Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
MATERIAL CONTAINING PIGMENTS, PARTICULARLY LUMINESCENT PIGMENTS, AND METHOD FOR PREPARING SAME
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1993/009189
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A coating comprising pigments, particularly luminescent pigments, and consisting of at least one binder (2) such as glass balls (6), and pigments (3), where said balls (6) are contiguous within said coating and distributed over substantially the whole thickness thereof. The pigments (3) are held between the balls (6) in the binder (2) so that they are mechanically protected and uniformly distributed within the coating.

Inventors:
Couverchel, Daniel
Application Number:
PCT/FR1992/000979
Publication Date:
May 13, 1993
Filing Date:
October 16, 1992
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
Couverchel, Daniel
International Classes:
C09C3/06; C09D5/22; C09K11/00; C09K11/02; E01C7/08; E01F9/04; E04F15/12; (IPC1-7): C09D5/22; C09K11/00; C09K11/02
Foreign References:
US3253146A1966-05-24
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LUCAS, LAURENT (Thomson-CSF SCPI B.P. 329 F-92402 Courbevoie Cédex, FR)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS
1. A method of printing sets of documents for assembly as pages into booklets wherein a group of the pages in each booklet carry nonvariable print which is the same for each booklet, and a number of pages include variable print which at least differs between booklets, the method comprising feeding an elongate, continuous printable web past non variable print printing means which prints the nonvariable print for each page of the said group within respective page areas positioned along the web corresponding to each page; and past variable print printing means for printing selected page areas with variable print appropriate to that page.
2. A method according to claim 1, wherein the web is cut after printing the nonvariable print.
3. A method according to claim 2, wherein the web is cut into sheets comprising more than one page area, for supply to the variable print printing means.
4. A method according to claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the web is fed past the variable print printing means in continuous form.
5. A method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the variable print is applied to the page areas after the nonvariable print.
6. A method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein at least some pages carry nonvariable print on both sides.
7. A method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the nonvariable print process includes a thermal transfer process.
8. A method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the nonvariable print printing means comprises a set of printing stations spaced along the web path, each station being adapted to print a respective nonvariable print image on the web and being controllable to allow the web to pass through the station without printing its non variable print image.
9. A method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the nonvariable print printing means includes a print station at which more than one nonvariable print image can be printed on the web.
10. A method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the nonvariable print process is a flexographic process.
11. A method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the nonvariable print process includes rainbow printing.
12. A method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the variable print includes a serial number which is unique to each page within a booklet.
13. A method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the variable print includes personal details related to the holder of the booklet.
14. A method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the nonvariable print includes security print.
15. A method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein more than one set of pages related to different booklets are nonvariably printed on the same continuous web.
16. A method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the web comprises one of paper (including rag paper, cellulose paper, spun bonded paper, synthetic paper, nonwoven paper) and paperplastic laminates and plastic films such as vesicular films.
17. A method according to any of the preceding claims, further comprising, following application of the non variable and variable print, cutting the page areas into individual pages and assembling the pages into a booklet.
18. A method according to claim 17, wherein separate cover pages are assembled with the printed pages during assembly of the booklet.
19. A method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the pages are for insertion in a chequebook.
20. A method according to claim 19, wherein the pages comprise one or more of the following: a transaction record page, a cheque page, a chequebook request form, a credit slip, and a teller's calender.
21. Apparatus for printing sets of documents for assembly as pages into booklets wherein a group of the pages in each booklet carry nonvariable print including which is the same for each booklet, and a number of the pages carry variable print which at least differs between booklets, the apparatus comprising nonvariable print printing means which prints the nonvariable print for each page of the said group; variable print printing means for printing the variable print; and means for feeding an elongate, continuous printable web past the nonvariable print printing means whereby the nonvariable print printing means prints the nonvariable print for each page of the said group within respective page areas positioned along the web corresponding to each page, and wherein the variable print printing means is adapted to print selected page areas with variable print appropriate to that page.
22. Apparatus according to claim 21, wherein the variable print printing means is positioned downstream of the non variable print printing means.
23. Apparatus according to claim 22, wherein the web feed means feeds the web in continuous form past both the non variable and variable print printing means.
24. Apparatus according to any of claims 21 to 23, wherein the nonvariable print printing means comprises a set of printing stations spaced along the web path, each printing station being adapted to print a respective nonvariable print image and being controllable to allow the web to pass through the station without printing its nonvariable print image.
25. Apparatus according to any of claims 21 to 24, wherein the nonvariable print printing means prints security print.
26. Apparatus according to any of claims 21 to 25, wherein the nonvariable print printing means includes a print station at which more than one nonvariable print image can be printed on the web.
27. Apparatus according to claim 26, wherein the print station includes an endless belt carrying a number of non variable print image printing plates along its length and means for bringing the plates in series into a printing position.
28. Apparatus according to any of claims 21 to 27, wherein the nonvariable print printing means comprises a printing cylinder having a circumference equal to an integral number of page widths in the feed direction and carrying a corresponding number of nonvariable print printing plates around its circumference.
29. Apparatus according to claim 28, wherein the cylinder carries a nonvariable print printing plate for each page in the booklet which carries nonvariable print.
30. Apparatus according to claim 28 or claim 29, wherein the cylinder(s) are interchangeable with other cylinder(s) for printing different booklets.
31. Apparatus according to any of claims 21 to 30, wherein the nonvariable print printing means includes a flexographic printing press.
32. Apparatus according to any of claims 21 to 31, further comprising means for cutting the web into individual pages.
33. Apparatus according to any of claims 21 to 32, further comprising an automatic insertion device to insert completed booklets into envelopes.
34. Apparatus according to claim 33, wherein the envelopes are preprinted with a verification mark and the automatic insertion device is provided with verification means to match verification marks on a booklet and an envelope, and where the marks are verified to permit the insertion device to inserts the booklet into the envelope.
35. Apparatus according to claim 34, wherein the verification mark comprises a series of substantially colourless ultraviolet responsive visible fluorescing dyes.
36. Apparatus according to claim 34, wherein the verification mark is photoelectrically readable.
37. An endless belt for use in apparatus according to claim 27, the belt carrying a number of flexographic printing plates for printing respective nonvariable images.
38. A printing cylinder for use in apparatus according to claim 28, the cylinder having a circumference equal to an integral number of page widths in the feed direction and carrying a corresponding number of nonvariable print printing plates around its circumference.
39. A cylinder according to claim 38, wherein the cylinder carries a nonvariable print printing plate for each page in the booklet which carries nonvariable print.
Description:
SECURITY DOCUMENT PRINTING This invention relates to a new method and apparatus for printing sets of security documents for assembly as pages into booklets, for example chequebooks.

