In the digital print arena, efficient finishing solutions are often the difference between a job being profitable or not. There is so much labor cost that goes into the finishing area, all the economy achieved with printing digitally could easily be lost, along with most, if not all, of your profit...
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Horizon, recognizing how rapidly the industry is changing, has built flexibility into its equipment, says Hunt. "Horizon's new finishing technology straddles digital and offset; if a customer already has an established bindery it doesn't make sense to have equipment that is only good for digital. Horizon has enabled all of its equipment to support multiple input devices."
Digitally-printed products are often toner-based, requiring different handling than jobs printed with traditional offset ink. Toner and ink interact very differently with paper, and digital paper will nearly always require some type of scoring prior to folding. "Finishing needs to correspond to these substrates," explains Mauer. "The postpress area will need different scoring devices because of how toner reacts to cutting, deciding whether to use a creasing device like a Morgana DocuCreaser or a Duplo DC-645, or a rotary scorer like those in our Stahl folders or like Rollem sells. You need to minimize the cracking that can occur with toner-based products. Shops will often make a decision on the fly on which device to use, considering the higher expectations of quality."
The substrate challenge impacts the postpress arena up and down the line. "You have to ask yourself whether or not your perfect binder can handle a digitally produced book, that it can handle oil-infused stock," notes Spiel. On the other hand, saddle-stitching doesn't present any problems, and can be handled in-line if volume demands it.
Gluing on digital paper can also present special challenges. Spiel Associates' new gluing technology, called i-glue, was developed for use with oil-infused stock, but is equally at home with wax-based or coated stock. "We had another glue that worked well with oil-infused stock, but this is even better," says Spiel.
For Heidelberg, providing finishing solutions for the digital arena is an important component of its overall strategy, notes Maurer. At drupa, where Heidelberg and its partners will take over Hall I, visitors can see high-speed Polar cutters and KAMA automatic die cutters, along with other postpress technology.
Heidelberg's global distribution partnership with Ricoh brings it full on into the digital printing arena. "We deal with our customers' full applications, offering an integrated manufacturing process, strengthened by the increase in our partnerships around the world and in the U.S.," says Mauer.
Also at drupa, Horizon will highlight its just- premiered SmartStacker solution, designed for operation with the 29" HP Indigo 10000 press. "It slits B2 sheets into up to 28 different sheets, intelligently stacks them or accumulates them and sends them downstream for inline or near line finishing," reports Hunt.
Standard is also going to premier a new perfect binding system, a hybrid solution that supports conventional offset and digital print devices. "That level of flexibility is huge today, as customers take on continuous feed inkjet or toner-based book production but still have significant offset book work they need to produce," says Hunt. "With one highly flexible system they can serve both those masters."