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GRAPH EXPO WRAP-UP -- Postpress Alliances Abound

November 2002

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.


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