Perfect Binding or Lay Flat Binding? And what’s all this talk about PUR?

26 Aug

For many years, the term perfect binding referred to only one style of binding. Today, the term has expanded to include the use of specialty adhesives, and a variation of perfect binding called Lay Flat Binding. When requesting binding services, be sure to specify both the type of binding and the adhesive you have in mind for your project.

Put simply, perfect binding is a method of binding that puts all the signatures or pages together into a book block, roughens the binding edge, and uses a flexible adhesive to attach the paper cover to the book block. Paperback novels are one example of perfect bound books. Booklets, telephone directories, and some magazines use perfect binding methods. Compared to other binding methods, perfect binding is quite durable and has a low to medium cost.

Traditional perfect binding methods use a hot-melt adhesive which, while still a great method of binding, can have some limitations in certain usages. A superior type of adhesive called PUR (Polyurethane Reactive) is the strongest, most flexible book binding adhesive available. It offers superior page-pull strength over that of standard hot melt binding adhesives, making PUR ideal for heavy-use applications or projects with heavy ink or coating coverage. Foldouts, mixed stocks and other options are no problem with PUR adhesive binding. PUR is also the ideal adhesive to withstand all temperatures as it undergoes a curing process which means neither heat nor cold will affect the binding quality. Mediascope uses PUR adhesive in almost all of its perfect binding.

Some applications call for the look of perfect binding combined with the ability of a book to lay flat when opened. A variation of traditional perfect binding is called Lay Flat binding The cover is glued only to the sides of the spine so that a perfect bound book can lay flat when open. A strip of gauze is glued to the spine edge of the book block to hold the signatures or pages together.  This allows the book block to “float” over the spine and lay flat when opened. In traditional perfect binding, the cover is actually glued to the spine of the book which means the book will not open as far as a lay flat book.

Here at Mediascope, we offer three styles of perfect binding. For low volumes of book binding, our most cost-effective means of binding is traditional perfect binding using a hot-melt adhesive. For higher volumes, we offer PUR adhesive in both traditional perfect and lay flat binding.

The type of book being produced will most likely drive the decision as to which type of binding is best for your book. Don’t hesitate to call us at 1-888-644-0844 and discuss your specific project with a product specialist to ensure you are getting the right type of binding and adhesive for your book.


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