Heckman Bindery Tour

On October 25, 2000 four members of the University of Iowa Preservation Department took a trip to Heckman Bindery, inc. in North Manchester, Indiana. The purpose of the trip was to educate the preservation staff about the practices and procedures of a large library bindery. Paul Moeller, Anna Embree, Debra Miller and Susan Hansen took part in the trip.

Heckman Bindery, Inc. is the nations largest library bindery with a 100,000 square foot production facility and 4000 employees. All Heckman binding operations take place in the North Manchester facility and Heckman maintains a large trucking fleet for pick-up and delivery. Binding materials used in the facility (i.e. binders board, endsheets, buckram, spine cloth) are purchased from Library Binding Services (LBS) of Des Moines, IA.

Our visit to Heckman began with a tour of the binding facilities and a clarification of all the processes a book can go through in the facility. Highlights of the tour included:

  • The Mekatronics Ultrabind™ Integrated In-Line Adhesive Binder. This piece of equipment automates and streamlines the adhesive binding processes. After the covers have been removed, books are inserted into this machine; milling, notching, sanding, double-fanning, and the application of endsheets and a spine lining occur sequentially. The total time per book is about three minutes.
  • A demonstration of voice recognition software. Employees use this software as they measure the dimensions of books on the way to the casing line. As the measurements are taken, the information is spoken into a microphone and registered by a computer. The data is then sent to various stations within the plant where binding materials are prepared.
  • A tour of the conservation department. In this area restoration work is completed and custom enclosures, such as phase boxes, drop spine boxes and pockets are made. These services are done for private individuals as well as institutions. We were shown several examples of these services including family bibles, specialty boxes, and encapsulated books.

After the tour we were provided lunch and an opportunity to discuss problems, questions and concerns with the following Heckman Bindery executives: Greg Parnin, VP of Manufacturing; Jay Jellison, VP of Sales; Steve Sonafrank, Sales Representative; Bill DeWitt, VP of Information Services; Jane DeWitt, Manager Customer Services; Glenda Smith, Customer Service Representative .

Both interesting and informative, the trip to North Manchester, IN was a productive experience. The preservation department representatives gained a much better understanding of library binding procedures and this knowledge will undoubtedly facilitate communication and efficiency between the University of Iowa Libraries Preservation staff and Heckman personnel.