Data Plus Your Digital Press Operators = The Perfect Team
I was graciously invited to give a presentation on digital finishing at the recent Ricoh INTERACT 2019 user conference in Denver. As expected, there were many presentations on inkjet technology, the potential for inkjet growth, and strategies for both entering the market, expanding sales, and workflow.
One that I found interesting was given by Jeffrey Matos, director of print operations at Broadridge in Edgewood, N.Y. Broadridge is a major player in the financial print and services sector. The firm has a large fleet of high-speed inkjet printers and finishing devices spread across multiple locations in the U.S. and Canada. Matos' main point was that today’s printing and finishing systems collect lots of data while operating. When a system faults and stops, the reason is recorded, typically in some detail. This data can be collected and analyzed by other software specializing in production metrics.
But these “AI” systems are lacking in a critical element. That’s the experience of the machine operator. While machine data is useful, the operator’s experience with the job provides the “missing link” in interpreting any problems. Was static a problem in finishing? Was there too much ink coverage that caused issues in binding? Are there any out-of-the-box fixes that can solve the problem? I can tell you that in saddle stitching for digitally printed products, there are many small improvised add-ons to the machine that can address a host of potential problems.
This is why it’s critical to add your operator’s input to any machine data analysis of operations. Together, the machine and human experience element can lead to smoother overall operations with fewer stops in production. In short, the elements are there to create the perfect team.