Rotolito and Solema together for an innovative book gathering and sewing line.


Rotolito and Solema together for an innovative book gathering and sewi

Solema’s decisive contribution to the creation of an efficient and productive line for the production of sewn book blocks.

Our historical customer, Rotolito Spa, is the industrial bookbinding leader in Europe in the production and printing of books and magazines.

The automation precursors

Founded over 40 years ago, Rotolito is one of the most important industrial printers and bookbinders in Europe, equipped with the most advanced technologies for printing magazines, catalogues, flyers for mass distribution and books for all sectors.
The group is considered by the most the precursor of automation: already twenty years ago it proposed a concept of fully automated production that, over time, has then proved to be the key to its success and the reason why Rotolito continues to be a market leader in this sector.

Rotolito and Solema, a thirty-year collaboration

The business relationship between us and Rotolito has started about thirty years ago, when they asked us to help raise the level of automation of their production lines – for books, magazines and saddle stitched books – dating back to the 80s and 90s. Their premise in Capriate was at that time a new purchase, and our advice had been the one they needed to develop the most functional arrangement of their machineries.
Since then, Solema has become for Rotolito a regular supplier of automation for conveyor systems, cooling towers, automatic stackers and feeders and, later, for boxing and palletizing systems.
Our commitment to them has constantly grown over the years, and increasingly automated solutions have contributed to the success of Rotolito in Italy and in the world, considering that nowadays Rotolito has something like 50 Solema machines installed, including 14 Pluton, 5 Fastbook, 2 Smart Boxes, 1 Mini Pluton, and other types of conveying systems and lines.

A case study to be followed

Rotolito produces millions of books every year and it is therefore essential for them to maintain a high competitiveness on the market by offering customers always the best service, especially in terms of quality.
For this reason, about two years ago, they had the need to revamp and enhance one of the gathering and sewing line with a more modern and efficient solution.
Rotolito’s goal was clear: equipping with a performing line for the high-speed production of sewn book blocks, and at the same time optimising the number of people involved in the line and in the management of the entire production cycle.
To meet this commitment and find the right solution, Rotolito has taken advantage of the experience and contribution of Solema and Meccanotecnica, a historic manufacturer of sewing lines.
The result has produced a masterpiece of technology that immediately revealed how an innovative solution can be the right one: a gathering and sewing line Multiplex, composed of two automatic sewing machines Meccanotecnica asterPRO/52, and a Mini Pluton palletizer from Solema.

More Quality and less Manpower

Multiplex is a line that combines the phases of gathering signatures and the sewing phase. The one installed in Rotolito consists of two asterPRO/52 that work in parallel to reach the amount of book blocks / hour required in production.
The Meccanotecnica system then delivers the products (book blocks) stacked in piles, just what you need to start to palletize in our Mini Pluton.
Our machine receives the piles and place them orderly on the pallet following the configurations desired by the customer, creating the optimal solution for every specific production and completely automatically.
Thanks to the contribution of Solema Mini Pluton, the book blocks palletizing process is now fully automated. As a result, the cost of labor has been reduced: gathering, sewing and palletizing operations now require just two operators, compared to the three that were needed without automation – saving a machine operator for each shift is remarkable.
Now Rotolito can produce sewn book blocks forgetting the issues related to the heavy work they were previously used to, such as collecting piles and putting them on the pallet.
One of the main advantages of Mini Pluton is to optimize the work of the operator that works on the line. We have estimated that customers would have a 10-ton weight raised savings for each 8-hour shift, for the benefit of the quality of work and the health of the worker.

Mini Pluton Maxi Results

Mini Pluton, one of the focus of this case history, is the perfect machine for this situation, in relation to the type of production, the speed of the line and the space used.
Mini Pluton is historically the most compact palletizer for Graphic Arts available on the market, and is suitable for all types of machines (perfect binding, casing-in, sewing machines) that work at medium speeds, up to 10 piles/minute (equivalent to 6000 books/minute assuming stacks of 10 books each) – for faster lines, Solema proposes Pluton and Super Pluton automatic palletizers.

Palletizing is not always synonymous of ‘end-of-line’

The singularity in this installation is the position of Mini Pluton within the production flow.
The palletizing phase is in fact commonly associated only with the final step of the entire production process, the so-called end-of-line. The goal in this case is to create pallets ready to be shipped to customers.
Rotolito, on the other hand, has adopted the atypical idea of using our machine at an intermediate stage of production: palletizing sewn book blocks appears at first an unjustified use of automation, due to the fact that anyway softcover or casing-in operations will follow – which imply the disassembly of pallets that have just been formed.

So, what are the reasons for considering Mini Pluton on a semi-finished product?

As mentioned above, an automatic machine like Mini Pluton performs a remarkable job in terms of weight moved, work that is therefore spared to operators.
But the decisive topic is that the level of delicacy reached by our machine no longer raises any concern regarding the respect of the quality of the product-book – not even for a sewn book block, a product known to be feared because of its intrinsic problematic consistency.

For more information about Solema write to or call +39 035 654111.

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