“Lenticular takes a little bit more time and diligence but the end result is phenomenal,” said Agudelo. “We started when my brother, an artist, designed a drawing of tropical fish. We produced a 14x20-inch 3D image. We succeeded right away and couldn’t believe how well it turned out. That got us hooked. We knew our customers would want lenticular.”
That was eight months ago. Since then, Agudelo and his press operators have been producing many different types of lenticular. “We’re getting a lot of calls for lenticular,” said Agudelo. “Customers are very interested in the process and how it can set their product apart. We’ve been working on offering morphing and motion lenticular products. The KBA Genius has been a key reason that we’ve been able to produce this new work.”
The Right Machine for the Job
Printers are continually searching for equipment that will give them an edge. “When a customer comes to your business, you have to be able to say ‘yes’ to their request,” explained Louis Goldberg, president of Goodcopy Printing and Digital Graphics, New Haven, Conn. “You can’t say ‘no’. They are never asking if you can do it; they’re saying this is what they want.”
At Print 09 in Chicago last Sept., Standard Finishing was demonstrating a uniquely-folded day/night brochure produced on its Standard Horizon AF-566T4F buckle-buckle automated folder. This was designed as an example of an unexpectedly interesting finished piece that can be achieved using conventional methods and equipment: a square printed sheet was cut on an angle, and then folded in a stepped-accordion style.
“Many print customers are using finishing as a way to further distinguish their services, especially as “dots on paper” become increasingly commoditized,” said Mark Hunt, director of marketing at Standard Finishing. “Finishing expertise and capability adds value to the job/document, and helps differentiate the printer as a value-added supplier.”
Hunt continued, “Standard Horizon intelligent automation makes a huge difference in being able to provide value-add finishing with production efficiently. This allows “exotic folds”, such as the day/night brochure, to be set-up and memorized with ease, using the automation built into the Horizon folder. And once the job is set up, those settings can be retained for instant recall later. It would consume an inordinate amount of time to change-over a manual folder for this, making the job cost prohibitive. The same basic logic applies to saddlestitching and perfect binding jobs.”
Goodcopy Printing and Digital Graphics recently added a Standard Horizon AFC-566FKT automated floor-model paper folder to their full service bindery. While the 41-year-old general commercial printer has always had an in-house bindery department, many of its special folds had to be farmed out. No more.
“We’ve expanded our bindery to be able to produce a variety of different folds,” said Goldberg. “Now we have the flexibility to produce gate-folds and double-gatefolds in-house. The new Standard Horizon AFC-566FKT gives us the flexibility to change the machine around very easily for short- and long-run jobs and the productivity to change from one specialty fold to another. Flexibility is important. If a customer asks for a 11x17-inch paper to be folded down to a 2x4-inch size, we can do it.”
Rather than sending these special finishing jobs to outside binderies, Goodcopy is able to keep the job under its own roof, saving on cost, and increasing speed and throughput, while maintaining the quality and integrity of the job. Goldberg noted that the Standard Horizon’s automated computer system on its folder provided an easy integration into his own workflow system.
Finishing the Recession
Heidelberg’s Maurer believes that a well-selected investment not only secures viability through difficult periods, but also enables shops to surface in the recovery period with stronger and more profitable businesses. “Increasingly, printers and binderies are exploring these market niches in order to provide something new and unique to attract new customers, as well as to retain existing customers by offering them additional options to expand their sales portfolios,” he said. “And yes, specialty finished items also can command a premium price. As advertising budgets contract and print volumes fall, the bindery is increasingly becoming the area where print providers are looking to build their revenues with differentiated product offerings.”