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.

I spent a fair amount of my career in high-volume commercial print finishing. Sadly, the only two real multi-plant operations left standing are Quad/Graphics and RRD. In the "old days," runs were in the millions of copies and machines could run continuously for days.

It wasn't very long ago that the pundits were declaiming the death of the printed book. Yes, it wouldn't be long before the printed book was replaced by the soft glow of millions of e-book readers—illuminating bedroom walls as we read our e-book before hitting the sack. How wrong they were...

A serious part of my career in finishing was spent in the somewhat esoteric field of polywrapping systems. The "modern" polywrapper was developed in Italy in the 1970's, and due to a number of circumstances, became big business by the late 1980's and really big business in the 90's.

Quality standards have slipped a bit in book production, and customers are more concerned about the production cost of the product as opposed to whether it's perfect (or not). The Wohlenberg Quickbinder is entering a crowded and mature field, and it will be interesting to see whether such a feature-rich system can make its mark.

The work-in-progress workflow in commercial printing has evolved over decades and is now fairly well defined. On the digital side, things are still in a bit of a flux. High-volume digital printing (mainly inkjet) has expanded so rapidly that the finishing component has had to sprint to keep up.

More Blogs