The invention will be described with particular reference to chequebooks although it may be used for the manufacture of other multiple page personalised items such as passbooks, passports and voucher books, or portions of these.

Chequebooks are used to provide individuals with means of drawing money from their bank accounts. Each chequebook is an unique document cross referenced to a given bank account. A chequebook typically comprises: front and back cover pages, one or more transaction recordal pages which may be double side printed, a series of individually numbered cheque pages (typically ten to twenty) , a chequebook request page, a further series of individually numbered cheque pages (typically ten to twenty) a series of credit slips, and a teller's calendar page. The cover may be double side printed and indeed there may be additional pages containing instructions, advertisements, etc.

Printing within chequebooks is formed by non-variable printing formed with printing ink and optionally other non-variable markings such as watermarks, threads and holographic labels, and variable printing which is used to personalise individual pages. The personalised printing is formed typically with toner, deposited under computer control from a database of personalising information which typically includes the name and address of the holder, the bank branch address and sorting code, the account number and cheque serial numbers.

All of these pages must be presented in the correct sequence. Some pages may contain only the non-variable information. Other pages will additionally contain extracts of the variable information. Any addressed front cover sheet may contain only variable information. The account number which varies from holder to holder must be marked on each cheque and credit slip. Each individual cheque assigned to an holder must additionally bear a unique serial number. Bank sorting codes will be found on each cheque and credit slip, and the address of the bank branch on each cheque.

As well as printing the chequebook the security printer generally also undertakes the mailing operation by inserting completed chequebooks into envelopes.

Chequebooks are items of surprising complexity and complicated to produce. Every chequebook is unique as are some of the pages. Chequebooks however need to be issued by the security printer rapidly in response to issuance data received from a bank.

Today printers generally hold generic non-variably printed pages in stock and variably print ie. personalise, assemblies of individual pages on demand.

The pages are then interleaved with the other stock pages and after binding, etc., the book is then issued. The book will be inserted in an envelope which may itself be printed with variable information relating to the holder. Alternatively a detachable front cover of the chequebook will have the holder's mailing address which is visible through a window in the envelope.

Various methods of printing may be employed to make a chequebook. The cover, transaction record, credit slip and calendar pages may be produced by relatively conventional printing methods such as offset lithography. The cheques themselves must however be printed by security printing methods to stop counterfeiting and forgery: special printing methods and materials such as

solvent reacting inks may be employed, and the paper may also have security properties such as incorporating bleach detecting reagents.

US-A-3541953 describes a way of producing cheques carrying non-variable print.

Following the non-variable print operation, variable or personalising information such as account number details need to be applied to each cheque and often also to each credit slip. The name of the account holder must be added to each cheque. The cheque serial numbers need to be applied to each cheque, so as to make each cheque individual.

Thus the personalising, variable printing, aspect requires the selective printing of different types of information at different times.

New chequebooks are manufactured on order from a bank on receipt of account and holder data. This data contains all of the necessary personalising information: portions of this data are used at different times during the manufacture of the book.

The variable printing of the magnetically readable or optically readable characters which are presented parallel to the bottom edge of the cheque is often done by using a typewriter operating under electronic control. The typeface causes the transfer of a black magnetic film from the delivery spool.

