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.

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.

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