Have you been looking for a way to create stylish, secure, and professional-looking bound documents within your own office or home? In this post, we will provide an overview of thermal binding – a steadily growing binding style that is both customizable and attractive.
There are two types of thermal binding – binding with an adhesive spine and binding with sets of pronged plastic bars (commonly referred to as “VeloBind spines”). The most popular thermal binding style involves the application of an adhesive-lined spine to a set of documents using a specialized machine that heats the spine and melts the glue, allowing adhesive to permeate the documents and create a bind. These spines are available in a few styles, including varieties that have pre-attached covers in both soft- and hard-cover formats. VeloBind-style binding is preferred by people looking to create tamper-proof binds, as it is impossible to edit without having to rebind the document. To bind with these spines, the user punches the documents with the proper hole pattern, inserts the pronged side through the holes and then slides the flat side onto the prongs. The document is then placed into a VeloBind binding machine, which trims the prongs to size and melts the ends to secure the bind.
Thermal Binding Spines
Adhesive-lined thermal spines are generally offered in four styles: binding strips, utility covers, soft covers, and hard covers. Binding strips do not have any covers attached, and are available in a wide range of colors and widths. Utility covers are pre-made soft covers that have paper backs and clear front covers. Because they are pre-assembled, they are only available in a specific range of sizes with select paper stocks for the backs. For those looking to create a more individualized bound document, custom covers are a great option. Available in both soft- and hard-cover styles, custom covers enable the user to select the finish, stock, and size, and allow for the addition of personalized lettering or graphics. With only a few covers varieties available as stock styles, many of the covers have to be custom ordered which makes them somewhat more expensive than VeloBind spines and requires additional processing time.
VeloBind spines (also called “hot knife strips”) are available in 9-, 11-, and 14-pin varieties, which accommodate binding on 8 1/2”, 11” and 14” paper. They are able to secure up to 750 pages in a single book, making them the preferred choice for large documents. Though they are not customizable like the adhesive-lined covers, hot knife strips do come in a broad range of attractive colors. Since they are all stock items, the turnaround on purchasing VeloBind strips is generally faster and the cost is lower.
Thermal Binding Machines
Thermal binding machines that perform perfect binding with adhesive strips or covers are extremely easy to operate and require no punching. Simply insert the document into the cover or strip, place it into the opening of the machine, and allow to heat for the specified amount of time. The resulting bind is neat and permanent, and the customizable nature of the covers makes perfect binding a popular choice with many businesses.
Binding with VeloBind spines requires punching with a specialized hole pattern before performing the thermal bind, which generally means that the machines cost more than other thermal binding systems. Because of the additional punching step, VeloBinding is commonly regarded as being one of the most secure and tamper-resistant binding styles, which is why it is often used in binding legal documents.
To learn more about any of the thermal binding machines available at Lamination Depot, visit our thermal binding equipment section.
Creating professional-looking bound documents is easy with thermal binding. With two distinct styles to choose from, users are able to decide between security and the ability to customize to create a document that fits their specific needs. Each of the two methods only requires the use of a single machine, with no additional crimpers, closers, or other specialized equipment required. Perfect binding generally requires less of an initial investment, since the thermal binding machines are not as expensive, but the spines themselves are often custom and therefore cost more. VeloBinding machines cost more upfront because they perform a punching function in addition to the thermal binding function, but the hot knife binding strips are usually stock items, and are less expensive than custom perfect binding covers. Regardless of which style you choose, thermal binding is a great way to create bound documents that look and feel professionally-made at a reasonable cost.