Saddle Stitchers/Bookletmakers — The Finish Line
No Bells and Whistles
"We need to keep the main thing, the main thing," adds Keihm. "Printers aren't just looking for technology or fancy electronic packages. They're looking for ways to minimize costs and increase productivity. The challenge is to make it simple, not add bells and whistles. Stitchers must be durable and versatile. They should offer high speed, value-added features, quality finished products, ease-of-operation and faster makereadies. These are the machine attributes that not only make books, but also make money for their owners."
While there is no debate about the benefits of increased automation, the question still remains: Is there a limit to how much manufacturers can improve the equipment? Standard's Mark Hunt, for one, doesn't think it can continue. "You are seeing increases in speed and automation, but there are some physical limitations that will start to inhibit significant advances using current methods."
For now, increased automation is coming at the right time, stresses MBM's Hall. "In these days of a depressed economy, printers need to be able to compete for all the business, not just a portion of it. Many types of documents are being produced in-house by end users with high-speed duplicating equipment. For this reason, printers must be able to offer higher-end work inexpensively—including bindery services.
"The days of collating, stapling and trimming by hand are gone," she concludes. "Printers must find more cost-efficient and time-saving ways to produce a finished product."