Digital Printers Invest in Finishing
Now more than ever, printers are investing in technology to automate their shops. Order entry and prepress is being automated with Web-to-print software, new digital presses continue to get more productive, and job information is flowing effortlessly through the system. That drive for automation is now being directed at finishing.
That helps explain why print service providers are investing in finishing to grow their businesses. Caslon’s survey of print service providers shows the areas where printers are investing to grow their business and for the digital printer segment (businesses who primarily used digital presses) finishing is the top choice with 65% of the respondents signaling a plan to invest. And two other segments, quick printers and commercial printers with more than 10 employees, are also investing heavily in finishing.
In the past, the typical wisdom was to finish digital printing output offline on the robust finishing equipment made for offset output. Printers would tell me that equipment designed for digital presses was not robust enough and that tying up a production line with in-line finishing equipment just didn’t make sense. However, the development of new more rugged digital finishing equipment combined with the new paradigm of having finishing equipment that can easily work in-line, near-line or offl-line is changing the ROI calculation. Printers are now gaining the benefits of digital, short set-up times and faster throughput, while not giving up production flexibility.
At PRINT 17, a wide range of finishing devices designed specifically for digital printing output was on display. The full range of devices from in-line, near-line, off-line, or a combination was available. Two that caught my attention were from C.P. Bourg - their Bourg Sheet Feeder (BSF) and the Bourg Sheet Preparation Module (BPM).
The Bourg Sheet Feeder (BSF) can accept collated sheets from any number or brand of print engine stackers and automatically aligns the incoming stack and feeds them to the respective finishing module.
The three key benefits of the Bourg Sheet Feeder (BSF) are :
- No manual transfer of collated paper sets saves time and money
- Ultimate flexibility between inline, near line and offline with the Dual-Mode BSF which can produce perfect-bound books or saddle-stitched booklets in-line while another job is being simultaneously printed offline
- High productivity with the BSF tandem configuration: automatically switches between 2 BSF units for non-stop production
The Bourg Sheet Preparation Module (BPM) is designed to help automate the creation of perfect-bound booklets created from output on digital presses. The BPM converts large parent size sheets with multiple pages printed on them into small individual pages of different formats all in one pass enabling the creation of multiple book formats from media of a single size. So you get the labor savings from automation of the converting process and ability to run multiple book formats in-line creating more revenue growth options for the business.
New finishing equipment on the market is not limited to bookletmaking. Today’s digital presses can connect in some form or fashion to over 250 devices. With the improvements in capability, reliability, automation and flexibility, it’s no wonder that printers are investing in finishing.
Dave Erlandson is the GM of Caslon & Co. One of Caslon’s primary activities is to serve as the North American Affiliate for PODi, the Digital Print Initiative. PODi is a leading industry initiative focused on developing the market for digital printing through education and standards activities. Other key activities include digital printing market analysis and sales training.