The internet of things is spreading to the bindery with Muller Martini declaring that its Drupa focus will be Finishing 4.0.
This is the phrase that covers an intention to demonstrate “intelligent connectivity and an end to end touchless workflow”. This will appeal directly to book and magazine publishers who have to grapple with long run industrial scale production yet be flexible enough for book of one production.
Conventionally this has been achieved with separate workflows, one for the volume work, perhaps involving litho production, the other for digital work. While some have been able to combine the distinct strands of manufacturing across a plant, more will need to do so in future. In the wider manufacturing world, such processes require extensive communications, flexible machinery that is able to be configured automatically.
Muller Martini CEO Bruno Muller says: “The future got underway a long time ago in the graphic arts industry, and our solutions have long been leading the way. Muller Martini stands for Finishing 4.0, the intelligent connectivity of our machines allows the highest variability and flexibility in regards to print run lengths, format sizes and content. We are looking to share this view at Drupa.”
The finishing area has perhaps lagged behind other parts of the process owing to the complexity of many of the process steps involved and the sometimes organic nature of paper and how it is presented to gathering lines. However, automation has simplified the process on digitally focused equipment which has also become easier to operate for less skilled staff. The longevity of some binding and stitching equipment and the run lengths these focus on has reduced the pressure for automation. This is now changing, Muller Martini argues.
The Swiss manufacturer was the first to produce equipment capable of running inline to a digital web press with its Sigmaline concept, used by book manufacturers for non stop production. It has developed smaller units around its Presto saddle stitcher with a cutsheet feeder for digital print. This will be shown at Drupa with a greater range of capabilities for producing variable content stitched products.
In the US, DS Graphics this year installed a Primera saddle stitcher with six flat sheet feeders and barcode readers to run personalised travel brochures. The sheets are fed through an MBO folder and pocket folder. The barcode reader identifies products by signature, by job and by bundle for stacking and distribution. The system allows different combinations of preprinted, litho sections, to be gathered according to the profile of the prospect. DS Graphics is now investigating a move into reelfed digital printing.