Cutting component count helps cut books
The world of print publishing is changing. New inventions, such as tablet computers, 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 DT Engineering to reduce the overall assembly count, improve performance and reduce the overall total cost.
Available in college libraries and bookstores worldwide, the Espresso Book Machine can automatically print, bind and trim on demand at point of sale perfectly bound, bookstore 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, DT 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 these components took up space and required complex assembly. DT Engineering 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 PBC Linear solution
The Uni-Guide is comprised of a simple, two-piece rail and carriage assembly. The rails have dual shafts, precision machined along the edge to ensure perfect alignment and parallelism. This provides for a more streamlined design without bulky mounting pieces or painstaking assembly work. Equipped with Simplicity® plain bearings, 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.
Results / ROI
After installing PBC Linear’s Uni-Guide, DT Engineering 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.