Connectivity Systems are a Plus in the Finishing Department
For much of the history of offset printing, the bindery did not have much of a place in the print spotlight. It was a necessary “afterthought” in print. Like the press department, production records were kept on paper. Throughput, downtime and makereadies were recorded, but there was no “deep analysis” or a 30,000-ft. view of what was going on in finishing in real time.
But with the new generation of finishing systems, connectivity has become a big selling point. Given the shift to shorter runs, machine availability, makeready time, and productivity are all critical to profits. So, accurate metrics have become more important than ever. With many finishing manufacturers, it’s now possible to link different finishing systems together, with an available “dashboard” on your PC to provide all of the critical stats.
This is a big deal, since the data can then be quickly filtered to determine both machine and operator performance. Job and stoppage data can be correlated to see if a particular job is problematic, and where the problems are occurring. The effect (or need) for system maintenance can be analyzed for its impact on uptime.
In short, connectivity tools provide a real-time snapshot of the health of the bindery. And overall performance trends by job type, run length, shift, and more can be viewed instantly. Getting real time production data is also critical to getting the work out on time, and quickly evoking a “Plan B” if problems with a particular binder, stitcher or cutter develop.
Connectivity systems can help to maintain profits in the finishing department by providing a wealth of data on both performance and problems. They are not some sort of magic cure-all tool for problems, but they can sure act as a real complement to department walk-arounds and talking with the operators. To quote Professor Deming, “You either have the data, or you have an opinion.” Well said!