SYSTEM INTEGRATION -- Process Ins and Outs
Linking With the Bindery
Unfortunately, the same types of problems are now cropping up as the company works to extend this link to the bindery, according to Illa. "Currently, if we want to take full advantage of the automation features in our bindery equipment, we are faced with having to switch imposition systems. We would have to change our whole workflow, learn a different software application and add six new PC-based workstations," he says. "We are trying to push our existing vendors to step up to the plate, but at some point you can't wait any more."
Japs-Olson's system integration efforts have had repercussions beyond the hardware/software level of the organization, Illa reports. "Our departments definitely are working closer together. In fact, we created a position—color systems manager—just to be a liaison between prepress and the pressroom. We also had to teach our prepress people about the pressroom," he explains. "Now, we're having to do the same things with prepress and the bindery."
The management of Crowson Stone Printing in Columbia, SC, has set system integration goals every bit as ambitious as Japs-Olson's, but it has taken a different tack because of its size. "We are trying to make our process an automated manufacturing workflow," says John deLoach III, company president. "With a company our size (55 employees), we can implement technologies faster and more successfully by working with a single vendor."
CIP4 is the foundation of Crowson Stone's automation efforts, as well. It routinely takes advantage of the ink key presetting capabilities in its equipment but, like Japs-Olson, has found bindery operations a little tougher to integrate.
"Actually, our first exposure to a CIP4-enabled product was with our cutter," points out David Schmidt, prepress systems manager. The shop didn't initially implement the interface in part because its bindery operators were already faced with learning how to use the new computer controls on the cutter.