True to its name FlexBook is flexible, typically running inline, fed by the digitally printed web as it is printed. But, "we can also feed a bindery line simultaneously and ... go from roll of white paper to finished book in box at the end of the line," reports Magnum customer service manager Paul Riportella. "We can be run in a near-line mode by unwinding digitally printed web into our FlexBook at speeds up to 800 fpm, and then feed the book blocks into a high-speed binding line." And FlexBook can be run offline as well, unwinding the digitally printed web and making book blocks to be fed in a later process into a binding line, says Riportella.
Finishing Fast with Near-Line
Another success story comes from Canada, where small commercial printer Allan Graphics teamed with CP Bourg, a Xerox finishing partner, for a near-line solution and saved $35,000 in the process. Owned by David Allan, the Kingston, Ontario firm prints brochures, monthly magazines and even 400-page catalogs in full color. Allan himself, a 40-year industry veteran, learned the trade as an offset operator, so he naturally was skeptical about digital press output. Then, in mid-2008, he was golfing with some print peers who were shocked to hear that he wasn’t running digital yet.
“I’ve spent years putting digital technology down, but that conversation made me realize I needed to take a closer look,” Allan says. He added a Xerox 700 Digital Color Press to his 8,000-square-foot plant the following January, but the digital convert had a finishing problem: To maximize the conventional, six-pocket bookletmaker that Allan used to stitch and trim longer run work, some jobs needed to be prepared as signatures. But he couldn’t afford the six-figure price tag of a folder. By the autumn of 2009, Allan had his sights set on a Bourg BME Booklet Maker that he had seen in Montreal at a tradeshow. He saw it again at PRINT 09 – and bought it, along with North America’s first larger-format (14.4 x 23.5 inch), 10-bin BST-e Suction Tower Collator, which Allan says adds versatility.
“The BME uses an ingenious system with a belt that wraps around itself and takes the memory out of the spine,” he notes. “I’m a tradeshow junkie and I look at everything new, and I’d never seen anything like this. Booklets from the BME look three-knife trimmed when they’ve been only face-trimmed.” The best part for the former pressman may be that the BME has given his shop the flexibility for finishing on-demand digital as well as offset production. Plus, on the Bourg BME, one person can produce the work faster and at the same quality as three needed to run the big machine, Allan says.
Duplo also features a near-line DFS-3500 Bookletmaking System designed to completely finish full-bleed booklets in a single pass. Combining the creasing and slitting functions of the DC-445 Creaser with the stitching, folding, and trimming capabilities of the mid-range DBM-350/T Bookletmaker and Trimmer, the DFS-3500 delivers an all-in-one system ideal for short-run applications, says its manufacturer. By automating the finishing process required to create full-bleed booklets, the 3500 eliminates the need for a separate guillotine cutter and creasing machine. Time-consuming set ups, wasted material, and turnaround times all are reduced. Complete job set-up is done from the user-friendly DC-445 control panel, and up to 30 jobs can be saved for quick and easy recall. The 3500’s ability to slit, crease, stitch, fold, and trim in one pass makes it the ideal solution for producing applications such as calendars, catalogs, yearbooks and newsletters.