SCI is investigating adapting its Magnum Flex Book system, installed inline two years ago on the back of the T300 inkjet web, to finish other types of inkjet-printed products.
Flex Book provides an efficient method for the production of high-quality, fused book blocks. Using cut-sheet technology, it produces blocks free of the common shingling and bottling problems found in folding technologies utilizing signature solutions. Blocks are made durable with its digitally controlled, sinusoidal fusing technology and can be fed inline to a binding system or offline.
Flex Book was developed with the future of digital printing in mind. The finishing system is capable of a web width up to 43 inches and speeds up to 800 fpm. This was the design goal in mind from its origins more than three years ago. The anticipation was that high-speed inkjet technology would evolve to these specifications over time, says Fyfe.
So far as standard saddle-stitching for digitally printed output is concerned, “the need was not there [initially],” Fetherman said, “but we did not wait.”
One US customer presently is running Muller Martini’s roll-fed (roll-to-roll) Primera technology inline at 500 feet per minute (fpm), which translates to 9,000 copies per hour. “We envision going even faster in the future, maybe up to 16,000 per hour,” Fetherman projects.
The Primera can be fed inline with signatures from a web press, either offset or inkjet. Adds Steve Welkey, business manager for HP Inkjet Web Presses in the Americas, “If signatures are what they [the customers] do, then inline works great.” With sheet-stack features, 12x18-inch bleeds come off the saddle-stitcher, Welkey says, adding that there is flexibility for letters and posters, too.
At the annual, five-day Hunkeler Innovationdays exhibition in Switzerland this past February, Muller Martini presented its Presto II Digital saddle-stitching machine, the Primera’s “baby brother”, according to Fetherman. A new control system was shown in May 2012 at the quadrennial drupa trade fair in Dusseldorf, Germany. This past month, the Presto II device was displayed with a high-performance processing folder, two signature feeders, a cover folder feeder, the stitching machine, and a three-knife trimmer—in combination with an unwinding system, a fold/merge module, and a cross cutter from Hunkeler. Three different pieces were produced live in a continuous run, including four-across pre-printed web products, folded twice across the web “in a double-parallel fold,” Fetherman describs, “leading to variable cover possibilities.”
Of inkjet print, Dragan Volic, marketing director for print finishing systems at Muller Martini, comments: “Quality expectations regarding digitally printed, saddle stitched products are just as high as for conventional print products. With the Presto II Digital, we can offer the customary, first-class stitching quality and all the finishing options enabled by our flexible modular design.” High trim quality, center cutting, film wrapping, and palletizing are examples of the possibilities.
The Presto II Digital provides a high degree of investment protection as well, making it an ideal solution for small and medium-sized enterprises, according to Muller Martini. A saddle stitcher equipped with signature feeders for conventional (offset) use can be expanded for use in digital/inkjet print. “Switches between the two production types and combined products, i.e.: a combination of digitally printed signatures, conventionally printed signatures, and selective cover feeding, are possible at any time,” explains Volic.
As a first configuration, the Presto II Digital can be loaded from a preprinted roll, fitted with folding modules for multipage signatures, or equipped for single-sheet processing. Of course, the saddle-stitcher also can also be used as a fully integrated inline solution (digital printing with print finishing). The Connex data and process management system from Muller Martini enables the seamless interplay and optimal control of all aggregates, the firm adds.