With all of the binding styles available in today's marketplace, it can sometimes be a challenge to determine which one is right for your needs. From purchasing the appropriate machine to determining what supplies you will need for any given project, it is important to be able to identify the benefits and limitations of each binding style. In this post, we will cover the basics of coil binding, which is currently among the most popular binding types.
Also referred to as spiral binding, coil binding utilizes plastic coils in order to create custom booklets. The punch pattern for coil binding is 4:1 pitch (four holes per inch), and can be created using either a manual or electric punch. After the pages have been punched with the appropriate hole pattern, a coil is fed through the holes by hand or with an electric coil inserter. A specialized set of coil crimping pliers is used to cut and crimp the ends of the coil, which secures it in place and stops it from unwinding.
Plastic Binding Coils
Plastic binding coils are available in a broad range of sizes, accommodating as few as 30 pages and as many as 460 pages. They come in standard 12" lengths, which are made up of 48 loops and are sized to bind 8 1/2" x 11" (letter size) paper. Some sizes are also offered in 36" lengths, which can be used for binding even larger documents. Coil sizing is based upon the diameter of the coil in millimeters. Binding coils offer the greatest color variety of any binding style, which makes them a great choice for individuals or organizations that are looking to create custom documents featuring team or company colors. The coil design also allows booklets to lay flat when opened, and for the cover to be folded back so that only a single page is visible. Plastic coils are very durable, and are the only mechanical binding spine that can be inserted by hand.
For information on which size coil to use for your project, refer to this coil binding chart. To see the selection of coil sizes and colors offered by Lamination Depot, visit our coil binding supplies section.
Coil Binding Machines
Coil binding is based on two individual processes – punching the documents that are to be bound and inserting the binding coil into the punched documents. Both of these processes can be accomplished using either manual or electric means, however manual inserting is only recommended for low-volume binding (or for binding with coils over 22mm). Many coil binding machines perform both processes, but it is important to read the description thoroughly because some machines only punch while others only insert coils into punched documents.
When researching machines that perform punching (either with or without an inserter), there are a number of factors to consider. The primary difference between available models is whether they are manual or electric, which has a major impact on the speed at which the operator is able to complete a job (with electric punches being much faster). Some punches only punch letter-sized paper, while others can accommodate larger sizes. The punch capacity (the number of sheets that can be punched at one time) ranges from 10-55 sheets, and some machines offer the ability to selectively disengage some or all of the punching pins (which allows the user to punch non-standard paper sizes or specialty paper, such as three-hole paper). Many machines include an adjustable depth margin, enabling the operator to move the placement of the holes relative to the edge of the paper. A number of professional-level machines punch oval holes instead of circular holes, which makes for easier coil insertion and more fluid page turning for readers. Select machines include other punching patterns in addition to the 4:1 pitch coil pattern, making them a cost-effective option for organizations interested in performing multiple binding styles (such as comb and wire).
Electric inserters utilize small rollers that spin and advance the binding coil through the holes of the punched document. Depending on the model, the roller ranges from 4 to 11" in length and is generally operated by a foot pedal. Select models also include an electric coil cutter and crimper to streamline the production process, while others include a pair of manual cutting and crimping pliers. Basic, low-volume machines do not always include pliers, so they will need to be purchased separately as they are required for completing a coil bind.
To learn more about any of the coil binding machines available at Lamination Depot, visit our coil binding equipment section.
Coil binding is a popular, easy-to-use mechanical binding method that results in booklets that lay flat and can be folded backwards. The plastic coils used to bind the pages together are durable, inexpensive and available in the largest selection of colors of any binding spine style. With both manual and electric punching and inserting options available, it is possible to achieve a professional-looking, bound document within practically any budget. It is the only mechanical binding style that can be preformed manually, but because manual inserting is time consuming, it is recommended only for low-volume users. Electric punching and inserting can greatly increase binding speed and reduce operator fatigue, so it is recommended for high-volume production environments.