using four different sizes eliminates costly waste.)
The four towers remain stationary while the cutting station travels on rails that are brought automatically into position in front of each of tower. Software brings the roll of the required color into position. It then instructs the robot to slit the roll to the proper height, and cut to the required width.
At the cutting station, a notch is punched at the center of one edge. This is essential for subsequent centering of the cover material in lettering and case-making machines.
As the rolls are furnished pre-slit to a width of 11" to 17.5", they are easy to handle and mount in the robot. Loaded from the rear of the towers, a leading edge of 3/4" of material is allowed to extend, and is ultimately picked up by the cloth transport system. An ink-jet printer is used to identify each piece of cloth.