Many, many years ago there was a children’s book titled “The Little Engine That Could.” Somewhat like the little engine, IBIS Bindery Systems Ltd. was founded in the U.K. in 1999 by a small group of bindery systems engineers. They were the first firm to design a saddle stitching system that was specifically designed to process digitally printed sheets printed on continuous toner or inkjet printers
OK, I digress from my usual finishing tech. discussion this week. Although I’m on the digital finishing side, I spent enough time in the high-volume offset world to become quite familiar with publication, periodical and catalog production.
Don Piontek offers an inside look at the PRINT 17 show floor, sharing some finishing technology highlights that were on display.
With the new generation of finishing systems, connectivity has become a big selling point. Given the shift to shorter runs, machine availability, makeready time, and productivity are all critical to profits. So, accurate metrics have become more important than ever.
Printing equipment is more sophisticated and complex than ever. This is especially true of the latest generation of inkjet presses. This technology integrates electronics, chemistry, physics, software, and mechanical hardware in a dizzyingly complex package. The same goes for the new generation of finishing equipment.
Increasingly, customers are looking at the finishing end and wanting finishing solutions that are far from standard. The era of the “vanilla” book, mailing piece, or booklet is over. Printers are attempting to be more creative than ever (with good reason), and the prospect or customer applications that I’m tasked with require machine modifications that range from the minor, to very major.
There is a wide range of finishing automation for photobooks of all quality levels. But larger machines are not inexpensive and a photo book printer needs adequate volume to justify the capital expense. And this leads to the question of demand.
The overall shrinkage of the print market has challenged dealers like never before. A smaller potential customer base forces them to diversify their product lines further, and to try to enter new potential markets. This is far from easy, as (successfully) entering a new market — especially against existing competitors — takes lots of time and money. And this also works against new suppliers trying to enter the U.S. market.
The Bibliotheca Alexandrina and the great libraries in Italy, France, The British Library and others, hold the world’s great historical treasures in printed form. And their continued viability is due to the little-known daily work of these bookbinding and preservation artists.
To understand the bindery process, it’s crucial to train operators to understand the machine’s automation and its underlying processes.
How important is data in digital finishing? It’s critical. You’re probably relating this to the fact that digital is (by its file-based nature) all about variable data. But beyond creating personalized documents and books, there is the larger question of integrating production data into the plant workflow and MIS systems.
I was at the 2017 Inkjet Summit a few weeks ago. As usual, the buzz on inkjet was intense, with many good presentations covering the latest advances in inkjet technology. But the one item that jumped out at me during one of them was that well over 90% of print was still being created by offset technology. Digital print technology accounts for less than 3% of the total print market.
So, why did I title this small piece “bragging rights?” Well, when we (IBIS) attended the awards dinner on Wednesday at our first Inkjet Summit, it turned out that we had been nominated for the best case study in the publishing segment. We didn’t WIN, mind you, but we got a nomination, in company with some of the biggest industry vendors. It was a great way to end our first Inkjet Summit.
I've been in the industry long enough to have witnessed a small parade of attempts to develop universal print-and-finishing interfaces. In the 90’s, there was an effort to develop a common interface among inkjet printers being used on offset finishing lines. In 1999, a much more ambitious effort by the CIP4 consortium led to JDF (Job Definition Format) ... So, where are we now?
Concerned about all of that paper we’re writing and printing on, the Yadong Yin research group at University California Riverside decided to come up with a substrate that could be “written" on, and subsequently erased, through a variety of methods. This piqued my interest.