When GBC released the new Proclick binding system a few years ago, they offered a handy desktop manual punch for use with that system. The original name for this machine was the P100 however it was updated and renamed the P200 in 2005. The Pro Click P200 is a stylish looking machine that is designed to punch your documents, close the Proclick spines and edit bound documents when needed. This review will look at the features and strengths of this machine along with its limitations and construction.
The Proclick P200 binding machine includes punching mechanism that is designed to punch up to sixteen sheets at a time. This punch will produce a 3:1 pitch 32 hole pattern with oversized round holes. These holes are larger than the standard holes use for wire binding. This makes inserting your pages onto the Pro-Click spines easier. Although the machine is technically rated for the punching of sixteen sheets I found that punching twelve to fourteen sheets was much more comfortable.
The P200 also has a built in closing tool on the top of the machine that is designed to help you hang your pages on the Proclick spines and should help you to close the loops. To use the closing tool you first need to snap your spine into place under the small metal tabs. You then hang the pages of your document onto the Proclick spine. Finally you squeeze the two parts of the closing tool together and slide it across to close your spines. To my knowledge this is the only machine to have a closing tool like this. Unfortunately, I was unable to get the tool to work very well (but we will talk about that in a few paragraphs).
The machine also has a built in opening tool. This is just a horn shaped attachment that is on the top left side of the machine. In order to use the opening tool you simply take your document and push the tool through the closed spine of your book. This will cause your spine to snap open so that you can edit your document. The design of the opening tool is similar to the opening tool provided with the Proclick zipper tools that come with each package of Pro-Click spines.
One really nice thing about the GBC P200 is that it offers a really cool contemporary design. Its small footprint and unique styling make It really eye catching and impressive. It also offers an ergonomically designed punching handle that stretches across the entire front of the machine. This makes this system ideal for individuals who are both left handed and right handed. It also helps to reduce the risk of repetitive motion injuries with lots of punching.
Perhaps the biggest limitation of the P200 is that the really unique closing tool that is included on the machine doesn’t really work. Or if it does work it is fairly difficult to use. After attempting to bind a number of documents with the machine I found myself just snapping the spines shut by hand (it was easier). The machine is still functional without the closing tool. It can just be frustrating trying to figure out how to use it.
The other major limitation of this machine is more a limitation of the Proclick binding style that a problem with the design of the machine. Currently, spines are only available in four colors (Black, White, Navy Blue and Frost) and in three sizes (small, medium and large). Spines are not available longer or shorter than 11″ in length. Thus, the P200 is only a good solution for organizations that need to bind documents that are less than 100 sheets thick (approximately 5/8″ thick) and are 8.5″ x 11″. For this reason, I often suggest that users look at purchasing a 3:1 pitch wire binding machine instead of the P200 since that type of machine provide the ability to bind documents with Wire and Proclick. I also sometimes recommend the use of 3:1 pitch spiral coil for individuals who already own the P200 since this type of coil can be used with the hole pattern that this machine produces. However, if you decide to try this you will need a pair of crimping pliers to finish the coil.
The only other issue that I discovered when testing the P200 is that it does not perform well with poly binding covers. I noticed that over a period of a few weeks that the dies became dull and the holes were sometimes left hanging off the side. In order to address this problem it is recommended that you punch poly or plastic covers one at a time on this machine along with a sheet or two of paper. The paper will help to ensure a sharper cleaner punch and will help to eliminate the flex that sometimes happens when punching plastic covers.
As was noted above, the P200 includes a sleek ergonomic design. It is made primarily of metal with some plastic components mixed in. However, I believe that the closing unit is poorly designed and that the punch is not as sharp or strong as it should be. More than likely for moderate volume users this will not present a problem. However, higher volume users should probably consider a more robust wire binding solution for their Proclick punching needs. It should also be noted that the components on this machine are not designed to be repaired. Replacement will be required if the machine ever breaks. Straightening machine