drupa 04 Report Binding & Finishing — Building Better Binderi
Trend V: Shorter Press Runs Means Shorter Bindery Runs. As press runs become shorter and shorter, the demand for quick-turnaround binding increases, as well. At one time, short print runs typically meant toner-based pages stapled in the upper left corner. But today, print customers expect perfect binding and other quality finishing on their short-run work.
Drupa 2004 abounded with vendors seeking to satisfy these low-volume quality binding needs. Companies as large as GBC and as small as UPC Print, of Vaasa, Finland, showed a wide variety of approaches to short-run binding, including easy-to-do hard cover finishing for digital printing output.
Trend VI: Opportunities in Finishing Exist Beyond Traditional Printing. Numerous exhibitors demonstrated finishing techniques that went well beyond traditional binding. Hunkeler and Billhöfer, for example, showed high-speed application of RFID antennas and chips to printed material.
Companies like Streamfeeder, Multifeeder and Pfankuch showed the ability to feed and attach a wide variety of items such as cards, CD-ROMs and sachet packets to printed materials at very high speeds. Today, print finishing often means far more than merely assembling printed materials. And as advertisers seek to distinguish their products from others, these opportunities are expected to expand dramatically.
Trend VII: The Integration of Binding and Finishing. The binding and finishing trends cited earlier focus on the operational issues beyond the press. But perhaps the most important trend to come out of Drupa 2004 indicates that, in the future, print finishing will be viewed simply as part of a larger whole. Today, postpress operations are still essentially separate from prepress and pressroom functions.
Once off the press, sheets or rolls are moved to a separate area for binding or finishing. In the case of trade binderies or trade finishing shops, those functions may not even be part of actual print production.
But printing is quickly becoming an integrated manufacturing operation, with inputs consisting of electronic files and raw materials, and the output consisting of finished materials ready for the final user or buyer. This Drupa demonstrated the viability of computer-integrated print manufacturing, with JDF-enabled machines talking to one another, and with finishing operations occurring at press speeds or in-line with the actual printing.