The Finishing drupa?

The last drupa international print fair and the upcoming one have both been characterized as the “inkjet drupa.” Rightly so, as the steady advance of inkjet technology continues.

But a printed roll of paper is worth nothing until it’s turned into a finished product. The high-speed inkjet manufacturers are starting to see the light on this, and are searching for “one-stop” manufacturing solutions.

That’s why I think this year’s drupe will see the introduction of lots of new finishing systems. New inkjet (and toner) continuous postpress systems from Lasermax – Roll Systems, Hunkeler, Kern, EMT, Magnum Digital, Muller Martini, Kolbus and many others will all make their debuts in Düsseldorf, Germany. I represent IBIS Bindery Systems and Zechini in the United States, both which will introduce new soft- and hard-cover binding systems.

With the steady penetration of digital technology into the offset printing space, printers, mailers and transactional firms do not want an “offset” workflow that uses lots of separate bindery components with the work being moved among them. Instead, they are looking for finishing systems that mirror the way their digital solutions work—with a smooth in-line or near-line production process with lots of automation for format changes and minimal labor input.

That’s not to say there haven’t been binding systems that have reached for these goals in the past. But, the emphasis at drupe 2012 will be on both innovation and machines that are actually productive and do the job.

It’s gonna be interesting!

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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