PRINT 13's Finishing Reviews
PRINT 13 was a breath of fresh air—a busy and exciting show from start to finish that was a real shot in the arm for the industry. So, what was the news on bindery and finishing? A traditional bindery person walking onto the show floor would have been struck by one thing. The absence of many of the old-line bindery equipment vendors. Gone were the "heavy iron" saddle stitchers, perfect binders, guillotine cutters and more. Heidelberg's no-show created something of a vacuum in this area, and even Muller Martini chose to exhibit a digital finishing system.
In fact, all of the larger booths were occupied by the digital vendors. So, was there any new "breakthrough" in finishing technology? Not really. What we did see were more finishing systems that are better integrated with digital print. This is a trend that has continued over the years as digital printers have gotten faster. Almost all high-volume finishing now starts from the printed roll (or the printer). The goal is to make this an end-to-end solution that can be run by a single operator, in the best case.
There are many reasons for this, one being that digital print is inherently a more expensive printing method than offset. So reducing labor costs becomes very important. As a result, there were many new integrated systems. MBO America debuted an enhanced digital finishing line combining a roll-unwinder-cutter with a buckle folder that could change folds "on the fly." This allowed the linked IBIS Smart-binder digital saddle-stitcher to run at web speeds of up to 650 feet-per-minute.
Standard Finishing (Horizon) showed its new Smart Binding System that went from roll to bound variable format book. The integrator was its new BBS-40 book block collector and gluer which automatically fed a Horizon SB-09V nine-clamp perfect binder.
Muller Martini showed its Presto II Digital Saddle Stitcher which can combine both digital (variable) printed output with conventional offset signatures.
These were the "big" systems at the show. But there were many new (and innovative) finishing technologies at smaller booths which we will delve into next week. But one thing is clear, the main finishing action is in digital.