Toner deposition methods, notably electrographic, magnetographic or ion deposition may also be used especially where the image does not have to be machine readable although developments in toner technology are improving the magnetic readability of toned images. The personalisation of the chequebook may be done by using a special cheque personalising printer which may employ dry toning or wet toning methods. In these methods a pattern representing the personalising information is created on a sensitive drum. Dry, powder toner may be applied and the toner forms a (reversed)

image on the drum. The drum then rolls against the paper and an applied electrostatic field transfers the toner from the drum to the paper. The toner may then be fixed by pressure rolling and/or heating to above the fusing temperature of the toner. In the wet method basically the same process is undertaken except that the sensitive drum is developed with toner particles suspended in a paraffinic medium (disperεant) . The toner particles are then transferred. Traditional methods used for chequebook manufacture are comparatively slow and there is a need to develop new efficient methods of manufacture.

In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a method of printing sets of documents for assembly as pages into booklets wherein a group of the pages in each booklet carry non-variable print which is the same for each booklet, and a number of the pages within the booklet also carry variable print which at least differs between booklets comprises feeding an elongate, continuous printable web past non-variable print printing means which prints the non-variable print for each page of the said group within respective page areas positioned along the web corresponding to each page; and past variable print printing means for printing selected page areas with variable print appropriate to that page.

In accordance with a second aspect of the present invention, apparatus for printing sets of documents for assembly as pages into booklets wherein a group of the pages in each booklet carry non-variable print which is the same for each booklet, and a number of the pages carry variable print which at least differs between booklets comprises non-variable print printing means which prints the non-variable print for each page of the said group; variable print printing means for printing the variable print; and means for feeding an elongate, continuous printable web past the non-variable print printing means whereby the non-variable print printing means prints the

non-variable print for each page of the said group within respective page areas positioned along the web corresponding to each page, and wherein the variable print printing means is adapted to print selected page areas with variable print appropriate to that page.

In this invention, the need to maintain stocks of preprinted material eg. cut sheets is overcome allowing considerable flexibility within the printing operation for printing a wide variety of different booklets. This enables chequebooks and similar articles to be produced within short response times while maintaining security against counterfeiting and forgery. Thus for the first time it becomes a practical proposition to link several or even all of the production operations together in a practical manner. This is expected to result in more efficient and speedier production and requires less capital to be invested in intermediate, printed stocks.

In some cases, the web is fed in continuous form automatically past both the non-variable print printing means and the variable print printing means. The variable print printing means, could be positioned upstream of the non-variable print printing means or downstream. In other cases, the web is cut after the non-variable print printing means and cut sheets are then presented to the variable print printing means.

In one example, the non-variable print printing means comprises a set of printing stations spaced along the web path, each adapted to print a respective non-variable print image on the web and being controllable to allow the web to pass through the station without printing its non-variable print image. Such printing stations are known as skip- printing presses and typically carry out letterpress or, preferably, flexographic printing.

In another example, the non-variable print printing means includes a print station at which more than one non- variable print image can be printed on the web. For exεunple, the print station could include an endless belt

carrying a number of non-variable print image plates along its length which are brought in sequence to a printing position adjacent the web.

In the case of skip-printing, the printing of the non- variable print may occur in more than one pass depending on the number of print heads available and whether or not the non-variable print printing means has a double sided printing capability.

In one preferred example printing of non-variable images is preferably carried out in part by letterpress or flexographic methods, including the high viscosity flexographic printing method, on a web of paper, using a multiple head printing press which employs skip- printing methods. In skip-printing individual printing rollers are held out of contact with the web until a predetermined portion of the web passes and then printing ink is applied to that portion of the web. By bringing the printing cylinders into action at predetermined intervals differently printed pages can be printed in sequence and this sequence is repeated at regular intervals along the length of the web.

In flexographic printing a flexible surface typically a nylon surfaced printing plate is provided with an image in the form of a relief pattern. The relief surface is inked by the harder surfaced anilox roller and the ink is then imagewise transferred to the paper. Such plates may be of the Nyloflex type made by BASF or Cyrel type made by Du Pont and their use is well known in the trade. Flexographic plates are often made by exposure and development of a photopolymer but they may be moulded or laser engraved. Although the anilox roller is patterned with small cavities the ink spreads out on printing and the cavity pattern is lost. The cavities thus mainly form a method of delivering ink rather than patterning the resultant print. The flexographic plate is flexible and may be adhered around the circumference of the printing cylinder. The head may be butt-

jointed to the tail, forming a continuous printing cylinder. There are no breaks except for the fine line where the butt-joint is formed. The butt joint may be formed in linear manner, with the line crossing the cylinder orthogonally or at an angle. In the latter case, a trapezoidal plate would be employed. The line may be non-linear such as curved. The joint may also be positioned so as to be unnoticeable within a document area. Contrast this with sheet printing where there is always a small margin to allow for gripping.

The placement of the butt joint may be set to fall within the margin of a page in a chequebook, which does not need to be printed.

In this process the inked flexographic roller would contact the surface of the web directly: the ink is not offset onto a transfer roller as in, say, offset lithographic printing.

In skip-printing the press would employ a number of flexographic or letterpress or offset lithographic printing stations which could be taken in and out of engagement as necessary. More than one flexographic printing station may bear on one type of page for example if multiple colour printing were needed.

