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Who we are

Paul Schnitzler





Binder Line Video Monitor:
The Snap-Time System

Video camera

Saddle stitch bindery

The Time Inc. Magazine Company uses “saddle-stitched” binding for most of its magazines. This photo shows a section of a typical bindery line.

Need: A Unique Need


Problem: Time magazine had introduced custom printing inside the magazine during the bindery process. On certain advertisements, the subscriber’s name and some custom text would be printed while the magazine was being assembled in the bindery. How could the company be certain that the printing was being done correctly?


Approach: A member of the publishing management team wondered if pictures could be taken of the page immediately after the printing was done. Paul Schnitzler was charged with creating a system to accomplish this. A portion of a bindery line is shown above at right.


The problem was that the custom printing was done as each magazine was assembled. As soon as the printing was complete another page was dropped on top of the printing. There was only a fraction of a second to check if the printing was correct.


The Time Inc. Magazine Company had virtually no technical capabilities. Paul, another Time engineer, and an outside consultant designed a video-based, stroboscopic image system. A typical camera is shown at left.


They created:

  • Custom hardware, both electronic and mechanical
  • Custom software
  • Testing procedures
  • Manuals
  • An installation process
  • An outsourced manufacturing operation
  • Training


Results: Fifteen systems were manufactured and nine installed in binderies around the United States. The total cost, including loaded labor and management, was less than half the price of a commercial system. In addition, the Snap-Time system was more capable than anything available. As of the year 2003, at least one of these systems is still in use.


Do you have a unique technical need?
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