Integrated Bindery Systems

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About IBIS

An introduction, our team & history milestones

Smart-binder stitch heads

Introduction from John Cracknell, IBIS Managing Director

John Cracknell photo

Opening quotation markDigital printing continues to grow at the expense of traditional offset printing and we are proud to be part of this growth. However, the full benefits of digital printing cannot be realized without suitable ‘print finishing’. The IBIS team are experts in addressing these needs and specialize in the integration of high-speed finishing systems with continuous-web digital printers.

Since the year 2000 when we introduced the first in-line digital saddle-stitcher, our IBIS products have been used for a wide range of different jobs, including production of booklets for examinations, health care, financial services, insurance, government printing, manuals and many other applications. These booklets may be individually personalized, often have to be produced in very short time windows and require 100% integrity control.

Our flagship product, the IBIS ‘Smart-binder‘ system is fast, reliable, durable, easy-to-maintain and contains many innovative design features such as the option of ‘ISG’ cold-glue binding in place of conventional wire-stitching, and many other USPs to give you competitive advantage. It may be used in-line with the highest speed printers, or near-line/off-line. We also excel in integrating diverse modules from other manufacturers to create specialized systems with unique and customized features.

IBIS Smart-binder

We are proud of our long-standing and continuing partnerships with all of the major continuous inkjet printer manufacturers and digital post-press suppliers. Over 100 digital-printers around the world are benefiting from IBIS book-finishing systems and many of these are ‘repeat buyers’. Our products are backed up with first-class customer training and support.

Our customer’s success is our own success!Closing quotation mark

IBIS Location

We are based 30 miles (48km) from central London and only about 15 miles (24km) from Heathrow international airport.

Cover feeder and Cover auto-loader

IBIS installed products around the world

Map of IBIS installed products around the world

Smart-binder process description 02

Why buy from IBIS?

Reducing your production costs

  • In-line or off-line operation
  • Up to 2600 pages/min throughput (up to 14,000 books/hr output)
  • Stitched and glued books up to 60mm (2.36") thick from the same machine
  • Low running costs

Personization and book integrity

  • IBIS digital finishing solutions allow rapid and easy personalization of books on the run
  • 100% page integrity with absolute page and book tracking assured
  • Accurate Management Reporting and diagnostics provide external control and visibility

Enhancing book quality

  • Individual sheet folding for better lay-flat of saddle-bound books up to 200 pages
  • ISG cold gluing available for increased strength and improved lay-flat
  • Three-side trimming
  • Square-backed perfect bound books (SB-4 only) with 4-scored covers and wheel side-glue
  • for guaranteed book page integrity

Providing support and customization

  • Highly skilled specialist field engineers
  • Technical support by phone and email
  • First level on-site support from digital printer vendors
  • Large range of special options and added value features
  • Special engineering to customize systems to your specific needs

Increasing up-time

  • Very robust, high quality machine construction for 24/7 reliable operation
  • Easy and quick to maintain
  • Focus on operator and maintenance training

Smart-binder Output

Saddle-blued books

Saddle-stitched books up to 10mm (0.4") think

Saddle-glued books up to 10mm (0.4") thick - ISG cold glue

Saddle stitched and glued booklets

Square backed books

Square-back books made with cold and hot glue up to 60mm (2.36") thick

Square-back perfect-bound books up to 60mm (2.36") thick, hot-melt or PUR glue only

Square backed booklets

Smart-binder System

Smart-binder Flow Diagram

Smart-binder process description 02

The Smart-binder systems are all based upon IBIS's unique saddle-stitcher which was launched in 2004. Models SB-1 and SB-2 produce wire-stitched books only. Models SB-3 and SB-4 also include ISG cold gluing.

The Smart-binder models SB-4 and SB-5 include an additional perfect binder for thicker 'perfect-bound' book production in addition to saddle-bound books. The SB-4 includes a perfect binder directly after the saddle-stitcher. The SB-5 includes a perfect binder which is separate from the saddle stitcher.


