The Digital Bindery
One of the adjustments Fastbind has made includes the purchase of a Muller Martini Amigo binder for smaller runs, which joins a Muller Martini Panda binder, to create an answer to the short-run, DocuTech-produced book blocks.
"Perhaps the most important adjustment we have made is in our mindset toward on-demand work," Shea says. "There was a point in the past where we dismissed it as not worthwhile, since we were working with average jobs of $2,000. However, once we saw that efficient equipment existed and realized that there was profit in on-demand work, we took it more seriously. We identified and trained new operators, put together a marketing plan, and off we went. To date, our Fastbind subsidiary is growing substantially in the on-demand market, with perfect and mechanical binding services."
In-line vs. Off-line On-demand Finishing
By Jules M. Fried, vice president of Roll Systems
The debate over whether to finish in-line or off-line is not a new one to commercial printers. It has raged for some time, and the issues and trade-offs are familiar to most.
In-line systems, among other advantages, tend to reduce labor requirements, speed turnaround, improve integrity (by reducing opportunity for error) and require less floor space. Disadvantages include higher equipment cost, greater complexity (which leads to higher failure rates with reduced throughput; stopping the press because of problems with the finisher is very expensive) and the need to dedicate equipment to a single task.
Do these considerations change when moving from traditional offset to digital printing? To answer that, consider how digital printing differs from offset.
An important characteristic of digital printers is their ability to stop and start instantaneously. Significantly different than the typical offset press in this regard, this makes it possible to handle shorter run lengths and still change setup between jobs. But if format changes are frequent, setup and makeready costs take on greater importance. To finish many different jobs effectively and economically requires finishing equipment with sophisticated features to automate setup and make-ready, especially if a wide range of sizes must be processed.