Some Finishing Thoughts from GRAPH EXPO

Even though I didn’t get the opportunity to visit all of the finishing system exhibitors at GRAPH EXPO 2012, I did see enough to form some opinions on current trends and developments in the industry. While digital printing was once again the central focus of the show floor, finishing remains key in creating quality, exciting products across the board.

Here are a few points that stood out:

PUR continues to grow.—PUR adhesive continues to displace other binding technologies. Edition and photo book binders have proven that PUR has the longevity and strength to replace sewn book blocks for many products expected to have a long life. One binder at the show told me that of the many thousands of books the company has bound using PUR, not a single page of a single book has fallen out.

This growth in usage has been mirrored by the introduction of new PUR perfect binders by new industry players. Extrusion technology (instead of roller application) is being employed by newer vendors selling fairly low-cost systems. SUch lower cost systems, in turn, expand the number of PUR users.

The “losers” here, have been the makers of book sewing machines.

More mailing innovation.
—So, you thought all of those direct mail pieces would move to the Internet? Not so. Internet advertising is actually moving to mobile apps, and direct mail continues to grow at close to 3 percent annually. Both traditional bindery manufacturers and the makers of mailing machinery continued to innovate in response.

I saw a terrific modular system from a long-time folder manufacturer that started from a pre-printed roll. In-line diecutting, folding, gluing, inkjet addressing and window patching capabilities resulted in a great-looking mail piece coming out the other end. This type of “in-line” direct mail is usually produced on multimillion dollar specialty press lines. But an integrated machine like the one I saw in Chicago would allow a printer to offer unique mail pieces to its customers.

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.
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