For computer controlled skip-printing presses a non-variable printing cylinder data set would be created to allow each flexographic cylinder to bear in sequence in order so as to produce all of the pages in the booklet in order. The printing roller data set instructions would be repeated along the web at book lengths. In addition there would be a personalising data set needed for the personalising station(s) .

As an alternative to computerised control of the skip printing cylinders, mechanical setting means may be used. For high efficiency it is desirable to be able to effect quick changes when changing production from one type of chequebook to the other.

By avoiding a lengthy and mechanically complicated inking train comprising a series of rollers, common with other forms of printing methods, the conventional flexographic and high viscosity flexographic printing method allows the use of a much more simple arrangement.

Here an inking unit comprises an ink reservoir formed by a blade in wiping contact with the outer surface of a rotatable anilox roller. The anilox roller would contact the flexographic plate and deliver ink to the ink receptive surfaces.

Anilox rollers have been widely used for printing and comprise rollers having a fine cellular, dimpled pattern. Ink (having a viscosity lower than that used for letterpress or offset lithographic printing) from the reservoir fills the cells. The surface of the anilox roller is then scraped by the ink doctor blade, leaving ink in the cells.

The inked components in any flexographic printing station may readily be detached and replaced by another, thus decreasing change-over time. This offers an additional advantage in that these units do not have to be cleaned while on the press, indeed it is advantageous to undertake cleaning while they are detached from the press so that they can be laid ready for the next printing run, if necessary incorporating a different flexographic printing cylinder.

The majority of the printing cylinders would be positioned to print on the upper surface of the web but where double sided printing is necessary printing stations may be presented on the other side (or the web may be back printed in register by being run through the press again) .

Optionally the web may be cut before entry to the variable printer, generally to sheets whose length is a multiple of the booklet page lengths.

Variable printing may be conducted in one or more than one station: for example there may be two stations which apply portions of the variable printing with differently coloured toners, such as black toner and black MICR characters (from a transfer ribbon) .

It is preferable that the processes of applying the non-variable print and the variable print should be conducted substantially continuously for example with the respective stations being positioned in line either to allow uninterrupted transport of the web or to allow temporary reeling of the web to occur.

Certain pages may contain non-variable printing text and or coarse linework which is printed in black. As an alternative to using the non-variable print printing means to apply this non-variable printing the variable print printing means may be used for this.

Clearly registration between the individual non-variable printing units is necessary and also between the variable printing and the non-variable printing marks. This may be achieved by the use of registration marks which may be read by a photocell or by the use of perforations in the side margin which also may be scanned photoelectrically.

The net result is that a book or several books length of paper will be printed with all of the required sections which form the book, in the correct order.

The pages forming the booklet may be printed in immediately abutting form. If say cheque pages are three inches deep then cutting would need to occur every three inches. It may be desirable to print a number of repeats together. Thus if five chequebooks were printed at one time the page sequence of each would be stepped from the next allowing initial cutting say every fifteen inches. This may offer advantages for existing cheque personalisation units which already handle pages which are fifteen inches long. Thus the

five books would be personalised by employing variable printing skip printing and then when the five-book stack was completed it would be covered and cut into individual cheque books. By using this new process, the storage of stocks of a variety of (non-variable) security printed unpersonalised cheques, etc., can be substantially reduced leading to manufacturing cost savings. The times and costs of transporting stocks of individual pages which may result in large inventories into and out of storage are also reduced. The achievement of high quality printing combined with the greater facility to change from one print run to another in conventional flexography or high viscosity flexography is a relatively new development and appears to hold great potential. Press change-over time for the traditional cheque printing methods such as letterpress and lithography is much greater. Furthermore we have been able to achieve print runs of up to lOO /minute. Preferably continuous multiple page sections of at least six pages of the booklet label are produced from a single continuous reel of basepaper. Often all of the pages other than the covers and a detachable frontispiece such as an addressed cover will be printed in sequence leaving only the covers made fron stronger material to be added at a final collation stage. It is however possible to envisage complete booklets being made where the cover's durability requirements do not necessitate the use of a different usually heavier substrate. The web which is printed may be paper (including rag paper, cellulose paper, spun bonded paper, synthetic paper, non-woven paper) and paper-plastic laminates and plastic films such as vesicular films. Natural paper is however expected to be used predominantly at present.

For chequebook production personalising information will preferably be applied by a computer controlled

toner printer although other electronically controlled printers could be used.

The width of the web may be a multiple of a few page widths. In addition to providing only non-variable image, ink printed pages the web process is suitable for the fast speed application of transferrable decorating or security films. These may be specularly reflecting metallic films, or formed from a thermoplastic coating which may be coloured or contain an ultraviolet or infrared luminescent agent such as a fluorescent or a phosphorescence material, metallised plastic transfer foils, or optically variable transfer films including white light interfering films and white light diffracting films such as white light viewable holograms.

Such transferrable materials would be provided on a carrier film mounted on a spool and by providing an adhesive between the transferrable film and the substrate the film may be transferred under roller pressure.

