Digital Finishing — Where to Draw the Line?
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The digital printers sending Book1One bindery work don’t have the volumes to justify bringing the capability in-house. “It’s hard to justify spending $80,000 on a piece of equipment that you are going to use once a week or once every two weeks,” he points out. “For perfect binding, a tabletop unit might make sense, but with a lot of that equipment the binding quality isn’t the same.”
Working the justification equation from the other end, Daubert says Book1One is moving toward getting its own digital press. “When we hit our trigger point in terms of the volume of digital work being outsourced, we’ll put an engine on the floor. After 18 months, we kind of hit a glass ceiling with Book1One in serving the local market. We need our own press to go outside that (geographic) market in a bigger way.”
The shop will be careful not to step outside its market from a service standpoint, however. “As a trade binder, it could be very detrimental to be perceived as a digital printer putting flat sheets out the door. We will not be producing flat sheets, sell sheets, brochures or variable data-type mailers. We do book work.”
Some digital work does also come into The Riverside Group side of the business, Daubert says. “We do quite a bit of film laminating of digitally produced sheets, and also diecutting. We’ve done some foil stamping, too, and experimented with processes such as UV coating. The toner-based product sucks up the UV so the printing looks all mottled.”
Just another example of why the requirements of digital finishing are unique, whether it be done in-, near- or off-line. PI
Planned Off-Line Finishing Equipment Investments: 2006-2011
Coating and Varnishing 34%
Perfect Binding 25%
Source: State Street Consultants as published in PRIMIR’s “Digital Printing Outlook in a Production Environment” study.