Smart-binder Plus HS SB-1, SB-2, SB-3

  • For high-quality saddle-bound booklets
  • On-the-run' re-loading of cover sheets
  • SB-3 includes ISG cold gluing module to produce saddle-glued books
  • Upgradable to SB-4 or SB-5
Wire stitching

Smart-binder SB-4

  • For saddle-stitched booklets, saddlebound ISG cold-glued booklets and perfect-bound books made from ISG-glued signatures
  • In-line thick-book trimming
Wire stitching

Smart-binder SB-5

  • For saddle-stitched booklets, saddlebound ISG cold-glued booklets and conventional Perfect-bound books
  • In-line thick-book trimming
Wire stitching

Smart-binder Features

  • In-line connection with highest speed digital printers, or off-line operation from a high speed sheet feeder, or roll unwinder
  • Individual sheet folding for optimum book quality
  • Cover and Insert sheet feeding
  • Bar code tracking of all sheets and auto-rejection of bad books, to ensure integrity.
  • Smart-Data Analysis System
  • Book page count variable on the run
  • Three-knife trimming with optional centre-knife
  • Heavy duty construction for 24 x 7 operation
  • Easy-to-use touch-screen controls
  • Complete range of book format sizes
  • Optional sheet dynamic micro-perforation and hole punching
  • Optional sheet buffer for in-line applications

Smart-binder Configurations

View Smart Binder configurations (In-line, Near-line and Off-line) on the Smart-binder Description page

View the Smart-binder Configuration and Options Flow Diagram on the Smart-binder Description page.

Smart-binder Specifications

View specifications on the Smart Binder Specifications page


Smart-binder panel detail

IBIS Senior Management Team


The IBIS team are based in High Wycombe, near London in the UK.

The IBIS senior management team and founding partners include three Oxford and Cambridge engineering graduates.

John Cracknell, IBIS's Managing Director

John Cracknell (Managing Director)

40 years experience of book-binding machinery design and supply, including 20 years as Engineering Director with Heidelberg, AM and Harris.

Mark firth, IBIS's Engineering Director

Mark Firth (Engineering Director)

32 years experience of Print Finishing, specialising in system controls.

Martin Reed, IBIS's director of Manufacturing and Customer Support

Martin Reed (Director of Manufacturing and Customer Support)

34 years experience of book-binding machinery manufacture and supply.

Kim Price, IBIS,s Finance Director

Kim Price (Finance Director)

A Chartered Accountant who serves as Finance Director and Company Secretary in both the commercial and charity sectors, including 30 years’ experience in the print industry.

Our mission and values

Our mission

Our Values

Commitment: We are committed to bringing success to our customers.

Openness: We communicate honestly and frankly.

Integrity: We conduct ourselves correctly and deliver what we promise at all times.

Technical excellence: We take pride in high standards of engineering and providing maximum benefits to end-users.

Smart-binder page folder roller detail

IBIS History Milestone Events

From 0 to 1 billion books


History milestone events

2023 (Dec)

IBIS Smart-binder

IBIS doubles production output by moving Smart-binder assembly from the UK to a new larger factory in mainland Europe

2023 (Feb)

IBIS establishes a new market for Smart-binder Label printing and IBIS attends Hunkeler HID

2022 (April)

IBIS open up a new market for Smart-binders in Eastern Europe (producing instruction manuals at 150 m/min web speed using lightweight paper)

2021 (Feb)

IBIS Smart-binder

IBIS establishes a Smart-binder market in China for exam question paper production

2020 (Aug)

IBIS participate in the Napco 2020 'virtual' Ink Jet Summit

2019 (April)

IBIS's first sale of the Smart-binder system to the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

2018 (Sept)

IBIS launches the Smart-binder saddle-binder into the Korean market

2017 (Nov)

IBIS and Best Graphics

IBIS forms a new sales and service distribution partnership with Best Graphics Inc, USA. Best Graphics will focus on IBIS 'Smart-binder' sales to the Digital print market

2017 (May)

IBIS nominated for 'Best Case Study - Publishing' at Inkjet Summit 2017

2015 (Dec)

New IBIS sheet-feeder SB-097 now allows in-line connected Smart-binders to also be fed from a sheet pile feeder

2015 (Oct)

