Johan Laurent explains one of the many continuous-feed digital printing and in-line processing applications shown during the Hunkeler InnovationDays.

Rick Carletti (center), director of mechanical engineering at Direct Group, gets his questions answered by Bob Flinn (right), Standard Finishing’s director of business development, during the trade show event in Switzerland.

From the left, Hunkeler InnovationDays attendees Bill Graushar, Quad/Graphics; Jacob Lin, RR Donnelley; and Jane Bloodworth, The World Bank; confer with Standard’s Johan Laurent.

LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND—Faster web speeds. Wider press platforms. Full color bleeds. Unique product applications. Integrated finishing. The growth and emergence of high-speed, continuous-feed digital printing presses are requiring print-on-demand operations, data centers and direct mail shops to look at the output engine as just one part of the buying equation, given the needs for pre/post paper handling and finishing systems that are compatible with today’s high-speed presses. That was readily apparent to the nearly 4,000 attendees who converged at the eighth bi-annual Hunkeler InnovationDays, held recently in this quaint Swiss city nestled along Lake Lucerne. With more than 60 companies represented, including major digital press providers Canon, HP, InfoPrint Solutions, Kodak, Océ, Screen, Xeikon and Xerox, the “mini” trade show focused on a broad range of system configurations to showcase a comprehensive, systems approach to continuous document production.

Each day, integrated systems that incorporated equipment from different manufacturers output numerous direct mail, transpromotional, book, short-run newspaper, RFID, continuous form and label applications. By combining the pre/post printing processing of Hunkeler innovations, among others, with finishing offerings from companies such as Horizon, various roll-to-roll and roll-to-sheet jobs were being produced—all at very high speeds, with minimal downtime and requiring limited operator manual intervention.

As the North American distributor for both Hunkeler paper processing and Horizon finishing equipment, Andover, MA-based Standard Finishing Systems hosted a group of leading U.S. printers, direct mailers and in-plant managers to witness InnovationDays 2009. Standard was represented by Steven Reny, president; George Vergilis, director of sales; Bob Flinn, director of business development; and Johan Laurent, Hunkeler business manager.

A sampling of the many technology demonstrations follows:

• The Océ stand featured the world premier of on-demand book production with dynamic format changes (81⁄2×11? to A5) in the folding machine, down to even a single copy. An Océ VarioPrint 6250 cut-sheet printer fed printed book blocks of varying thicknesses and paper stocks into a Hunkeler LS6-S stacking module with integrated signature gluing. This allows secure and simple handling between the production line and the perfect binder. A companion demo showed an SF4 sheet feeder module for nonstop feeding from a paper roll.

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