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Zach Olsen

The world of print publishing is changing. New inventions, such as hand-held tablets, are providing immediate access to a full library of books without taking up any physical real-estate on bookstore shelves. So how does this affect good old fashioned print books? On Demand Books has recently come up with a solution: the Espresso Book Machine. A collaborative design effort first conceptualized by Jeff Marsh and On Demand Chairman Jason Epstein - The Espresso Machine was further refined for manufacturability by Detroit Tool and using PBC Linear’s Uni-Guide linear slide to further improve the design. After integrating the Uni-Guide, DTE was able to reduce the overall assembly count, improve performance and reduce the overall total cost.

Uni-Guide Linear Slide Book Printer

Available in college libraries and bookstores worldwide, the Espresso Book Machine can automatically print, bind and trim on demand at point of sale perfect bound, book store quality paperback books. – eliminating the need for overstocking inventory. The Espresso also boasts the added value of offering rare, hard to find titles. Books are selected using EspressNet software developed by On Demand and print out in 2-3 minutes complete with front/back covers and ready for immediate sale.

Once the first working design was made Detroit Tool and Engineering, a specialty engineering firm that specializes in machine replication (build to print), design and build of custom machinery was tasked with bringing in a working design that increased manufacturability, decreased machine complexity and operated reliably. The way they approached this was to modularize the internal sub-assemblies and seek out maintenance-free components for assured performance. One issue with the design was the numerous linear motion components that made up the system. Rails, mounting parts and fasteners, pillow blocks—all of these components took up space and required complex assembly. DTE worked with PBC Linear to simplify the linear motion system, and decided to use their Uni-Guide linear slide to operate three critical tasks for the book printer.

The Uni-Guide is comprised of a simple, two-piece (rail and carriage) assembly. Its rail has dual shafts precision machined along the edge to ensure perfect alignment and parallelism; which provides for a more streamlined design without bulky mounting pieces or painstaking assembly work. Equipped with Simplicity® plain bearing technology, the Uni-Guide glides smoothly and reliably without the need for additional lubrication or preventative maintenance. Available as a driven solution, the Uni-Guide was installed to perform smooth cutting of the Espresso machine’s book pages, gluing of the pages to the cover spine and collating the pages for binding. All in all, the Uni-guide provided long-lasting transfer and adjustment for some of the Espresso’s most important operating tasks.

After installing PBC Linear’s Uni-Guide, DTE was able to reduce each linear motion assembly from upwards of 10 pieces down to 2; creating a simpler, cost-effective printing machine. Today, Espresso machines are popping up in bookstores all around the world. From Harvard University to Cairo, Egypt, many places are realizing the new-found benefit of immediate book printing.

"Books as as physical objects will not pass away to be replaced by electronic signals read from glowing, hand-held screens. Nor will bookstores vanish...From this directory readers at their home computers may transfer the materials they select to machines capable of printing and binding single copies on demand at innumerable remote sites." (Preface XII: Book Business: Publishing Past, Present and Future).

To see the Espresso Book Machine in action, check out this latest video clip

For more information on Detroit Tool and Engineering, please visit their website: http://www.detroittool.com/

To learn more about the Uni-Guide linear slide and how it can be applied to streamline your next design, head over to the Uni-Guide section of the PBC Linear website www.pbclinear.com.

 
 

 

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