Open Enrollment | Subscribe to Printing Impressions HERE
Connect
Follow us on
Advertisement
 

GRAPH EXPO WRAP-UP -- Postpress Alliances Abound

November 2002
BY CHRIS BAUER


While some sectors of the graphic arts industry moved to a more automated and computer-dependent process years ago, binding and finishing equipment seemed to lag behind. At Graph Expo and Converting Expo 2002, it was apparent that the bindery is no longer the blue-collar cousin of the pressroom and prepress department.

Automation can now be found in just about every corner of the bindery. Today's newest machines incorporate operator touchscreen interfaces, servo motors and automated makereadies. And with industry standards such as JDF and CIP3/CIP4 slowly catching on, an even more sophisticated, computer-integrating finishing department is on the horizon.

Software for the Bindery

Driving this point home, software provider ScenicSoft and MBO America announced that they have successfully demonstrated CIP3 connectivity between UpFront 2.0 and all MBO Perfection folding machines equipped with Navigator or Rapidset. UpFront 2.0, the next release of ScenicSoft's production-planning tool, will be generally available in Q1 2003.

"By focusing on open standards, such as CIP3 and CIP4, we are able to build solutions today that connect the entire range of activities from the CSR all the way to the finishing department," contends Erik Smith, president of ScenicSoft.

"The future of print production relies on automation," adds Hans Max, president and CEO of MBO America. "Planning jobs digitally in UpFront and exporting folding data via CIP3 directly to folding machines will allow our customers to further streamline and automate their workflows."

The setup of finishing equipment can be automated when a printing organization is connected to an optional digital CIP3 link that can accept and interpret Print Production Format (PPF) files. UpFront generates the detailed finishing data for these devices in the production planning stage.

The benefits of integrating MIS systems with planning, prepress and finishing systems include: more accurate estimates, better scheduling, higher consistency and repeatability, error and waste reduction, and increased overall throughput.

This announcement was just one of several between traditional finishing equipment suppliers and those known more for their place in the digital realm.

For example, Océ Printing Systems USA and Bell & Howell signed a joint alliance. The companies now have the ability to integrate high-speed printers with many finishing options and receive service on all pre- and post-processing equipment.

Under the agreement, Océ and Bell & Howell will join forces to address the market's need for complete, high-speed print production, binding and bookletmaking solutions—all with single-source support. Customers reportedly gain more flexibility in post-processing options and have improved service for all digital equipment with one source of service management.

As an extension of the new alliance, Océ will now sell, with Bell & Howell, the newly available DemandWorks binding and bookletmaking solutions. The saddle stitch and perfect binding solutions accept single- or dual-stream input. Both products offer full integrity tracking, cover matching and co-mingled color and black-and-white documents.

Marketing Agreement

In another development, GBC Films Group announced a co-marketing agreement with Hewlett-Packard to develop and promote complementary media and laminating solutions.

The cooperative program combines resources and products from both companies to expand the printing and finishing opportunities and capabilities of users. The agreement is designed to offer GBC customers better solutions through focused laminate and media compatibility testing, in-depth technical support, extensive application knowledge via printed and on-line marketing materials, and shared trade-show activities.

GBC Films Group will test HP media with GBC films to make recommendations on compatibility, usage and applications. GBC will share its expertise of coatings and lamination with HP for the development of new products and applications to reduce users' overall job costs. In addition, GBC will have access to ink and media expertise from HP.

Also at the show, Muller Martini pointed out that its saddle stitching system that automates and accelerates the makeready process has received a technological honor. The Prima AMRYS recently received a 2002 InterTech Award from the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (GATF).

"The shorter press runs required by targeted marketing tactics mean binderies have to be equipped to switch from job to job faster than ever before," says Werner Naegeli, president and CEO of Muller Martini. "If they fail to keep pace, alternative media will start taking projects away from printers."

AMRYS stands for Automatic MakeReadY System. Prima AMRYS automates one of the most time-consuming jobs in the bindery—setting up saddle stitching systems between jobs. Job parameters can be entered by the operator or directly downloaded from prepress or MIS via the CIP3 PPF. At the end of each job, all settings can be stored on a PC to accommodate re-orders.

The interface partnership between Muller Martini and ScenicSoft also moved to a higher level—CIP3 saddle stitching data files can now be exported to machines equipped with Muller Martini's AMRYS through ScenicSoft's UpFront product.

In a related development, it was announced that a Prima AMRYS system will be installed at GATF's Sewickley, PA-based headquarters by the end of the year. Muller Martini will install the stitcher in the foundation's production center to enhance the group's research and training capabilities.

The system will be configured with six pockets and a cover feeder, enabling GATF to run a wide variety of saddle stitched products. A commissioning event will be conducted after the system begins its research and training tasks at the foundation. The date and agenda will be announced as the machine moves closer to installation.

In other saddle stitching news, Heidelberg debuted the Stitchmaster ST 400, equipped with an integrated format presetting. The unit produces output at speeds up to 14,000 cph. In-line folding is provided by a mobile cover feeder. Stitching is achieved with the newly developed and minimum-weight Hohner SB 50 stitching heads. This product was voted a "Must See 'Em" by industry experts before the show.

New Binding System

Heidelberg also unveiled the Probinder, a finishing system for double-loop wire comb binding. The company plans to commercially offer three models of the Probinder—in-line, near-line and off-line—next August. It can be used for digital and small-format printing for jobs such as books-on-demand and short-run color applications.

Other finishing-related news from Graph Expo, this time from Buhrs Americas, included the debut of BuhrsWrap, a new poly wrapping that is intended to improve the presentation of journals, magazines and other media products. It includes a longitudinal perforation for simple opening.

With BuhrsWrap, products can be tightly packed in poly without flaps at the top and bottom. The poly is stretched out over the product without the molecular structure being changed. This process takes place without the use of heat, so no extra energy is used. The absence of top and bottom flaps means less poly is being used.

Hoping to make a bigger splash in the in-line finishing world, Standard Finishing Systems showed the recently released Standard Horizon ColorWorks 2000, an all-in-one document finisher designed exclusively for operation in-line to the Xerox DocuColor 2000 and 6000 Series digital color presses. The ColorWorks 2000 was shown for the first time in-line with a DocuColor 6060 digital color press at the Standard booth during Graph Expo.

The compact ColorWorks system performs corner-, side- and center-stapling functions, with booklet folding and face trimming. Finished booklets are delivered to an integrated vertical stacker for convenience and space efficiency, while flat sheets are delivered to an offsetting catch tray. An integrated suction cover feeder is also available, and an optional rotator to permit nearly all finishing styles on all common paper sizes will be released later in the year.

More Digital Finishing

Also for Xerox devices, the SquareFold bookletmaker was announced. Available through Xerox Corp., this product reportedly gives DocuTech users the look and feel of perfect-bound books at a quarter of the price. The device produces a square-fold edge on saddle stitched booklets. The SquareFold is also said to mark the introduction of the 100th finishing solution from Xerox.
 

COMMENTS

Click here to leave a comment...
Comment *
Most Recent Comments: