JDF Workflows — Legacy Meets Automation
Highly Variable Work
The fact many printers operate in a true custom manufacturing environment poses a particular challenge for JDF, Grossman remarks, due to the wide diversity of jobs. Workflows where jobs have all standardized specifications increase the success rate of optimizing JDF sooner, he adds. The customized production in shops like Sandy Alexander’s calls for increased synchronization and commonality among different types of equipment.
Murphy feels the problem of legacy equipment won’t go away anytime soon, especially in the bindery. “Manufacturers want to sell new systems and I recognize that. On the flipside, I don’t think people in the industry are going to take a perfectly functioning cutter that was bought at Drupa 98 and throw it out because they want presets,” he says. “We’re buying more stitching gear for capacity; now, we’ll have three generations of stitchers. All three of those platforms have different levels of integration and automation, and it’s left up to us on how we can automate that and get all three on one platform. Companies have to be selective when they do buy new equipment, to make sure they can take advantage of the new presets and automation.
“Every upgrade path here is more evolutionary than revolutionary,” Murphy adds. “That clearly makes it difficult because there are nice features and nice enhancements, but it’s not compelling enough to make wholesale changeouts in any aspect of the industry.” PI