The application roller may be narrow so as to impart a continuous thread (i.e. a ribbon of width 1 to 4mm). The application roller may be patterned say with a series of segments to give the appearance of a segmented line or it may have a more complex e.g. swirling pattern, similar to that taught in EP93009B. The transfer film may also be embossed.

By providing a delivery film with a heat activatable adhesive transfer may be effected by heating the transfer roller.

By use of this method it would be possible to provide specularly reflecting metallic markings, or light interfering markings, polarising markings, or diffracting markings. Diffracting markings include diffraction grating patterns, diffractive pattern mosaics, graphical diffracting patterns of the two dimensional and two dimensional-three dimensional types, holographic

images, computer generated diffractive patterns such as kinegrams and the like.

Thus for example if a film of metal having a diffracting surface were presented then at a subsequent printing station an overcoat of protective lacquer such as an ultraviolet curable lacquer could be provided.

By enabling highly specularly reflecting metallic films, interfering films and diffracting films to be applied cost effectively it is possible to make counterfeiting and forgery more difficult.

Typically, the non-variable print will comprise security print such as fine line patterns of security indicia, anti-photographic reproduction line patterns, anti-scanner reproduction line patterns, anti- colour copier reproduction line patterns and anti-colour thermal printer reproduction line patterns.

The inks which may be employed will generally include one or more special security features such as solvent sensitivity, bleach sensitivity, fluorescence (including visible, ultraviolet and infrared induced types) , phosphorescence (including visible, ultraviolet and infrared induced types) , magnetism, photochromism, and x- ray opacity. Typically, after printing the web will be slit and cut into page lengths and assembled to form the booklet (or the core of the booklet) . Covers may be added at a later stage, especially as covers are often of more durable material than the pages of the book. Covers may however be formed from the same base paper as the other pages. Once formed into booklets, these may then be automatically inserted into individual windowed envelopes ready for mailing to the holder.

Alternatively the booklet may be inserted into an envelope which is either previously or subsequently printed with the mailing address. When the envelope is printed with personalising information it is important

that the booklet and the envelope should be addressed to the same person. In such instances a machine scannable feature such as MICR characters, OCR characters or a bar code may be read by the envelope printing control means so that the data from the booklet can be verified with that intended to be printed on the envelope. Although binding and stapling and enveloping can be undertaken as a separate process, it is preferably carried out substantially continuously such as by having these units in line with the skip-printing press and the personalising station.

A known chequebook assembly machine is the SIBA Automatic Chequebook Finishing system which allows the processing of one or two rows of parallel printed cheque stationery.

Here first web stock comprising a continuously repeated image of an unpersonalised blank cheque page is personalised at page intervals by running the reel through a personalising printing unit. This personalises all of the cheque pages for one holder in sequence before then repeating the process for the next account holder. The personalised web is then stored.

A second web stock containing the remaining non-variably printed pages for the chequebook presented in the sequence in which they are to be incorporated into a chequebook is then passed through the same or a different personalising printer. This printer operates under the same sequence of account holder details as was used for the first web. Certain pages within the second web are then personalised such as the credit slips.

For example the second web may have eight images presented in the order comprising a chequebook request page, three credit slips, a teller page and three transaction record pages. This blank sequence is repeated continuously in the second web which is then personalised where appropriate. In the example of the

second web only the credit slip pages would be personalised by the printer. It is necessary for there to be correlation between the personalising information on the first web and the second web so as to ensure that each completed chequebooks prepared from the two separately personalised webs stocks has only pages appropriate to its holder and no one else.

The two webs are then taken from their holding position and loaded onto the SIBA finishing unit. The first and second webs are fed into first and second feeder stations which pass under electronic control either the first or the second web into the cutting station so that page lengths from the first or the second web can be cut on demand. Each feeder operates under sprocket control so that either web can be rapidly inserted into the cutter.

The machine firstly cuts a predetermined number of pages from the first web such as twenty cheque pages out of thirty personalised for a particular account holder. This is followed by typically one page from the second web (e.g. the chequebook request page) . Then typically a predetermined further number of first web pages (say the final ten cheques of the thirty) is pulled from the first web. Finally the remaining pages from one chequebook sequence unit in the second web. This completes the formation of the loose group of stacked pages which form the inner portion of the first chequebook. The same process of page cutting is repeated to make the second and subsequent chequebooks. The two webs are sprocket fed to allow traction and register and this means that some paper is wasted as a result of sprocketing.

These pages form at least a major sequence of uninterrupted pages within the chequebook. When the group of pages is complete they are then transported along a conveyor to allow front and back cover pages to be added from separate hoppers. The assembly is then

jogged to ensure all of the pages have the same base line and the set is then stitched or stapled. If necessary the set may be turned over before stitching to allow binding from the opposite side. Spine tape is then applied and the assembled books are stacked. The SIBA unit is designed to handle a first web of cheques identical apart from personalisation and a second web with ancillary documents in order. It is further designed to handle a double width web and thus slits to single width as well as cutting individual sheets to yield two chequebook inners which are then progressed one after the other into the finishing process. The SIBA unit is not designed for a single web carrying a chequebook sequence of images. Hitherto no source of such a web has been practicable. Nor has it been possible to personalise at a single web speed or cut to single documents at a similar rate to that at which books can be finished.

