I just returned from a Ricoh Production Print Solutions digital book conference (“The Next Chapter”). Much to Ricoh’s credit, this event provided lots of useful information on the current and future status of all segments of book publishing and production. In short, the emphasis was more on process, and less on product.
Being part of the vendor lineup, I got to see some sneak peeks at what’s coming at drupa. This trend I have titled “Bindermania.” The reason being that drupa will see a host of new perfect binder entries all designed to smooth the finishing workflow for both inkjet- and toner-based digital presses.
The main points coming out of the Ricoh event was that book production will continue to see shorter runs with shorter turnaround times. Since much of book finishing is soft-cover work, the perfect binding category represents the largest segment opportunity for vendors.
All of the new machines are designed for the digital workspace. They can either run in-line with the press, or in a near-line configuration.
Here’s what I know:
- IBIS Bindery Systems will show its new Sprint 2000J four-clamp prefect binder. This system is rated for up to 1,800 cycles per hour, and can automatically load book blocks coming from the printer, or from a near-line postpress sheeter-cutter.
- In a first (for the company), MBO will also show a binder designed to accept digital book blocks.
- Kolbus, long a hold-out in the digital arena, will introduce a new binder with lots of automation intended for the ultra short-run market.
- Tecnau, which recently purchased Lasemax-Roll Systems, may show its “Libra” Book-of-One system. Libra is an entire production module intended specifically for book-of-one output with mixed sizes and formats. It can produce up to 600 books per hour.
- In something of a surprise, CMC, another Italian manufacturer, will also debut a roll-input book production machine with both a binder and three-knife trimmer.
- Of course, we anticipate some surprises from the “big dog” of the bunch, Muller Martini. But the company is being very quiet about its intentions.