The speed at which things happen in bindery equipment sometimes makes it difficult to troubleshoot a problem. But with experience, we learn to follow the clues that problems leave behind. The way a wire stitch is misshapen can tell us what piece of the stitcher head is worn or broken. The location and direction of a bent corner in a folded brochure will lead us to where the problem is happening on a folding machine. The sounds of a folder or a saddle stitcher also help us to find and fix problems.
Even so, we sometimes need a little extra help, especially where something is happening too fast for the eye to clearly see. Here’s a way to do that by making use of something owned by almost everyone. If you have a smart phone, or an ipad or similar tablet, we’re going to show how you can start using it today to help solve bindery equipment problems.
Most of these phones and tablets have a built in video camera. The newer ones have a slow-motion setting you can use, and the older models have apps available to enable slow motion recording. As you’ll see, you can simply record a print finishing problem as it happens and then replay it in slow motion to find out what precisely IS happening.
In a recent article and video we talked about a different slow motion technique of sorts. In it you simply slow your machine as much as possible in order to isolate a problem. Of course there are limits. Changing the speed often eliminates the problem, so that’s no help. (And that’s not a solution if you’re trying to maintain a high production speed.) In other cases it’s just not possible to slow it down sufficiently to see what’s happening.
Slow motion video lets you record the machine at its regular running speed and view it at a much slower speed. Print finishing equipment is ideal for slow motion video because there are lots of things happening in a split second. In the video clip below, we show slow motion video of a stitcher head, an MBO folding machine delivery, a couple of three knife trimmers and a high-speed gluing head on a folder.
In the folder delivery clip you can see a problem happening. The other clips simply show some high speed, every-day print finishing activities at a speed where all the separate actions become visible. The video also has a few tips for shooting good quality video with your phone or tablet.
If something has you stumped and you can’t see what’s causing the problem, try using slow-motion video. You or a co-worker probably have the phone or tablet handy, so give it a shot. If you need to find the app for your device, simply do a web search for “slow motion apps” for your particular device. You can usually find one right away for almost any phone or tablet that doesn’t have a built-in slow-motion feature.
Slow motion video is also useful if you’re having operator difficulty with any Technifold or other tools. When you’re not sure how to explain a problem you can take a video (slow motion or even regular video) and email or text it to us. Send us a brief message using the Contact Us form and we’ll send you details.
Thanks to Todd Summers, a bindery equipment operator for Nittany Valley Offset, and Dave Double, owner of Double Equipment, for sharing their ideas and video clips with us. If you’re not already on our weekly Bindery Success™ newsletter list, use the form at the top of the page. Sign up today so you don’t miss any future bindery tips and videos!