Digital Finishing — Making a Stitch in Time

Installing finishing equipment in-line with a digital press, such as this Xerox iGen3 and Duplo DBM-5000 bookletmaker combo, enabled Western Lithograph in Houston, a GGX company, to fit the system in a tight space, along with gaining production efficiency.

Mimeo.com has taken a manufacturing approach to its plant design, with conveyors and bins used to route work around the plant. Here, jobs are checked in the Binding QA department before being delivered.

Doing More With Less

Going in-line vs. near-line is an issue CGX sometimes goes round and round on, both internally and with clients. The economic and business climate is now adding extra weight to the decision, he adds.

“We’re being very cautious just like everyone else, and trying to limit our spend. I’ve been having that very discussion (about a near-line solution requiring a smaller capital outlay) with one of our companies, as we look at what we are going to invest in this year. It traditionally has gone in-line, but I think near-line might be a better solution,” Ude explains.

Given Mimeo.com’s focus on “super efficiency” and the fact that it’s an all-digital operation, it may come as somewhat of a surprise that the company has almost exclusively taken the off-line approach to meet its finishing needs. From its headquarters in New York City, John Delbridge, COO, overseas the operations of the company’s original production facility in Memphis (140,000 square feet) and a newly completed, second plant in Newark, NJ (80,000 square feet).

“We build facilities that are more like a manufacturing operation. The bulk of the print engines are separated out from the finishing machines, and we use conveyors and other means to get materials to the right finishing stations,” Delbridge explains. “We’ve built a proprietary routing system that extends from the order being submitted, all the way through to the shipping department.”

The system uses job tickets and barcodes that feed information to proprietary software for tracking where a job is in the plant and where it needs to go. Algorithms prioritize what job gets worked on next at each station to meet delivery times.

“Since an order will get routed to the appropriate finishing station automatically, distance is not really a relevant measure for us,” says the COO. “We don’t put the bindery equipment right next to the (digital) press because we have specific binding areas.”

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