PRINT 05 Binding & Finishing -- Bound to Please
By Erik Cagle
Getting customers to stop by their booth was the No. 1 challenge facing manufacturers, suppliers and distributors during PRINT 05 & CONVERTING 05 in Chicago. Be it food, beverages, magicians or professional pool players, those exhibiting knew that getting one's attention was as critical as spreading their company's gospel.
This is particularly true for those purveyors of binding and finishing equipment, which offer such a vast array of products and services that it's easy for attentions to get divided. The key was in seeing those attentions get conquered.
For example, Standard Finishing Systems and Horizon International made a huge splash with the demonstration of a comprehensive JDF-driven bindery control system, called i2i, that boasts broad interoperability with a number of major manufacturer's equipment on the MIS, prepress and press sides. The bindery, of course, has long been the final frontier in terms of the lone remaining cog in the workflow where automation has not come to full fruition.
Looking to the Horizon
Other unveilings included the fully automated Standard Horizon BQ-470 four-clamp perfect binder and the Standard Horizon AFC-544FKT floor-model folder.
Böwe Bell + Howell was up to its eyes in company news—its recent acquisitions of BCC Software and Lasermax Roll Systems, and the launch of e-commerce mailing products platform BBHSupplies.com and mail production management software Böwe One. Those at the BCC Software booth were beaming about their new parent company.
One of the popular trends in the industry of late is the forging of multi-vendor relationships. As automation makes its way completely through the shop and printers demand continued points of differentiation from their suppliers, product breeding has become the movement du jour. One example of this is in the form of MBO's DIGI-Finisher which, in tandem with Hohner Stitching Products' HSB-7000 stitcher, demonstrated folding, stitching and brochure production at HP's booth.
Speaking of Hohner and the increasing movement toward manufacturer compatibility, its new HSS-HK Stitch System was showcased. It features a patent-pending wire cutting system and fits on a variety of stitchers.
Chicago was definitely the place to be for those looking to add a stacker to their shopping cart. Stacking was on the mind of those visiting the Kirk-Rudy booth, particularly with the KR 950 compensating stacker. The new kid on the block at Kirk-Rudy was the WaveJet addressing system solution for coated stock addressing.
RIMA-System is in full stacker mode following the pre-PRINT order of two RS 600 horizontal log stackers at Von Hoffmann's Jefferson City, MO, plant. The printer also ordered an RS 400 HS palletizing robot to be installed behind its Goss Sunday 3000 press. At the show itself, one of the latest items being touted by RIMA-System was the RS 620 vertical log stacker, which made its debut at McCormick Place.
Over at the IMC America booth, sales executive Ric Mayle was ecstatic over the brand-new release of the fully automatic Commander 140 stacker, which he felt was somewhat of a novelty for the medium-range price market. The machine is manufactured in southeastern Pennsylvania.
Also riding the stacker express was Gämmerler, which introduced the KL 6000 ad STC 700 compensating stackers, as well as the SV 500 and SH 080 vertical and horizontal log stackers.
The buzz at Baum centered around the ifold touchscreen solution for folding applications, dubbed as the affordable alternative to automation.
Indeed, folders and inserters were hot ticket items for many PRINT 05 shoppers. And while overall attendance was not up to expectations for some vendors, they were more than satisfied with the quality of booth visitors.
Take Spiel Associates, for example. The Long Island-based company pushed nine Digibinders out the door, five Coilmasters, four Punchmasters and three double-loop wire binders.
"It was a fantastic show for us," notes David Spiel, co-owner. "We had some great people coming through the booth—saw a lot of action."
Bindery vendors—almost across the board—viewed the show as a success. Bob Morton, president of Best Graphics, believes the trend toward automation in the bindery is what printers have in mind, and it is what they're earmarking money towards.
"We took more orders at PRINT than we've taken in the past nine years," Morton says. "It was a very good show for us, in terms of quality and serious buying traffic. We were blown away."
The lion's share of Best Graphics' success belonged to the Best Osako saddlestitching lines—about "50/50" in sales between the Estar and Tener models, according to Morton.
