Bindery Plays a Crucial Role
Though several of the press conferences and “big news” at Drupa, held May 2-June 11 in Düsseldorf, Germany, centered around digital printing, innovations in bindery and finishing were no less prevalent. In fact, many of them sprang from the very digital printing trends that overshadowed them.
As digital printing speeds have increased, bindery equipment has also gotten faster, with vastly improved automation and simplified touchscreen controls to make them even easier to set up. JDF compatibility is becoming more common in bindery equipment, allowing devices to be preset using production data.
Demands for higher-quality printed products have led bindery vendors to improve their paper-handling techniques. Folds look better on the latest equipment, machines can more easily detect and spit out problem pieces and vendors are offering more value-added options in laminating, coating and foiling.
Across Drupa’s many halls, printing and finishing equipment were almost inextricable, as all the major digital printing vendors had inline finishing equipment on their devices, showcasing their interoperability. There were also a host of JDF-compliant systems on the latest bindery equipment for all types of applications. Interactive, icon-based touchscreen interfaces are almost ubiquitous. The ability to archive jobs for future use is becoming more common, and many systems also incorporate training videos and presentations.
Finishing vendors used Drupa to show off faster production speeds. GBC, in fact, set a Guinness World Record for the fastest lamination speed—its 8500HS Cyclone laminated 102.2 square meters of paper in 40.53 seconds. Heidelberg, manroland, Komori and Ryobi showcased enhancements in cold foiling. Elsewhere, new coating capabilities offered customers more ways to add value and differentiate their printed pieces. (One UV coater on display at Drupa made big news when its exhaust system caught fire, shooting flames into the air before it was brought under control.)
Drupa was also an opportunity for bindery vendors to reach new markets. Baum was at Drupa for the first time hoping to find new overseas dealers for its American-made products. Spiel Associates reported few Americans, but many Europeans checking out its Coilmaster Jr. and other products.