Graph Expo: Finishing for Hybrid Workflows
Here's a close-up look at the binding and finishing technologies shown at Graph Expo.November 2012 By Erik Cagle
Will we ever go back to long-run offset work? Is the variability and one-off flexibility of the digital press turning the old, heavy iron obsolete? If the Obama-Romney rhetoric parade of 2012 taught us anything, it's that the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.
One thing is certain. If you plan on catering to both disciplines, it behooves today's in-plant to have finishing capabilities that speak to the needs of conventional and digital printing.
"Is it digital, conventional or one world?" posed Steven Calov, product manager for Heidelberg USA. "Customers are struggling with how to address it. They need to set up a digital postpress environment. If you try to do it all in one area, you'll run into scheduling problems. If you try to commingle it with traditional printing work…it doesn't always fit."
Heidelberg's finishing space at Graph Expo reflected gear aimed at hybrid workflows. One of the newer offerings being touted was the programmable Polar 56 (NET version) cutter with hydraulic drive, equipped with an 18.5˝, touch-sensitive display. The Polar 56 easily cuts small formats up to SRA 3, and comes with digital workflow integration via P-NET and Compucut.
In order to start the cutting program automatically, the machine is furnished with a barcode reader, enabling near-zero setup times. Process visualization gives the operator a graphic indication of the material handling, minimizing the possibility of error. Compucut takes the cutting data supplied as PPF or JDF files direct from prepress and generates the cutting program automatically. Repeat sequences can be saved and adapted at any time, with nearly 2,000 memory positions.
Standard Finishing had a host of innovations on display, such as the Standard Horizon HT-1000V variable three-knife trimmer, capable of one-to-one variable trimming, in-line with a perfect binder or off-line. Setup and variable trimming are achieved by reading a barcode printed on the book cover, and up to 1,000 variable-thickness and variable-format size books can be trimmed per hour. The HT-1000V delivers trimmed books from 5.7x4.05˝ up to 13.38x11.69˝.
Also new was the Standard Horizon CRF-362 creaser/folder, designed to handle digital color output on a range of light and heavy weight stocks, coated or uncoated. The impact scoring eliminates or minimizes cracking. It comes configured with seven selectable fold patterns and six selectable cover creasing patterns for perfect binding. It can handle sheets up to 14.33x34˝.