Watchtower in Wallkill/USA: Corona/Diamant

Watchtower in Wallkill/USA: Corona/Diamant

In autmn 2004, the Watchtower printing house in the US town of Wallkill put a new production facility into operation. At the heart of the completely new production system is a Muller Martini “Corona/Diamant” production line, which is impressive due to the great number of options and great versatility it has to offer.

From the left: Carlos Martins (Project Manager, Muller Martini USA), Eric Lundy (Watchtower), Richard D. Graham (Watchtower), Douglas Armstrong (Watchtower) and Brian J. Marder (Sales Manager, Muller Martini USA) in front of the new hardcover bookline from Muller Martini.

Every week, the “New York Times” publishes a list of best-selling books. Needless to say, every publisher wants to see his publications in the Top Ten. If the “New York Times” included religious publications on its list, then The Bible and other religious literature would leave all the bestsellers in their tracks. “Awake!” magazine, published by Watchtower, reports that The Bible is the most widely distributed book in the world with an estimated five billion copies. It has been translated into no fewer than 2355 languages.

Ultra-modern book production system from Muller Martini
The Jehovah’s Witnesses are one of the world’s most dedicated groups involved in promoting Bible education, as well as producing and distributing Bible study aids. A short time ago, they put a new printing plant into operation in Wallkill, New York State. The construction at the new production facility with a floor space of almost 151,000 square feet began in April 2003 with the renovation of the existing premises. The new, ultra-modern building is dedicated to printing, whereas the bookbindery and mailroom are located adjacent to offices and residential buildings.

Among the machinery recently put into operation is a fully automatic hardcover bookline from Muller Martini. At the heart of the new system, on which 10 million hardcover books will be produced annually, are a “Corona” perfect binding line, a fully automatic buffer system and two “Diamant” booklines downstream. They are complemented by two addressing and packaging lines, followed by a palletizer.

120 books per minute
Every minute, 120 books can be produced on the hardcover production line. It consists of a 33-station gathering system, automatic divert gate and an inline endsheet feeder and paster. The “Corona C12/46” perfect binder is designed in such a way that the “FulDri” primer/hotmelt binding process with infra-red drying can supply both “Diamant” lines with sufficient book blocks through an intricate buffer system. Consequently the “Diamant” does not have to run any empty cycles. After intensive testing by Watchtower, in close collaboration with Muller Martini, it was decided that gluing was currently a better alternative to thread sewing and better satisfied their demanding printing standard.

Watchtower commented that they wanted their bound products to have a “hands-free” feature and are looking into the possibility of switching to PUR for their binding processes in the future. Drying and curing times of up to 15 minutes are possible before products reach the hardcover lines, because of the innovative, automatic buffer section with upstream drying towers.

Splitting saw for two-up production
A Muller Martini splitting saw, with a switchable turnover belt in the bypass, splits products made in two-up production. Bundles are formed in the CB16 book counter stacker and gently fed to the buffer section. Two “Merit S” three-knife trimmers take care of perfect trimming on three sides before products are fed into the two “Diamant” booklines. The two “Diamant” rounding and casing-in machines guarantee the maximum possible levels of automation, efficiency and rounding quality.

The CTP prepress and five web presses produce up to 294,000 magazines per hour with four-color printing. Signatures for hardcover and softcover are printed using one-up and two-up methods. Amongst other things, Watchtower produces a Bible with extremely thin 18 gram paper stock, gilded edges, a register ribbon and flexible binding. The work necessary to achieve this is carried out after trimming using appropriate edge gilding machines and a “Ribbon 60” ribbon inserting machine from VBF/Muller Martini. It is installed immediately adjacent to the main line, where products are then re-inserted into the inline production system.

Outstanding quality
The result of this elaborate finishing process is outstanding bookbinding quality. The finishing line is just as versatile with “BLSD 650” book stackers from Muller Martini, inline shrink wrapping, modular carton packaging, two inkjet label printers and “Cohiba” automatic palletizers.

Muller Martini also uses a control system, allowing operators to view the current status of the complete production line at any time on a central control console and to intervene where necessary. Should a malfunction occur at any point in the line, the control system automatically compensates the speed of all active assemblies accordingly. This means the entire hardcover system is always able to produce at the maximum possible performance rate.

At the request of Watchtower, Muller Martini has designed a very “tour-friendly” layout of the machinery for efficient “visitor management”. Every year, the plant, which is based in Wallkill, about two hours from New York, welcomes 50,000 visitors. Therefore, anyone who is interested in upgrading their book manufacturing system should definitely plan a visit to this attractive, highly-efficient production facility.

New at Watchtower: the “Diamant” book line from Muller Martini.

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