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Choosing Between the Fastback 9 and Unibind XU138 Binding Machines

Both the UniBind and Powis Parker Fastback Model 9 appear to be similar thermal binding systems that yield professional binding for manufacturing documents; however there are very distinct differences between UniBind and Fastback. This article will help you understand the differences between these systems so that you can choose the system that best suits your needs.

Both the UniBind and Powis Parker Fastback Model 9 appear to be similar thermal binding systems that yield professional binding for manufacturing documents; however there are very distinct differences between UniBind and Fastback.

One of the most distinct differences between UniBind and Fastback is that UniBind utilizes a steel spine and Fastback uses a flexible binding strip. There are some advantages and disadvantages to each method.

The steel spine used by UniBind in the SteelBack, SteelCrystal, SteelMat and SteelBook covers is a rigid, U-shaped channel with a thermally activated adhesive. The steel channel offers a rugged bind, but does not lay flat. One advantage to the UniBind method is that the pages of the book can be stapled offering a secure bind. The staples will then be hidden by the rigid steel spine. One of the biggest disadvantages to the UniBind method is that the spine sizes are fixed widths. In other words, a spine may fit a range of 30 pages. If your document is on the smaller side of the range, you will see a gap when looking at the edge of the book.

The Powis Parker system uses the Lx strips. These strips are available in the Lx SuperStrip (similar to a linen finish), the Lx CompStrip (leatherette), Lx Perfectback Strips for perfect binding and the Halfback covers. The Model 9 also has the ability to bind a hard cover as well as the new Image Strip from Powis Parker. The wide range of binding methods available for the Model 9 makes it a much more flexible binding system. The Lx strip is a paper based strip with an aggressive thermally activated adhesive that is tightly wrapped on the spine of the document. The result is a strong bind with a lay flat finish. In the event that you are binding glossy or thick stocks, you can stitch the edge of the book block prior to the binding process. You will need to make sure that you flatten the staple prior to binding to ensure that the staple does not come through the strip.

Another major difference is in the pricing for each method. The Model 9 from Powis Parker is approximately $1500.00 more than the UniBind XU 138. While the Model 9 is quite a bit higher in price, the supplies are dramatically less expensive. It cost less than $0.30 per bind with the Fastback system while the UniBind system starts at over $1.00 per bind. It is also important to look at the inventory costs when comparing the two systems. UniBind covers are quite a bit more bulky than the FastBack supplies as they have incorporated covers. UniBind offers 12 spine sizes to cover 1mm to 36mm or just under 1 ". Meanwhile the Lx strip is only the binding spine and takes up a minimal amount of space. The Fastback Model 9 has 2 spine sizes that go up to 1".

Another feature that is found with the Fastback binding system is the environmentally friendly materials that Powis Parker has developed for the binding strips. The company commitment of Powis Parker to develop and promote sustainable product options allows for this unique binding system to offer products such as SuperStrips that when combined with paper reports allows for 100 percent recyclable alternative. Despite the aggressive characteristics of the adhesive used to bind documents with the Fastback thermal binding system, even the adhesive is proven to be environmentally sound to promote green binding alternatives.

The XU 138 from UniBind is a basic but very durable machine that is very well suited for producing a series of documents that are of the same spine sizes. UniBind has also become popular for photo books and other hard cover binds as it is a one step binding process for the hard cover. The Model 9 is a fast and easy to use system that offers a premium finished appearance with a wide variety of finish options. While the Model 9 binds in about half as much time as the XU 138, the XU 138 allows you to bind multiple books in a single bind cycle. UniBind offers very durable and attractive binding covers that are of a much higher quality than traditional thermal binding options. Powis Parker, however, offers the highest quality coversFind Article, strips and hard covers on the market today for a premium finish every time.

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Jeff McRitchie is the director of Marketing for . He has written more than five hundred articles on topics related to binding machines, binding supplies, presentation covers, ring binders, index tabs, laminators, laminating pouches, roll film, shredders and paper handling equipment. If you have any questions about Fastback Binding Equipment or Fastback Binding Supplies check out

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