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CEO of Finishing Resources, Inc

The Finish Line

By Don Piontek

About Don

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 Death of Books Has Been Greatly Exaggerated!

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...  Read More >>

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When Your Technology Faces the End

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.  Read More >>

How Many Binders Do We Need?

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.  Read More >>

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Finishing Workflow in Digital

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.  Read More >>

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Vendors Say: One Is Better Than Two

The opportunity space that is out there in the industry right now cannot support as many individual manufacturers as there are. Like any other industry facing the same problems, it may be time for some of these vendors to consolidate.  Read More >>

Automating the Short-Run Hardcover

Today's book printers and binders have created small modular work cells which can change case, cover, and book block sizes in minutes. But there aren't a whole lot of master bookbinders floating around in the marketplace right now, so another challenge is getting workers to produce high-quality hardcovers without having the benefit of a long training course or apprenticeship. Enter GP2 Technologies.  Read More >>

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The World of FASTSIGNS

A recent visit to my local FASTSIGNS franchise in Eden Prairie, MN, opened my eyes to the variety of finishing operations that this franchise is tasked with. I also learned of the vast potential that they have due to the sheer number of signage products that they can turn out.  Read More >>

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GRAPH EXPO 14 Tales, Part Two: Longevity

One of the terrific things about trade shows is that they act as a sort of annual reunion where you get to catch up with many of the contacts you have missed during the past year. You may only have a few minutes to shoot the breeze with each one, but you'd be surprised at the insights you can gain in a two-minute conversation.  Read More >>

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GRAPH EXPO 14 Tales - Part One

Many years of attending GRAPH EXPO have taught me that like the great markets of the Middle East and Asia, sometimes treasures are hidden away in the back of the halls. So I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled across the Gunther Technologies stand.  Read More >>

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The 'NEW MBO America'—What Does It Mean?

As the world of print tilts more and more towards digital, MBO and MBO America have had to seriously rethink their game plan. Issues such as the trend towards very short runs, the lack of experienced bindery operators and the need to enter the digital finishing and packaging markets have all weighed heavily on them.

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Digital Finishing: To Fold or Not?

The old-line bindery vendors have been working hard to get their new digital finishing offerings into newer markets, and to establish themselves as preferred partners with the digital press manufacturers. But this is a space that has been adequately filled for may years. These "traditional" vendors will have to prove that they've got some new finishing technology tricks to offer that are superior (and cost-effective) in order to claim their share of digital print finishing.  Read More >>

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Digital Finishing for Newspapers?

The inkjet printing revolution is in full swing, with one exception. Newspapers. While many pundits have been predicting the death of the printed paper, I think they're going to be around for some time.  Read More >>

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Can You Do Variable?

I often get calls from printers (and binderies) asking about that "smart" saddle stitcher that they've heard about. There is a substantial difference between a conventional saddle stitcher and the IBIS Smart-binder. I can visualize tiny lights going on in their heads as I explain the Smart-binder's unique technology.  Read More >>

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Made In China?

The lower manufacturing costs in China have begun to look quite attractive. While a terrific number of products we buy in everyday life are made there, the presence of both Chinese-made offset presses and bindery systems in the United States have been minimal so far.  Read More >>

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Simpler Is Better

After a long career helping to configure fairly complex mailing and finishing systems, I have learned to reduce complexity wherever I can. In an effort to reduce labor input, today's offset and digital finishing systems incorporate multiple components.  Read More >>

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Better Finishing Through Chemistry

Adhesives are widely used in finishing, this includes perfect binding, folding, mailing, and folding carton applications. And coatings and various chemical solutions are used in the digital print process to both enhance image quality and make the paper more "finishing-friendly." Both chemistry and environmental control have a lot to do with systems performance.  Read More >>

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Will Master Bookbinder Craft Survive?

I won't lie. I've spent the majority of my time in long-run commercial bindery and digital finishing. But, I've had opportunities to see how "craft" book binderies produce exquisite, valuable hard cover products. How long will this craftsmanship survive in the age of Facebook and Instagram?  Read More >>

'Artificial' Intelligence in the Bindery

Today's cutters, folders, saddlestitchers and binders are extremely "intelligent." This is a necessity due to the need to reduce makeready time, and to compensate for the lack of "old hand" experience in the bindery. In today's digital print environment, training apprenticeships have all but disappeared, and an operator may be thrown into production with a few days worth of training.  Read More >>

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Pricing Your Finishing Systems Correctly

No one really expects their machinery to last 10 years because of changing industry demands and the steady stream of new technologies. These are now introduced every few months, instead of years. Make no mistake, there is a "correct" price for every machine out there, and it pays to do your research when determining the market price.  Read More >>

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The Proposal: Make Sure You Get it Right

If you're out there selling six- or seven-figure systems, make sure you spend the time and effort to ensure that your proposal clearly explains your system, its advantages and all of its configuration and options. Don't hand your prospect a price list generated by software. They deserve better.  Read More >>

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