In-Line vs. Off-Line — Cross the Finish Line
Also, off-line is less expensive to equip than in-line, and it is less expensive to makeready.
But what is important to remember is not to pit off-line against in-line, users say. "Each has their own niche. You have to look at who your customers are and what their needs are, and then gear your equipment effectively," adds Humphrey.
What is important to consider when purchasing an in-line system is whether or not it has the ability to grow and handle the increasing demand for products finished in-line.
"We see it as a growing market for us. When we look at purchasing an in-line finishing system, we seek systems that are modular and can be moved around. We also want equipment that is uniform and reliable. Ease-of-operation is also a factor in our decision," says Humphrey. "We are also looking for servo-driven components rather than shaft-driven components because they offer us more flexibility and reliability."
Humphrey notes that he tends to buy equipment off-the-shelf and then integrates those components in a proprietary fashion in order to meet Quebecor's needs.
Finally, realize that the best answer for your business may be a combination of both both in-line and off-line finishing systems.
Near-line Makes an Entrance
One area of the bindery that is growing is near-line finishing. It is being fueled by the digital printing market and the ever-growing demand by customers to get their work faster, cheaper and better.
Dennis James, manager of press planning and management for A.B.Dick Co., which owns the exclusive rights to market Watkiss Vario finishing and collating equipment in the United States, explains what near-line finishing is, as well as its benefits, challenges and future growth.
PI: What is a near-line finishing system?
James: A near-line system accepts printed sheets from the digital printer; adds additional sheets such as coated cover stocks, if required; and then passes the set through a bookletmaker and trimmer to produce a high-quality, finished booklet. It is unique because it can accept sequentially printed sets that are electronically collated, or it can function as a normal collator and bookletmaker for conventional, batch printed sets.