Finishing & Fulfillment Step Up Their Game to Meet Customer Requirements

In recent years, finishing equipment has made dramatic leaps in terms of innovation—highlighted by the move towards advanced automation, says Don Dubuque, Director of Marketing, Standard Finishing Systems. “With the trend of shorter print runs, automation has become increasingly important to customers as they need to be able to changeover from job to job as quickly as possible in order to keep costs under control. Print finishing manufacturers have stepped up their game in terms of introducing products that are highly automated to address the changing needs of the marketplace.”


Book production challenges

“To say there are some major challenges in the business of printing and binding hardcover books would be an understatement,” says Ted Greene, VP Sales and Marketing, GP2Technologies. “Our strategy is to address the immediate need of our existing customer base, by making the production of POD hardcover books more profitable by simplifying and streamlining the process.”

GP2Technologies (Booth 3567) is debuting the barcode-driven Cover-1 casemaker, which ensures that the correct materials come together at exactly the right time, resulting in increased throughput, reduced scrap, and quicker turn-time for hardcover book production.

“Book printers and binders need the capability to produce books that look good and are long lasting in quantities from one to thousands in a relatively short delivery time,” says Elizabeth Jordan, CBC, Senior Program Manager, Nordson.

Nordson (Booth 4404) offers a wide range of options to facilitate efficient use of hot melt polyurethane (PUR) adhesives in short-run book binding. PUR adhesives are not affected by the fuser oils, toners, and papers common to digital printing that are somewhat incompatible with more traditional binding adhesives, such as EVAs. However, since PUR reacts to extended heating and/or the moisture in air, a closed adhesive system is most practical, and those systems have historically been associated with large pails or drums of adhesive.

Standard Finishing (Booth 1902) is introducing the Standard Horizon BQ-280 PUR perfect binder, which offers single-clamp PUR perfect binding in a compact footprint. The BQ-280 is specially designed to handle production of digitally printed books, personalized photo books, smaller sample runs, and other short-run work.

“Another trend is the need for in-line verification, inspection, and integrity analysis,” he adds.

Standard is demonstrating its VIVA suite of inspection systems on several products, including perfect binders, saddlestitchers, and sheet-feeders, and its Hunkeler WI6 web inspection product on a roll-to-fold line with dynamic perfing on a direct mail piece.

Answering the trend for increased security, RISO (Booth 544) is introducing the Envelope Wrapping Finisher, an accessory for the ComColor X1 inkjet printers. This in-line system lets the user send digital information to the printer, which then prints all of the inserted documents and the envelope substrate, folds the documents, then wraps and seals the envelope around the documents. The entire process is completed in a single system, without operator intervention.

Finishing equipment that provides maximum product configuration flexibility and very short setup time is a significant trend, says Richard Woodall, Therm-O-Type (Booth 4226).

A good example is the Therm-O-Type Zip-TS2L digital finisher, with a three programmable tooling function, as well as guillotine cutting and in-line slitting/scoring/perforating/semi-slitting in a single finishing pass. Zip-TS2L Mark IV and NSF Elite models provide finishing capabilities developed for quick turnaround, small quantity digital orders. Therm-O-Type also provides multiple foil enhancement technologies to further increase product value.

With Xerox’s (Booth 1202) flexible finishing architecture, a consistent interface implementation gives customers flexibility in connecting Xerox and third party finishing modules to support inline and off-line finishing workflows, reports Patti Quinn, Xerox PR Manager.

Since these interfaces are shared across the breadth of Xerox production printers, it allows customers to morph their bindery configurations over time to ensure superior efficiency as their work mix and media input change.

Through a growing set of Xerox’s Integrated Plus automatic finishing solutions, customers have the ability to automate the workflow from creation through the prepress, press, and postpress processes. The end result is fewer touch points, which improves labor cost, error prevention, productivity, and offers improved visibility of job tracking through the operation. “The most significant advancement in today’s print and mail operation leverages 100% variable data print technology as part of a ‘White Paper Factory,’” says Grant Miller, VP, Global Strategic Product Management, Pitney Bowes. “This end-to-end, integrated print-to-mail approach is helping businesses improve operational performance, better leverage client communications, and build stronger client engagement for revenue growth.”

Industry leading digital color inkjet technology can help produce higher quality communications faster and for less cost by eliminating pre-printed forms, consolidating smaller jobs to streamline workflow, and printing presort order to take full advantage of postal discounts. Employing this technology inline during mail finishing eliminates preprinted envelopes and business reply envelopes, instead adding addresses, graphics and relevant messages in real-time.


Mailroom solutions

Pitney Bowes’ (Booth 1947) solutions include the IntelliJet printing system family for transactional communications; Print+ Messenger System, integrated with a Mailstream Productivity or Mailsteam Evolution inserter system, for 100% variable data messaging and graphics on envelopes at speeds up to 26,000 pieces per hour inline; the new Print+ Response Inkjet Module, for printing messages and graphics on envelopes or inserts inline during high-speed inserting and wrapping.

The ability to print shorter runs with high levels of personalization and intelligence, is at the heart of the evolution from offset to digital, says Larry Corwin, President of Rollem. “With this change, an emphasis on the application and how to finish them are taking on a new importance.”

At Rollem (Booths 231, 2581), R&D is centered on supporting print efficiently in converting a printed sheet into a finished product. “Not just faster but more efficiently,” says Corwin. “Sometimes it involves innovation in faster makeready. At times we combine multiple functions to eliminate excess labor. Ultimately, we look to create a completely automated inline production stream or end-to-end solution that starts with blank paper and ends in a package all with few or no human touches. Sounds futuristic maybe, but the future is here now.”