The above methods are relatively efficient but have the disadvantage that a number of sheets or reels have to be stored between operations which is time consuming. There is a need for yet further improvements the manufacturing speed.

Preferably, therefore, we provide a method of producing a booklet of security documents comprising separating a web printed in accordance with the invention into sheets each carrying at least one page area; and assembling the sheets into a booklet.

The apparatus may thus further comprise conveying means for conveying the web printed in accordance with the invention to a separating station where the web is separated into sheets each carrying at least one page area; and assembling means for assembling the sheets into a booklet. Following formation of the booklet, it may be manually inserted into an envelope but most preferably, the apparatus further comprises means for automatically

inserting booklets into envelopes. If the envelope is windowed and there is a detachable front cover previously addressed no further processing is needed. The filled envelopes may be automatically assembled in a stack ready for posting.

Alternatively if a detachable addressed cover is not employed the apparatus may have means for applying a verification mark such as by the use of ink jet printing which may be applied when the cover is inserted and the mark can be photoelectrically sensed immediately prior to the envelope address printing so as to provide verification that the personalised chequebook and addressed envelope correspond.

The addressed cover may be provided by printing the address in a separate personalising printer in response to data serving the first personalising printing station. A single sheet may be printed, this being fed in automatically after application of the front cover.

Alternatively the address sheet may be added before the front cover is added, the address page being temporarily raised from the stack by mechanical e.g. suction, means to allow insertion of the front cover.

It is essential that the booklet (eg.chequebook) and envelope are correctly matched i.e. that the envelope is addressed to the bank customer whose chequebook is inserted into it. The progression of books forward may ensure appropriate integrity but the printing of an invisible code or the like for example by ink jet printing means on the cover may be used to provide an additional guarantee of integrity. The code would be read photoelectrically at the envelope addressing station and the code data would be used by the computer to the address for that chequebook to be printed. We have realised that it is possible to provide a new apparatus system in which the personalising facility can be coupled to a precision rotary page

cutter and to a chequebook assembling facility, thereby for the first time offering the very considerable advantage that much of the chequebook manufacturing process can be conducted in a continuous, in-line manner at high production speed and with great reliability. The facility also would allow the unit to be directly coupled to an mailing enveloping facility.

A particular advantage of the invention is that it potentially allows an in-line process to be employed which takes a web of chequebook base paper, prints the sequence of pages in sequence, personalises the necessary pages and then forms the chequebooks which may then be automatically enveloped. The process may involve the insertion of for example chequebook covers from stock inserted into the line.

We do not believe it has hitherto been possible to contemplate such a streamlined manufacturing process. The new process for manufacturing chequebooks may also be employed for other kinds of personalised printed multiple page stock such as credit transfer books, passports, passbooks and books of vouchers or tickets. The process may be used for complete booklets or portions of such booklets. In some examples, the web is fed into a high speed, precision rotary cutter which cuts page lengths for example at intervals of 75mm (3 inches) or less commonly 87mm (3.5inches) or 100mm (4 inches).

Each page or page area is cut within a relatively fine tolerance of approximately 0.15mm and the set of pages is then formed into a even stack, perhaps with the use of a page stacking jogger.

The group of pages is then automatically transported by conveying means along a track and then back and front cover pages are inserted automatically from a stack. It is possible for other pages to be added as well for example general information pages or

personalised letters which may change frequency at greater intervals than changes to the chequebook design.

The grouped pages are then joined together using stapling or stitching or other means. For certain applications a hot melt adhesive could be applied to the spine from a reservoir. Inverting means as known in the art may be used to turn the book over if the binding is to face the opposite direction.

The spine of the book is then optionally taped to provide a better finish such as with a fabric tape.

A detachable addressed cover may be added in front of the front page of the chequebook.

The completed chequebook having a detachable addressed front cover may then be automatically transported to an enveloping machine in which the chequebook is automatically inserted in a windowed envelope such that the address details show through the window, the envelope then being sealed and stored ready for mailing.

In another embodiment a chequebook not having the above detachable front cover may be automatically transported along a conveyor to an envelope inserting machine so that the chequebook may be inserted into an envelope and the envelope is then printed with address details in response to personalising data relating to that chequebook.

In a further embodiment a chequebook, probably with an addressed detachable front cover, may be packaged by inserting it between two plastic films and sealing around the edges eg by heat, to form a plastic bag for the chequebook. The films may be opaque apart from a window area through which the address may be read.

The chequebook identification code markings which may be used on each front cover may be visible or invisible to the eye. For example a series of substantially colourless ultraviolet radiation responsive visible fluorescing dyes may be used. These may be provided in a coded pattern such as a

series of dots or the code markings may be in the form of photoelectrically readable bar codes or the like.

The controlling computer accessing the personalising data will also be able to assign a personalising data attribute or a unique other code so as to allow any chequebook within a production run to be uniquely identified.

