Digital Finishing -- Making a Stitch in Time
Offset and digital sheets flow into a common bindery area, which makes it a completely off-line operation. Caldwell says the company selects equipment with an eye toward supporting the needs of both sides and “getting the most bang for the buck, rather than just helping with one area.”
Its latest acquisition, a TR Die-Score system from Rollem International, may end up having a bigger payoff for digital work. Cracking and static are still the biggest challenges his department faces with finishing digital sheets. Small scoring and perfing jobs that had been tying up its MBO folders can now be offloaded to the dedicated scoring unit, he reports, and Capitol City can keep more work in-house.
Scheduling digital and offset jobs through one bindery isn’t a problem because all of the shop’s work is completed with a one- or two-day turnaround. “It’s not uncommon for us to proof an offset job in the morning and deliver the finished pieces that afternoon,” Caldwell says. “There’s not a whole lot of competing scheduling issues because (digital and offset) jobs just fall into the same workflow.”
Offset and digital finishing capabilities are also shared for the most part at CGX facilities, but some equipment is dedicated to specific work, reports Ude. With an initial digital press install, it makes sense to leverage as much existing finishing as possible. Then, as volumes grow and more presses are added, making digital-specific equipment purchases becomes a viable option, he advises.
Even though Mimeo.com is an all-digital operation, Delbridge says he looks for more heavy-duty finishing equipment that is suitable for offset work in order to get the productivity and durability needed for the volume of work produced at its facilities. “Since our jobs can vary greatly in run length, we try to find equipment that is very quick to change over,” notes the COO. Some of the work has sufficient volume to justify going a step further by installing multiple machines, such as saddlestitchers, and designating a format size for each.