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What is doublebinding?

     For as long as books have existed, everybody had wanted three simple things: books that fold open flat without having to be forced ("layflat"), books that don't fall apart, and books that are affordable. This is what readers want and this is what publishers want.

     When binding books, the most popular three choices have been: Smythe sewing (involving needle and thread, perfect binding (EVA), or PUR binding. But now there is a fourth option. An option that will satisfy more needs than any other: doublebinding.

The popular alternatives

     So far, Smythe sewing and PUR binding has been two great options. But they have serious drawbacks. Both binding systems result in books that are very strong and lie open flat. Unfortunately, Smythe sowing is slow, labour-intensive and quite expensive. Imagine many packets of pages being sewed together using needle and thread and you know what we're talking about. Sewn books are fantastic, but they are often too expensive to be practical. Remember, a sewn book still needs to be "perfect bound" in order to draw on the cover - thus required a two step process.

     PUR binding (polyurethane reactive) requires very expensive equipment, can be fairly wasteful and expensive to run, and is extremely unforgiving. It also requires a very long time for books to cure. Nevertheless, PUR binding yields very good results and is often used for large production runs by publishers who know that good, strong books that demand a premium are vital. Unfortunately the complicated nature of the PUR glue and the high cost of PUR machines makes PUR binding an option that even many large publishers are not willing to consider.



 The problem: Non-layflat perfect binding

 The solution: Doublebinding - true layflat results!

     That leaves perfect binding as by far the most popular binding method in the world today. Perfect binding uses a glue called EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) which is a fairly safe and forgiving glue to use. The problem is that perfect binding yields a bind that isn't very strong and which generally tends to result in books that resist laying open flat. Still, perfect binding is cheap for both small and large scale production. It doesn't require very much expertise, and it certainly results in books that are generally more affordable. This is what makes it so popular.

Doublebinding to the rescue

     Doublebinding is a technology that was developed by printers for printers, after ten years of frustration. The inventors of doublebinding technology have many years behind them in small-, medium- and industrial scale printing. Too many times they have seen and experienced the financial disaster and embarrassment related to a book binding job that went wrong. When Syncrom was started, ten years ago, the aim was to develop the strongest perfect binding machine in the world. After years of development, they achieved just that. Syncrom's perfect binding machine range eventually succeeded in out-performing the very best machines in their class anywhere in the world and hundreds were sold to satisfied customers. But that was still not enough. Something was missing.

     The problem was that no matter how strong the bind was, the paper had to do the flexing when the book was opened. Perfect binding essentially results in a thick spine that cannot bend. If it is forced to bend, the spine breaks and the page leafs fall out. The solution was to apply very thin EVA in-between the pages. This is achieved by passing the book across a very special glue-coated roller while the pages are blown apart by an oscillating jet of ionized air so that the glue can penetrate. This increased the surface area for bonding enormously and at the same time had the tremendous benefit of dispensing with nipping the pages altogether. Gone are the days of cutting tips that break, and the dust and noise. Because the glue was now applied primarily between pages, the spines could be thinner than had ever before been possible.

Doublebinding is a binding method which applies the specially formulated hotmelt binding agent (EVA) in-between pages, in stead of merely on the ridges.

     The stronger bonds and thinner spines now has the effect that spines can be bent back to the extreme. In fact, what can now be done used to be - and still is - unthinkable in perfect binding: The spine can be bent into a perfect "U" without any damage at all! This is often referred to as the "subway test" since this is the preferred method for commuters to hold paperback books whilst reading them. Even after repeated "subway test" bending, tests reveal that the binding strength is still not compromised.

"...doublebinding on the vorTEX/////doublebind
machine yields a pull-strength
that is
three times the GPO standard!"

     Syncrom's tests have revealed that doublebinding on the vorTEX/////doublebind machine yields a pull-strength that is nearly three times the GPO standard! This means that doublebinding is the strongest bind in the world, as far as EVA as a glueing method is concerned. The method of application and nature of the product produced is so unique that the process has been patented and doublebinding has been registered as a trademark.

This is what we call "extreme layflat." Can your books survive this test?
(Media: Standard 80gsm bond, with a 170gsm semi-gloss cover )

     Doublebinding today stands on par with PUR. PUR has advantages in extreme temperature conditions and on certain heavily-coated papers, and papers with very heavy ink coverage. But even then, doublebinding far out-performs perfect binding. And when the high cost and complexity of running PUR machines productively and safely are considered, doublebinding continues to be the most practical choice for most customers.

If you can see tomorrow, you will see that doublebinding is the technology of the future.

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