The envelope printing unit would have photoelectric means for reading the chequebook code pattern and then match the code to the individual personal data set which then would allow address details to be transmitted to the envelope printing unit. Alternatively the code matching may be used for verification. Some examples of methods and apparatus according to the invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:-

Figure 1 is a schematic diagram of a first example including a skip-printing press; Figure 2 is a schematic diagram of a second example; Figure 3 illustrates a flexographic printing station of the type used in Figure 1, in more detail;

Figure 4 illustrates the appearance of the web following printing in the skip printing press; and, Figure 5 illustrates the appearance of the web after personalisation.

In order to illustrate the invention an example of a chequebook page assembly will be described. A chequebook is formed with the following types of pages in sequence: Detachable address page (variable printing only: holder's name and address) Front Cover (non-variable printing) Transaction record page/s (non-variable printing) Cheques (non-variable security printing and variable printing: each cheque in a chequebook carries the same account number and account holder details: each cheque for a given holder is individually numbered.)

Chequebook request form (non-variable printing) Cheques

Credit slips (non-variable printing, and variable) Teller's calendar (non-variable printing) Back cover (optional non-variable printing)

Leaving aside the simultaneous printing of the address page and cover pages, the chequebook core pages may be formed as follows:

Sheet 1 (side 1 and side 2) Instructions Sheets 2-5 (sides 1 and 2) Transaction record Sheets 6-20 (side 1) Cheques

Sheet 21 (side 1) Chequebook request form

Sheets 22-30 (side 1) Cheques

Sheets 31-35 (side 1) Credit slips Sheet 36 (sides 1 and 2) Teller's calendar

The Instruction page (120 in Figure 4 which shows the printed web) will typically be double side printed in a single colour on a separately printed micropatterned background. Referring to Figure 1 which shows diagrammatically the stages involved, this would utilise printing stations 1 and 3 for side 1 and on the rear (side 2) stations 2 and 4.

Each Transaction Record 121 would be double side printed at stations 5 and 6 on its sides 1 and 2 respectively.

The Cheques 122 forming pages 6 to 20 and 22 to 30 would be single side, non-variably printed with security inks (such as solvent sensitive inks, if necessary rainbow blended, and fluorescent inks, as well as commonly a plain black ink to delineate certain areas) at printing stations 7 to 10.

The Chequebook Request Form image 123 would be single side printed at station 11.

Credit Slips 124 non-variable image would be printed at station 12.

The Teller's Calendar 125 would be double side printed at stations 13 and 14.

At each station there is a backing cylinder such as IA. The others are not annotated for clarity.

The skip-printing press may print web 15 under electronic control, in which an electronic control mechanism 16 brings rollers 1 to 14 into the printing position in response to a signals from a skip-printing data set 17. To allow skip-printing the printing rollers may be moved out of printing position by means of a manual or electrically operated cam assembly. Typically a number, such as five, of chequebooks will be printed simultanously.

Multiple colour (merging zonal band) printing may be achieved by using an ink fountain which is separated by baffles so that two or more different coloured inks may be applied in different bands which merge at their interface to provide a rainbow effect.

The printing press may also employ an electronically operated print image recognition facility so that if any errors in printing occur the press operator can be alerted or faulty material automatically extracted and replaced.

Ultraviolet curable inks or lacquers may be employed in which case the press will incorporate an ultraviolet light station. An embossing station may also be included. A perforating station will generally be provided to form tearing lines for cheques and credit slips.

Personalisation of the web with bank account numbers in MICR format may occur prior to the non- variable printing of the web or after.

Personalisation may typically occur by printing MICR account details 126 (Figure 5) and cheque numbers 127 at station 18 in response to a personalising data set 19. The name of the account holder 128 may be applied at a second station 20 in response to a complementary data set 21 for example by printing with toner. Normally however all personalisation is achieved

from one unit using magnetic toner. The personalisation process could be at the very end to allow the name to be on top of any security ink. Alternatively the personalisation could take place before the printing of the security ink which may achieve improved durability of the personalisation image. If necessary additional printing stations may be added to allow the local application of protective lacquers or transferrable films over the variable or non-variable printing. Different parts of the personalisation images may be undertaken with different colours of toner where more than one personalisation unit is used.

Transferrable foils may be added from an heated roller unit 22 using foil supplied from unwind and rewind rollers 23 and 24.

Once the web is fully printed it will preferably be perforated, slit and sheeted, and the pages bound before insertion of the completed chequebook in envelopes. If covers have not been provided for in the web, individual booklet portions may have their covers added as a separate operation and the composite may then be stapled, backstripped and inserted in a personalised envelope. Alternatively there may be a detachable page attached to the chequebook in front of the cover page which is personalised, so that the printed chequebook can be directly inserted in a windowed envelope. In the above process it is intended that one base paper is used for all pages of the chequebook. This will typically be a security base paper incorporating bleach and/or solvent reactive components and/or watermarks and/or threads.

