Duplo International's UK headquarters is named Automated Precision House. It’s a statement of intent for a company that has aimed to combine both automation and precision in a line of products that started with devices that can be operated with minimal skill levels in inplant departments and which can now produce on the fly variable content work that can be verified by an audit file.
The company has followed the shift from small format litho printing, needing collating bins to feed a booklet maker to working with pre collated digital sheets to feed the same booklet maker to multi-finishing devices that offer a multiplicity of products and once set up which can operate without supervision. A common set up is a DC cutter/creaser/slitter position next to a digital press so that an operator can run the printing and finishing device that will turn what has been printed into business cards, meetings cards, tent cards and so on, in the same action. Duplo has called it green button finishing.
This has now gone a step further with an interface to EFI’s Fiery controller to enable the multi finisher to run inline with the digital press or at least from the same set of instructions. Peter Dyson, Duplo International's technical guru and who has pushed integration and automation, says: “EFI and Duplo customers will definitely save time by eliminating the need for manual data entry and setup of finishing information in Fiery digital printing workflows.
“Our collaborative efforts for this automated solution will also reduce human setup errors, plus users now will have the ability to quickly verify job designs with a visual preview of finishing lines before printing.”
It is not the first automation project he has been involved with. There is automation to drive the booklet makers to be able to produce variable content products, reports personalised to each member of a pension fund for example. A barcode reader identifies that size of the next job, marking the start and finish so that the required number of sheets will be fed from the collating bins or the digital sheet feeder or a combination of both, into the booklet maker or the iSaddle stitcher.
The technology has recorded that the book has been produced for that customer and the same bar code can be used to record that it has left the building in a post page if that is required.
The integration makes use of Fiery’s Impose feature to set up and preview where slits, cuts creases and folds will be positioned against the set up information taken from the DC-746 into the Fiery Rip as a template for that type of job. A barcode with this information is added to the print file and then read at the infeed to the Duplo device. This calls up and makes the necessary adjustments to the different units in the finishing equipment.
The set up used can be saved as a template and used in prepress to create better artwork files and to save a lot of time along the way. One of the first customer’s has been Global Print in California. “Planning our job layouts first on our Duplo DC-746 and then moving it to our Fiery Impose environment, instead of the other way around, has been a much more efficient workflow and the accuracy is now phenomenal,” says Ken Kaypekian, Global Print sales manager. The template might also be made available via a web to print portal to enable simple ordering of new styles of job.
This is not the first intervention to automate the link between print or prepress and the Duplo finishing equipment. At an open house at the end of 2016, Duplo showed one of its booklet makers operating inline with a Ricoh Pro C7100 digital press. The quality of the finished product is a step above most of the booklet making systems that are internal to cut sheet digital presses. But the appeal of simplicity, greater automation and smoother production is the same.
In this case a separate interface box was needed to take signals from both press and finishing line to ensure that one adjusted to the speed of the other and that both were literally on the same page. Each machine retains its own set up as does the Fiery Rip used with the press.
Some information from the finishing line has primacy. Trim areas, creasing positions and so on are set by the bookletmaker to ensure that what is printed can be finished. The greater degree of accuracy that is possible with digital print is equally instrumental in making automated precision possible. The job is under control from start to finish.
Duplo has aimed at green button finishing where all settings are changed automatically according to the digital file. A common set up is a DC cutter/creaser/slitter position next to a digital press so that an operator can run the printing and finishing device that will turn what has been printed into business cards, meetings cards, or tent cards in the same action.