For the new plant, Showa Note planned to install a line for perfect binding, and in September 2019, the company installed an Apressia CTX132 Programmable Hydraulic Clamp Cutting System. Yasuo Kawasaki, Executive Director of Showa Note, explains, "We decided to make better notebooks for our customers, items with perfect binding that open up easily. With the installation of the perfect binding machine, a cutting system was required."
Manufacturing and marketing learning materials such as notebooks, pencil cases and erasers, with its main efforts going into the production of the 'Japonica Workbooks,' notebooks for elementary school pupils, Showa Note Co., Ltd. in 2017 marked the 70th anniversary of its founding by starting construction of a new plant, which was completed the following year. Yasuo Kawasaki, Executive Director
"The factory manager liked the Apressia CTX132 when he saw it at the Komori booth at IGAS. Then he visited a printing company that had installed the system and saw it operating. I also went to see a demonstration at Komori's Tsukuba plant. Because of the declining workforce, investing in the Apressia CTX132, which saves labor through automation, was absolutely the right decision." To promote innovation in moving from the old to the new plant, a setup was devised to not only create a coherent flow from printing to binding and packing but also to improve the stationing of personnel.
Section Chief Koichi Maeda, who oversees the Apressia CTX132 on the floor, explains: "When the printed sheets stacked on the lifter are moved to the jogger, a sensor raises the lifter by that amount. You can take the sheets without bending over. Next, when the foot button on the cutting system side is pressed, the sheets are automatically moved from the jogger to the cutting system and then cut in three directions while being turned automatically. The sheets are slid manually from the cutting system to the unloader, and when the button is pressed, are automatically loaded onto the pallet. Trim waste is efficiently discharged through the duct of a transparent vacuum-driven pipe that we built ourselves."
School notebooks are B5 size in finished format and cutting of the covers will be changed from six-page to three-page vertical imposition with the new binding system. Mr. Kawasaki says the changes have led to increased in-house production and greater cost savings. Mr. Maeda says, "Although the amount of in-house work is increasing, I have the impression that the number of employees needed is decreasing. With the previous cutting process, three of us were in charge of one cutting machine. One person placed the sheets from the pallet onto the jogger, and one handled cutting. The third person loaded cut sheets onto the pallet. With this cutting system, one person can do the work singlehandedly."
Kawasaki highlights the Apressia's impact on worker safety and health: "The Apressia CTX132 is structurally designed to prevent workers from touching the blade, and from management's standpoint, we appreciate the high level of safety. We also expect health benefits from the new cutter. Scenes of moving heavy piles of paper are much fewer, and thus the physical load on workers' back and legs is reduced. I think the Apressia CTX132 is an indispensable machine, and in the future, we will produce notebooks of even higher quality."