Digital Finishing -- Making a Stitch in Time
Mimeo.com has set up different finishing cells that are configured for producing a specific type of product. It has a photo cell, for example, with all of the cutting, binding, gluing and other equipment required to produce its photo products clustered together in a self-contained work area. Punching and binding equipment for twin-loop, spiral and three-ring binding are also tied together in similar cells.
The company has standardized on Kodak Nexpress print engines for its color work, and has about a dozen machines across the two facilities. There’s also a degree of standardization in the types of pieces being produced because its primary focus is bound business documents—presentations, RFPs, training books and the like.
The specifics of a job can vary greatly, though. Orders can range from a quantity of one to thousands, specify different types of bindings, and include a variety of components, such as color or black-and-white pages, tabs, slip sheets, etc.
“Given the variability of our work and the quantities, it makes less sense for us to have a lot of in-line capabilities,” he explains. “It’s not like we are doing program print jobs with large volumes of the same piece. You need the volume to keep an in-line solution working 24 hours a day.” Mimeo.com does utilize some of the more standard finishing options that come with a digital press, including stapling and tape binding, Delbridge adds.
No Digital-Offset Divide
Capitol City Press, in Tumwater, WA, has a production scenario that’s more akin to the average industry shop. Its digital department has a Xerox iGen3 color press and a DocuTech 6180 black-and-white machine. The workhorses of its sheetfed offset arsenal are two six-color (40? and 28?) Komori Lithrone presses. All press work is fed to a common bindery department.
The shop’s digital work tends to be one-off and smaller jobs that mostly need just cutting and folding, reports Mel Caldwell, bindery manager. Postcards, brochures, posters and raffle/dance tickets are typical applications. A fair share of the work includes variable data, particularly jobs for the casinos in the area. Unlike the previously mentioned companies, Capitol uses simple, manual checking to ensure that those pieces are kept in the right order through cutting and on out to the post office.