There are many wonderful binding options offered to today’s consumer, ranging from traditional methods that have been around for decades to innovative, new styles that are just emerging. As a result, selecting the right machine and supplies to fit your unique needs can be a daunting task. In this post, we will cover the basics of wire binding, which is one of the most durable and secure of the traditional binding styles.

The Basics

Wire binding uses twin loop wires (also called “duo-wires,” “double loop wires,” “wire-o,” and “wirebinds”) to create strong and secure bound booklets. There are two distinct punch patterns used in wire binding – 2:1 pitch (two holes per inch) and 3:1 pitch (three holes per inch). The 3:1 pitch patter uses square holes, and is designed for small documents with fewer than 120 pages. The 2:1 pitch pattern, which is made up of rectangular holes, is reserved for larger documents with page counts of 110 pages or more. Depending on your binding volume, the holes can be punched using either a manual or electric punch. After the pages have been punched with the appropriate hole pattern, the holes in the document are aligned with the prongs of the wire and inserted. A specialized device called a wire closer is then used to gently bend the prongs of the wire into the closed position to secure the documents in place.

Twin Loop Binding Wires

Twin loop wires are available in both 2:1 and 3:1 pitches, and are sold in pre-cut, 11″ lengths as well as bulk spools for production environments. They are offered in a variety of colors, though not quite as many as plastic binding coils or 19-ring binding combs. Unlike plastic binding combs, duo-wires do not need to be opened before a document can be inserted as they are already in an “open” state. The looped design of binding wires enables wire-bound documents to lay flat when opened, making them an excellent choice for reports or presentations.

For information on which wire size to use for your project, refer to this wire binding chart. To see the selection of wire sizes and colors offered by Lamination Depot, visit our wire binding supplies section.

Wire Binding Machines

Wire binding utilizes two individual processes – punching the document and closing the binding wire to secure the document in place. Both punching and closing can be accomplished using either manual or electric machines, however electric wire closers are far less common than manual versions (and are generally only used in high volume production environments). Most wire binding machines offer both punching and closing capabilities, there are some stand-alone units that only punch or close (in addition to modular punches, which usually do not include a built-in wire closer).

When researching machines that perform punching (either with or without an inserter), there are a number of factors to consider. Most wire binding machines only punch a single pitch, which means that you will have to determine how many pages your average document will be and select the pitch that corresponds to that size. The 3:1 pitch pattern will bind documents ranging between 20 and 120 pages, and the 2:1 pitch pattern will bind documents between 110 and 260 pages. If you expect to bind a range of document sizes, then you may want to invest in a multi-function binding machine that is capable of punching with both patterns or a modular binding machine that uses interchangeable dies.

One of the biggest differences 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 6-25 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.

Wire closers apply steady, uniform pressure to gently push the prongs of the wire closed. Since the wires are made of metal, documents bound with them are extremely tamper-resistant. Unlike combs, which can be opened and reused, or coils, which are easily removed and replaced, wire spines have to be bent or cut in order the edit the document, and specialized equipment is required to close a replacement wire.

To learn more about any of the wire binding machines available at Lamination Depot, visit our wire binding equipment section.

In Review

Wire binding is a popular method of document binding that creates books that are both attractive and functional. Because the wires are made of metal instead of plastic, they are more resistant to tampering and more durable than spiral binding coils or 19-ring combs. There are two distinct punch patterns used in wire binding – 2:1 pitch and 3:1 pitch – which accommodate specific document thicknesses. The punch patterns and supplies are not interchangeable, so it is important to purchase a binding machine that uses the appropriate pitch for your document size as well as the corresponding binding wires. If you plan on binding documents with a wide range of page counts, then you should consider a multi-function or modular binding machine that will enable you to punch using both 2:1 and 3:1 pitches. With both manual and electric punching and wire closing options available, it is possible to achieve a professional-looking and secure bound document within practically any budget. Electric punching can greatly increase binding speed and reduce operator fatigue, so it is recommended for high-volume production environments.

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