Digital Print and Finishing Merge: Reflections on Hunkeler Innovationdays
In the offset world, print and finishing are two distinct processes. There’s the press end and there’s the bindery. The job of the press is to create bindery-ready product. But things evolved a bit differently in digital print, particularly in cut-sheet digital. For many years, cut-sheet toner printers have had lots of built-in finishing options. Perhaps the most popular were bookletmakers.
Printed sheets were collected into a booklet set, then folded and stitched (or perfect bound) in a module attached to the printer. Trimming options were typically limited to a face trim. C.P. Bourg and Watkiss were among the manufacturers selling these in-line finishing systems. With the proliferation of higher duty-cycle continuous and cut-sheet inkjet printers, the finishing process has had to be re-examined, with heavier-duty and more versatile in-line finishing becoming the norm.
While I did not personally attend HID in Luzern, I got plenty of feedback from colleagues who did, and there some interesting new finishing intros.
Hunkeler: As the host, Hunkeler always has something new at HID. Their new Docutrim Universal Sheet Processing System can be added to high-volume cut-sheet printers. It consists of a series of cassettes that can be used for cutting and converting printed sheets into book blocks, then offset stacking them for easy operator removal. The Dynamic Multi Processor Cassette can perform additional operations such as hole punching, perforating, creasing or diecutting for Wire-O binding. www.hunkeler.ch
IBIS: The IBIS Smart-binder was in the Xerox stand producing the saddle-stitched HID Show Daily magazine. The Smart-binder is a true saddle-stitcher in every sense of the word, capable of producing variable page-count booklets up to 200 pages with full three-knife trim.
What IBIS had done some months prior to HID was to connect a Smart-binder in-line with an Océ VarioPrint i300 sheetfed device. This is more of a challenge than one would think because the finishing end has to be engineered to avoid marking the inkjet-printed sheet. But the IBIS team pulled it off, and this could be a serious in-line production option for high-volume in-line booklet production. Here’s a video link.
Meccanotecnica: Meccanotecnica has proved to be a reliable innovator in the hardcover sewn-book space, adapting to the shift from offset to digital printing with introductions of new combined finishing systems. At HID, Meccanotecnica showed a full digital production line for both soft and hardcover books. Starting from an unwinder-cutter, the in-line Universe Web system could produce sewn softcover books, and sewn hardcover book blocks ready for casing-in. The system included full three-knife trimming capability. Here’s a video link to the show system.
As usual, Hunkeler Innovationdays proved to be the magnet for both digital print and finishing vendors, as well as attendees from around the world seeking the latest and very best technology in digital print. Can’t wait till 2021!