In vs. off (line) — A "Fight" to the Finish
So, in doing its background research, Valassis Communications is investigating the potential marriage of its in-line capabilities with new off-line possibilities. Trager says the firm is currently speaking with several European printers who are using in-line/off-line systems.
Likewise, Quebecor World Direct and RRD Direct claim they are creating value for their customers by investing millions of dollars in in-line and off-line finishing systems.
As a "master finisher," one that boasts some of the most high-tech in-line and off-line equipment in the world, Kinderknecht says Quebecor World Direct has an even grander plan for the future.
"We're creating a mega-facility that will offer one-stop in-line/off-line finishing—from electronic imaging, outputting of plates, to printing, to finishing, to personalization, to lettershop to inserting components and mailing it—all under one roof," he says. The new facility (already operational at the Effingham, IL, division) is adding more equipment and should be "fully operational" as a one-stop shop this summer.
So, there you have it. In the great debate over in-line vs. off-line finishing, printers like Quebecor World Direct and RRD Direct have found the secret of a successful union of the two. By marrying the two technologies, the "vs." has been taken out of the equation. By employing combined in-line/off-line finishing systems, these printers are on their way to enjoying the "happily ever after" of graphic arts success.
A Dual Perspective . . .
Objectively speaking—as a manufacturer of both in-line and off-line finishing systems—Kim Markovich, vice president of North American sales and marketing at Western Printing Machinery (WPM), says there are pros and cons inherent to using each type of system.
However, the debate over in-line vs. off-line is not simply a matter of advantages and disadvantages, Markovich cautions. It's more a matter of what a web printer is trying to accomplish, what market he's trying to capture.