Figure 1 illustrates an automatic, in-line process in which the printing steps are carried out in the same line as the cutting and assembly steps, thus, the fully printed web 100 is fed to a perforating station 101 and from there the perforated web is fed to a cutting station 102. The cutting station 102 cuts the individual page areas of the

web and stacks these into a stack 103 on a conveyor belt 104. The conveyor belt then transports the stack corresponding to a single booklet to a stapling device 105 where the pages are stapled together and from there the pages are fed to an enveloping station 106 where envelopes from a stock 107 are fed to the station 106 where a booklet is placed into each envelope. In this case, it is assumed that cover pages will have been printed on the web 100 and that a further address page will have been provided on the front of the booklet. In this case, therefore, windowed envlopes can be used.

As discussed above, many variations are possible including feeding the stack to a further station (not shown) in which covers are assembled with the printed pages from the web prior to stapling. It is also possible to use non-window envelopes and print the correct address on the envelope.

In some cases, the full system shown in Figure 1 could be provided in a single in-line apparatus. In other arrangements, each of the skip printing press, personalising stations, and cutting assembly system could be provided as (three) separate units while in a preferred arrangement the printing of the base stock in the skip printing press is provided in a separate machine from the personalising/cutting and enveloping stage which is provided in a single machine.

An alternative approach to the use of skip-printing flexographic stations to achieve a skip printed sequence of non-variable printing on the web is to use a flexographic plate which is not adhered to its backing cylinder. In this instance the flexographic plate would be made with a series of interrupted images or blank areas. The plate would be in the form of an endless belt, this having sprocket hole or similar registration means with the backing cylinder. Each belt would have one inking assembly and would apply ink of a single colour. The length of the belt would be precisely

that of the length of the number of pages being printed in booklet sequence. The length of the belt may be doubled or tripled if two or three booklets are printed in juxtaposition. The belts will be seamlessly bonded to provide a continuity and will carry registration sprocket holes.

Figure 2 is a schematic portion of a flexographic printing press 25 of this type and comprises flexographic printing stations 26, 27 and 28. The paper web 29 is drawn past each station in turn. Endless flexographic printing plates 30A, 3OB and 30C having different images are inked with ink from reservoirs 31A, 3IB, 31C which is metered by scraper blades 32A-C bearing against anilox rollers 33A-C. The plate is held in pressure contact with the anilox roller with backing rollers 34A-C. Rollers 35A-C held under spring tension keep the belt taught. Registration sprocket teeth (not shown) in rollers 36A-C engage with sprocket holes in the respective belts and the plate is pressed against the web by pressure exerted between rollers 36A-C and their backing rollers 37A-C. The belt is driven by sprocket engagement with driven rollers 36A-C.

The method which uses flexographic belts is mechanically simpler as skip printing actuators are not required.

The flexographic belts may be made by exposing lengths of flexographic photopolymeric plates and then adhesively adjoining them or attaching them to a carrier which may be sprocketed to form a length exactly that of the number of pages to be printed to form a whole or part booklet.

Figure 3 is a schematic diagram of a flexographic printing station as used in Figure 1 (not to scale) . Thus ink 38 is supplied to a reservoir and metered by a blade 39 in contact with anilox roller 40. A flexographic plate 41 having a plurality of raised image surfaces 42 is seamlessly attached to roller 43. This is

in pressure contact with backing roller 44 and the paper 45 on passing through the nip is flexographically printed. As a further alternative to skip printing using the suspended endless sheet of Figure 2, it is a practical proposition on some flexographic presses to have a printing cylinder whose circumference is equal to the number of pages to be printed to form the whole or a continuous part of the booklet. This cylinder would have as its surface a flexographic printing plate having sequential printing areas corresponding to individual page areas. The flexo plates could be added to this cylinder one by one or they may be placed in multiples.

Thus a thirty five page book of three inch long documents would require an external circumference of the cylinder of 105 inches. The diameter of the cylinder would be 34 inches approximately. Such a cylinder would be heavy but it need not be solid. It may be made from an engineering grade plastic. A hoist could be used to replace cylinders between different printing runs. The press would be constructed to allow cylinders of different circumferences to be fitted so as to accommodate different page sets. This approach would allow considerable flexibility during production.

A single inking unit would be employed for each cylinder. A series of such cylinders would be employed for multiple printed colour work.

Overall this new method of chequebook production allows the prospect of faster issuance of chequebooks and considerable savings in the down time between production runs as well as considerable manufacturing flexibility. Printing of pages in sequence on a web at a relatively fast speeds will reduce the need for complicated finishing operations. By providing a streamlined operation of chequebook production comprising skip-printing of the web to print all of the pages of the chequebook in one pass, then immediately personalising the web, and immediately thereafter

conducting the finishing operations (perforating, cutting, stapling, backstripping and enveloping) , the new method of this invention offers considerable potential in substantially reducing chequebook issuance response times. The invention may be useful for providing other forms of multiple page booklets in which the application of variable information is required such as books of credit transfers, travel tickets or passes such as ski passes, and vouchers.




 
Previous Patent: DISPERSANT TREATED PIGMENTS

Next Patent: RECORDING FLUID