Work Smarter, Not Harder, in the Bindery
Join us as we explore the latest trends in this area of the print industry. It might just give you an exciting insight into what awaits you at Drupa 2012.
Automation: Have We Reached the Ceiling?
In recent years, binding systems have become highly automated. As to the question of whether this trend will continue or if automation has reached its limit, only Drupa 2012 will tell. If there is no more progress to be made in this area, where else might development be focused?
Thomas Krischke, commercial postpress manager at Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, believes that the dominant trend will be to drive to increased efficiency and productivity. In finishing, he explains, automation serves primarily to reduce makeready times for frequently changing small runs, the most extreme case being single-copy runs in digital printing. With large print runs, however, the productivity of the overall process is the key factor.
At Müller Martini, automation has always been a key focus of development. It says simpler, smarter operation results in faster makeready and error avoidance, and thus higher productivity.
“As print runs get smaller, workflow automation and the organization of the associated business processes, such as logistics, become even more important,” stresses CEO Bruno Müller.
“We haven’t reached the ceiling yet,” adds MBO Sales Manager Jan Oldenkott. “The next stage in finishing will be book-on-demand printing.” His vision is to produce every book with a different format.
Olaf Wallner, marketing, sales and service manager at Kugler-Womako, sees two key trends—a high level of automation in industrialized economies and fast format changes with small- to medium-sized batches. He points to productivity as the dominant force, particularly in mass production. The requirements, Wallner says, are for low staff levels and high productivity, which can only be achieved with a high degree of automation.
“In response to customer pressure, manufacturers have developed fully automatic machines,” says Kai Büntemeyer, CEO of Kolbus, “but these are not generally used to modernize traditional, manual production processes. Machine development has only reached a ceiling to the extent that the machines cannot be automated any further in themselves. There is still plenty of potential as far as machine users are concerned.”