I am writing this column on April 6, 2005. It's about 5:30 a.m. and I have got to finish this thing because Attila the Editor and his nefarious henchman, Chris Bauer, the managing editor, are insisting that they need it today so they can lay out the May edition of the magazine. Reread that last sentence with a whiny insistence in your voice and you will hear what I heard when they called to check on my progress. It's been 61 days since I quit smoking cold turkey and this kind of pressure isn't making it any easier. Now I can't drink—too many empty calories

By Chris Bauer Managing Editor The phrase, "Houston, we have a problem," is not a sentence often uttered by customers of Houston-based Seidl's Bindery. Bill Seidl works hard to make sure of that. "Our primary goal is to eliminate problems on the front end," Seidl explains. "Before a job gets to us, we want to be involved in the production or the layout. Or, when it gets to us, it is important to have both our CSR and preflight departments catch any errors before we are into the job for three days and then find out there is a problem. Our goal for this

BY Chris Bauer Managing Editor No segment of the printing industry has undergone the vigorous changes that the financial printing market has experienced in the past few years. Financial printers traditionally positioned themselves as document experts, who helped clients manage production of documents and regulatory filings. They would manage the style and formats necessary to satisfy SEC financial regulations. As long as the economy sustained business growth, financial printers report that they saw no reason to change. When the economy was booming in the 1990s, financial printers simply invested in building an infrastructure parallel with a market acceleration that, odds are, will never

BY CHRIS BAUER While some sectors of the graphic arts industry moved to a more automated and computer-dependent process years ago, binding and finishing equipment seemed to lag behind. At Graph Expo and Converting Expo 2002, it was apparent that the bindery is no longer the blue-collar cousin of the pressroom and prepress department. Automation can now be found in just about every corner of the bindery. Today's newest machines incorporate operator touchscreen interfaces, servo motors and automated makereadies. And with industry standards such as JDF and CIP3/CIP4 slowly catching on, an even more sophisticated, computer-integrating finishing department is on the horizon. Software for

BY CHRIS BAUER Keeping a watchful eye on quality web offset press production has never been easier. With the influx of digital equipment for web inspection and closed-loop color control systems, accuracy, reliability and speed have all taken big steps forward. "The primary influence has been the availability of high-resolution digital cameras versus traditional analog cameras, which provide printers with a more accurate image of their print quality," explains John Woolley, vice president of sales and marketing for PC Industries, of Gurnee, IL. "The other trend is the availability of powerful, low cost computers to analyze printing defects. The bottom line is that

BY CHRIS BAUER Football season is upon us, and the focus of most teams is on the quarterback. Some quarterbacks are pocket passers like the Saint Louis Rams' Kurt Warner, while others like to get out of the pocket and make plays on-the-run, like the Philadelphia Eagles' Donovan McNabb. For the printing industry, talk of pockets brings us to the bindery—where new collating equipment can be the quarterback of the finishing department. Just like NFL-caliber players, collating equipment has to be tough, smart, reliable and flexible, equipment vendors say. The same broad trends that are shaping the printing industry at large—shorter run

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