Sprint-binder PB-600R, Sprint-binder PB-1200R and Sprint-binder PB-2000J

New IBIS line up for in-line Perfect Binding (hot glue binding) - the Sprint-binder PB-600R, Sprint-binder PB-1200R and the Sprint-binder PB-2000J

2014 (Sept)

IBIS is awarded ‘top marks’ for exam booklet production, with around 30 Smart-binders producing stitched (or glued) and trimmed exam papers at customer locations all around the world

2014 (May)

IBIS and Friedheim International sign UK distribution and support deal

2014 (May)

IBIS celebrates 15 years of supplying high-end book finishing solutions for digital print

2014 (Mar)

Smart-binder SB-3 Plus HS

IBIS exhibits a Smart-binder SB-3 ‘Plus HS’ on its own stand at IPEX in London

2013 (Oct)

New version ‘stretched’ Smart-binder (‘X’ model) launched for tabloid size output, or two-up A5 portrait

2013 (Aug)

IBIS strengthens sales and support with new OEM partnerships

2013 (July)

Smart-binder SB-2 Plus HS

IBIS launches a new higher-performance Smart-binder ‘PLUS HS’ for production of variable page-count, digitally printed booklets

2012 (Dec)

More than a billion booklets have been made on IBIS digital-saddle-stitchers around the world

2012 (Sept)

IBIS celebrates the shipment of the 100th Smart-binder to a firm in Boston. IBIS continues to be the leading supplier of high-speed, variable page-count booklet systems to leading U.S. firms such as Principal Financial, Farmer's Insurance, Pearson, O'Neil Data Systems, Excellus, R.R. Donnelley, ifetouch, and many more

2012 (June)

The first IBIS system with automatic on the run changeover between saddle-stitching and perfect binding is installed at a customer in Rome, Italy in-line with an Océ JetStream 2200 printer at 150 metres/min web speed

2012 (May)

Smart-binder Plus saddle stitcher

Drupa, Germany: IBIS launches the higher performance Smart-binder ‘Plus’ saddle stitcher and the new 1,500 books/hour Sprintbinder 4-clamp perfect binder

2012 (June)

Sprint-binder 4-clamp perfect binder

The first IBIS system with automatic on the run changeover between saddle-stitching and perfect binding is installed at a customer in Rome, Italy in-line with an Océ JetStream 2200 printer at 150 metres/min web speed

2011 (May)

IBIS is granted a patent for its unique ISG saddle cold-glue system as used on the Smart-binder

2009 (June)

IBIS 10th birthday celebrations

IBIS celebrates its 10th birthday with an Open House and social events for staff and customers

2006 (May)

IPEX, UK : Xerox and Delphax show the Smartbinder SB-4 which can produce saddle-stitched, ISG glued and perfect-bound books all in one system

2006 (July)

Toppan Forms, Tokyo places IBIS's largest-ever single order for multiple Smart-binder SB-3 systems

2004 (May)

Smart-binder SB-3 saddle stitcher

The new IBIS Smart-binder SB-3 digital saddle-stitcher is launched on the Océ, Kern & Xerox stands, featuring IBIS’s patented Individual Sheet Gluing (ISG) binding system

2003 (June)

Following worldwide success with 40 Digi-stitchers installed with Oce printers worldwide, IBIS opens up sales channels to other printer manufacturers in addition to Océ. These include IBM and Xerox

2003 (April)

RR Donnelleys installs first Digistitcher in the USA in-line with Océ web printer

2001 (Sept)

IBIS HQ in High Wycombe UK

IBIS moves into its new headquarters in High Wycombe UK

2000 (May)

IBIS Digi-stitcher DST2

Drupa, Germany: The Digi-stitcher DST2 is launched to the world market at drupa in Düsseldorf

2000 (April)

The first IBIS 'Digi-stitcher (the world’s first high speed in-line digital saddle-stitcher) is installed at The Stationery Office, London, to make stitched documents in-line with an Océ high speed web printer. This system produces ‘The London Gazette’ and other documents for the UK government

1999 (Oct)

IBIS sign up to an exclusive sales contract agreed with Océ Printing Systems, Munich

1999 (May)

John Cracknell, Mark Firth and Malcolm Allitt form IBIS Integrated Bindery Systems. The new IBIS engineering team design its first in-line digital-finishing product