Bill Knotts, vice president of sales and marketing for Spartanics, was beaming with the company's recent announcement that it will be the new manufacturer of Klemm Laser Cut systems for digital diecutting. Spartanics will also serve as coordinator of the worldwide sales and service organization for the new Spartanics Klemm Laser Cut systems.
Therm-O-Type also got in on the new product announcement bandwagon, rolling out its new NSF A3+ press with capabilities including hot foil stamping, blind and foil embossing, diecutting and kiss cutting. A second debut offering was the AutoPro12 business card slitter.
At the Heidelberg booth, the postpress focus was on the need for folding and banding solutions. The venerable manufacturing giant showed its new generation of folders, including the Stahlmaster TH 66 6/4/4 buckle plate folder. Models such as the Stahlfolder TH 82/4 buckle folder coupled with a Speedbander 603 delivery system, the entry-level Stahlfolder KH 82 KZLR signature folder and the Stahlfolder Ti 36 for miniature folding applications were also touted.
At the Goss International booth, home of the Sunday press, it was the Pacesetter 1100 saddlestitcher that garnered much attention. Its selective binding capabilities address the popular trend toward complex personalized and versioned catalogs and publications.
First Time on U.S. Soil
Among the many offerings being showcased at the Muller Martini booth was the U.S. debut of the Bolero model 3028 perfect binder, which runs at 8,000 cycles/hr. Setup times are reduced dramatically due to its motorized makeready system that takes full advantage of AMRYS capabilities and the ability of operators to set all size and thickness parameters from a single control station. Incorporating a CIP4 and JDF-ready digital interface, a book measuring device can also be installed for auto-matic data transfer of measuring specifications.
Colter & Peterson showcased Wohlenberg City e and City 4000 perfect binders. The City e features the Navigator SE graphically interactive user interface.
Duplo USA showcased its DC-645 precision slitter, cutter, creaser finishing solution for digital color documents. The product is aimed at product lines including business cards, brochures, greeting cards and photographs.
Digital imaging was the name of the game at Videojet's booth, where the virtues of the G4100 digital imaging system were being touted. Its PrintMail WideArray system was promoted as an affordable solution to ink-jet printing and addressing, with imaging on a wide array of substrates and configurations.
Rollem International was more than a little busy at its booth with a bevy of new offerings, among them the Durselen PB-12 Gantry in-line paper drilling system, demonstrated in tandem with Muller Martini's Bolero 3028. Another demonstration was of the Revolution, a machine for producing gaming and playing cards.
The same busy tag could be applied to Bobst Group, which provided live demonstrations for its SPeria 106-E Autoplaten diecutter, the SPeria Foilmaster 102 and two folder/gluers, the Mistral 110 A-2 CS and the Amazon 105 A-1. Four distinctive products were produced to demonstrate Bobst's production capabilities for both the folding carton and commercial printing markets.
The OmniFold automatic folder/ gluer was a focal point of interest at the Brandtjen & Kluge booth. The modular system offers right and/or left sheet registration, a rack-and-pinion elevator driven feeding section and a vertical buckle folder. A live demonstration on the Kawahara TXR-1100 series automatic blank separator was also held.
GBC rolled out a trio of new laminators. The Orca 4064WF and the Falcon 3064WF address the wide-format market. A third laminating product, the GBC 8544SS, accommodates sheet sizes from 11x17˝ to 44x44˝.
Heidelberg's booth was host to the latest cutting and jogging innovations from Polar. Among them were the Autojog automated jogging system and the operator-less T-155-T PACE fully automated cutting system.
Also debuting were the Eco 105-2 folder/gluer, the Dymatrix 106 CSB diecutting and embossing system, and the Kama TS 74 diecutter.
Sterling Toggle showcased its assortment of precision embossing, foil stamping and diecutting offerings, including cutting and stamping plates, chases and temperature controllers.
Glue Dots International touted its Auto Dot Pro adhesive applicators as a safe alternative to liquid and hot glue applicators. The Auto Dot Pro can be run in either an upright or horizontal position.
Getting show goers to stop into the booth might have been the greatest challenge, but once there, PRINT 05 vendors did a good job of keeping prospective clients interested in their latest technology offerings.