Binding Styles Explained
Plastic Comb Binding
Plastic comb binding is one of the most popular forms of binding. Plastic combs are not only durable, but they can be re-used.
Plastic combs are widely used by schools, businesses and are easy for home use.
Users have the option to purchase a machine with an electric or manual punch. Manual punches are usually used for small to medium volume jobs and the electric punches are usually used for medium to high volume jobs. It all depends on how much work needs to be done.
Plastic comb binders first punch the holes for the paper. After punching the holes, the user places a binding comb on the machine. Pulling a handle then opens the combs. While the comb is open, the user places the comb through the holes and closes the plastic comb to bind the document.
Standard plastic comb binding machines punch 21 holes along the long side of A4 paper. Plastic combs can bind anything from a couple of sheets up to 450 sheets of printer paper or the equivalent. Plastic comb bound documents lay flat, but sheets cannot be turned through a full 360 degrees (back to back) on the spine to take up less room when being viewed. Plastic comb documents can also be re-opened to edit documents by adding or removing sheets.
Some binding machines such as the Magnum and Intimus CW series, together with the GBC Multibind units can be used with plastic combs and wire (see below).
Click here to view comb binding machines
Click here to view dual-function comb & wire
Most people agree that wire binding offers a more professional and aesthetically pleasing finish when compared to plastic comb binding.
Wire bound documents lie perfectly flat and sheets can be turned through a full 360 degrees (back to back) on the spine to save space when viewing. In addition, pages are bound so securely that they won't fall out and documents maintain their neat appearance for the lifetime of the information. Wire bound documents cannot be edited once bound.
There are two different types of wire binding. These are known as 3:1 pitch (or 34 loop) and 2:1 pitch (or 23 loop).
3:1 wire means that the machine will punch 3 holes per inch (or 34 holes in total along the long side of an A4 sheet of paper – hence 34 loop). The user can only use 3:1 wire with a machine that punches 3:1 or a multi-format machine that punches both 3:1 and 2:1. 3:1 wires are available up to 16mm diameter (around 140 sheets of printer paper), although most machines can only take 3:1 wires up to 14.3mm (around 120 sheets of printer paper). Generally, only Renz brand machines can take 3:1 wires up to 16mm. 3:1 is the most common wire format available in the market.
2:1 wire means that the machine will punch 2 holes per inch (or 23 holes in total along the long side of an A4 sheet of paper – hence 23 loop). The user can only use 2:1 wire with a machine that punches 2:1 or a multi-format machine that punches both 3:1 and 2:1. 2:1 wires are available up to 38mm diameter (around 340 sheets of printer paper), although most machines can only take 2:1 wires up to 28.5mm (around 250 sheets of printer paper). Generally, only Renz brand machines can take 2:1 wires up to 38mm. 2:1 is less common than 3:1 but still readily available.
There is an additional variation on 2:1 wire which still consists of 2 holes per inch but only totals 21 holes in total along the long side of an A4 sheet. This is made especially for GBC multi-function comb and wire binding machines only.
A wire binding machine is easy to use. After punching the paper, the user inserts the wire and closes the wire. The wire closer is usually built into the machine. Separate wire closers can be purchased for professional, modular systems or high volume set-ups.
Some binding machines such as the Magnum and Intimus CW series, together with the GBC Multibind units can be used with plastic combs and wire (see below). Magnum and Intimus also offer WW series models which uniquely can be used with both 3:1 and 2:1 wire formats.
Click here to view wire binding machines
Click here to view dual-function comb & wire
Coil binding is a continuous PVC filament formed into the shape of a spring. It is very similar to the spiral notebooks you may have used in school.
Coil bound documents lie perfectly flat and sheets can be turned through a full 360 degrees (back to back) on the spine to save space when viewing.
Coil binding provides a distinctive look but does require a certain knack in terms of binding and can take time to get used to.
Sheets are punched in the usual way and then the coils are spun on to the document through the punched holes using a motorised roller built into the machine. Once inserted, the coils need crimping either end to prevent sheets from coming off the spine
As with plastic binding and double loop wire binding, users can purchase the coil binding machine with a manual or electric punch. A manual punch will be fine for a small to medium workload. Most users will probably want an electric punch if they will be involved in larger volume binding.
Coil binding is 4:1 pitch meaning 4 holes per inch. Binding coils are available up to 17mm diameter (around 140 sheets of printer paper).
Click here to view coil binding machines
No binding style is more secure, because strip binding literally locks pages in place. For sleek, slim styling, books lay flat for easy filing and mailing.
Strip Binding comes in a variety of colours using only 3 sizes of elements, and can securely bind books up to 75mm thick (around 750 sheets of printer paper).
Strip Binding uses a 6mm wide binding element. The spines come with a front and back that is linked by the prongs on the front piece.
With the exception of the Velobind Personal unit, strip binding systems trim any excess prong on the front spine before heat welding the front of the spine to the rear for a neat and totally tamper-proof finish, making this solution very popular for legal and accountancy documents. This system is available with manual and electric punching.
Click here to view strip binding machines
Thermal binding creates presentations, proposals and reports with a clean, sleek look, in seconds! Bound books are easy to use, mail and file easily, and have a library quality appearance.
Thermal binding is a simple concept. The thermal binding machines use pre-glued covers that usually consist of a clear acetate front and a colour-coordinated card-based spine and rear cover. Hardback thermal binding covers are also available for use with appropriate machines. Paper is loaded into the cover and the cover is placed in the pre-heated holding tray on the machine. The machine heats the glue up and informs the user by audio and visual indicators when the binding cycle is complete and the document can be removed. After the glue cools the user is left with a well bound document.
Although the covers are more expensive than other methods of binding, they provide a professional bound document for the low volume user and binding can be carried out quickly and easily using this system. Most machines allow the simultaneous binding of multiple documents up to the stated maximum overall sheet capacity for fast, high-volume binding.
“Fastback” binding is a branded variation on thermal binding using a similar principle but with binding strips that run down the spine of the document rather than an integral cover incorporating a front, spine and rear. This system cannot bind multiple documents at once but nevertheless is a fast binding method for commercial/professional use.
Click here to view thermal binding machines
Channel binding is a prestige binding method producing a document with a high-standard of finish that projects a quality image. The system uses soft and hardback covers incorporating a “U”-shaped channel in the spine that is compressed by the machine to bind the sheets securely in place. A hardback cover produces a document that looks as professionally bound as a hardback book. Binding is very quick and straightforward using the covers which are of varying maximum sheet capacities and chosen according to the number of sheets the user wishes to bind. Soft covers generally have a clear front with a colour coordinated spine and rear, whereas hardback covers are opaque. Documents can be “de-bound” for editing and re-binding using the optional de-bind tool available.
Click here to view channel binding machines
Click binding uses unique plastic spines with a distinctive and “funky” look.
Users have the option to purchase a machine with an electric or manual punch. Manual punches are usually used for small to medium volume jobs and the electric punches are usually used for medium to high volume jobs. It all depends on how much work there is to do.
After punching the holes, sheets are placed on the spine and then the user “zips” the spine closed using the included zipping tool.
Clicks can bind anything from a couple of sheets up to 140 sheets of printer paper or the equivalent. Documents lay flat and can be turned through a full 360 degrees (back to back) on the spine to take up less room when being viewed. Click bound documents can also be re-opened to edit documents by adding or removing sheets.