What’s Your Line

Kansas City-based Mail Print employs off-line bindery solutions from Standard Finishing because the systems’ capacity is higher than the output capabilities of its HP digital presses.
What is the best finishing solution for your digital printers, in-line, near-line or off-line? Three printers tout the advantages they have found in each.

Prestone Printing is an offset, digital and large-format boutique commercial shop that generates $23 million in annual revenues. It digitally produces business cards, brochures, folders, tickets and direct mail pieces, with saddlestitching and perfect binding capabilities. Near-line finishing is the configuration of choice for the Long Island printer.

“Until recently, we would print 200 digital jobs a day and go to the cutters, folders, stitchers,” explains Ira Wechsler, vice president of operations for Prestone Printing. “But we found that we were running short on most jobs.

“Since purchasing the Duplo slitter and stitcher, waste is down to a minimum,” he adds. “We’ve also found that it is so much quicker and there’s no chance of packaging errors. I love that we can print, slit and pack with one person.”

Off-line Advantages

Sometimes, finishing equipment is just too quick to be integrated in-line with a digital press. That was the case with Mail Print, a 24-year-old Kansas City, Mo.-based operation that generates—you guessed it—personalized direct mail along with saddlestitched and perfect-bound books. President Eric Danner says the company has become adept at digital work, which touches 95 percent of the items produced by Mail Print.

“Virtually everything we print is personalized in some way,” he says.

Digital printing rolls off a quartet of HP Indigo presses and an HP T200 inkjet web press at Mail Print. Danner believes that the off-line finishing process has inherent advantages over in-line production.

“If the press stops, then the bindery stops. So why tie the two together?” he relates. “In the case of the bindery line we installed, it runs twice as fast as the web press. So, if I was running the press all the time, I’d still be under­utilizing the bindery line.”

Long runs are an exception, not the rule, for Mail Print when it comes to direct mail production. The printer churns out between 20 and 30 jobs per day with an aggregate total of about 200,000 pieces. A long run length might touch the 50,000 range, according to Danner.

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