The Finish Line

Don has worked in technical support, sales, engineering, and management during a career in both the commercial offset and digital finishing sectors. He is the North American representative for IBIS Bindery Systems, Ltd. of The United Kingdom.

It was heartwarming to read last week's New York Times article "E-Book Sales Slip, and Print is Far From Dead" that was published on Sept. 22. E-book sales continue to slip, and publishers are building new warehouse distribution centers for, yes, REAL BOOKS.

Modern digital finishing systems have developed to become quite reliable press partners, and the overall savings in both time and labor from combining print and finishing are compelling. It's becoming clear, the best combination of digital print and finishing usually wins the deal!

Some lesser-known players in production inkjet are starting to make their mark. One such entity is Super Web Digital of New York. When the narrow web offset segment basically collapsed, Super Web met with Memjet, an inkjet technology company.

Despite numerous advances in inkjet print quality, and in the range of substrates that can be successfully printed on, inkjet is not going to replace either web or sheetfed offset anytime soon. The real test of inkjet is, how well does it replace offset in the right applications?

I've written more than once on the rapid evolution of finishing, which is being driven by the equally rapid adoption of inkjet web printing. Inline web finishing was always something of a "black art" in the offset web world. Since high-speed offset web presses don't print at the push of a button, performing complex finishing operations inline with the web press took a lot of engineering expertise.

This is a story that's no doubt been repeated more than once. You're a company with a long and glorious tradition of manufacturing first-class finishing equipment. You've had a terrific run through the 70's, 80's, 90's and into the 21st century. But in the last four years, things have shifted.

More Blogs