You’ve no doubt heard this before, but I come from the offset finishing world, and specifically the long-run finishing universe.
Well, I've put another "drupa notch" on my belt, and it was quite an experience. The weather in Düsseldorf was good, and the crowds were there. For those who have never been, the sheer size of the show, and the enormous investment by the hundreds of firms exhibiting are truly mind-boggling. Deals were done, and many were for multiple high-priced systems, putting lots of smiles on vendor salespeople and management.
It's no secret that we're dealing with a greatly compressed printing industry as opposed to the "roaring '90s." For trade binderies, the news has been even worse. In the last few years, some of the largest trade shops in the Chicago-land, the East Coast, and more have closed their doors. But, amidst the bad news, there are trade binderies that are not only surviving, but doing well, thank you. What are their secrets?
Barcodes are simple and adaptable. They can be easily printed via imposition subroutines, and they can contain lots of information, depending on the symbology used. Barcode readers are both capable and affordable. A barcode printed on a sheet, signature, or cover can trigger actions on a finishing system and record important data such as job number and collation order at the same time.
Many finishing operations wonder which machines to invest in. Given the shifting sands of the market, this is not an easy decision.
There's been tremendous progress in developing the inventory-less "book-of-one" technology over the past few years. Despite the gloom-and-doom forecasts of the demise of the printed book, sales have proved otherwise. E-books sales have "plateaued" and even declined over the past few years, and study after study confirms the benefits of the printed page over the glow of the screen.
You know it’s coming. Flights and hotels (hopefully) have been booked, and the world’s largest graphics event is not far away.
The IBIS Smart-Binder was designed from the get-go as a true saddle stitcher for the digital print environment.
More than the general print sector, newspapers in general have been heavily impacted by the internet and mobile devices.
The other day, I received an email from a true "legend" in the bookbinding industry. The email informed me, that after 65 years of service, he was finally going to concentrate on more important matters like taking care of his family. The man is the RIT Professor (Emeritus) Werner Rebsamen. And what a storied career the Professor has had.
Virtually all of the major bindery systems' manufacturers are now concentrating on digital print. And they're introducing new offerings at a rapid pace. This year's drupa will see an eye-popping number of new and innovative bindery offerings designed specifically for digital.
As Donald Trump would say, digital print is "HUUGE!" There are more than enough offerings on both the toner and inkjet side. What has been missing (until now) is a scientific and objective method to accurately measure the performance of a particular press. That ability is finally here in the form of Image Test Labs.
Quick! Name two consumables that are indispensable to operation in the bindery. If you named adhesives as one, you'd be on the mark. But...if you included knives, (yes, they are a consumable), you would be quite savvy. Cutting and trimming are part of almost every finishing operation. And the quality of those cuts are essential to the quality of the finished product.
Industry savants, equipment vendors, and printers, have all piled on the "book-of-one" model for the book printing sector. This manufacturing model uses an inventory-less book manufacturing process. This is where sophisticated software manages retail and wholesale inventory levels in a continuous feedback loop to manage re-stock, or initial production orders.
Sitting less than 30 miles from my modest home office is a print and publishing powerhouse. Thomson Reuters, in Eagan, Minnesota is involved in so many areas of electronic and print media it's hard to tell how many. Founded as West Publishing Company, it eventually grew into the largest printer of legal material in the U.S.