As someone who worked on the service side for twenty years, I’ve been a witness to tremendous industry change. Thus, one of the most consistent questions I heard from customers was how could they best prepare for “unpredictability;” that is, should they continue with only conventional printing methods, or migrate to digital platforms? What they all agreed upon was that their customers would continue to demand very quick turnarounds, independent of how products were printed or in what quantity.
One customer expressed his optimum solution this way: Whatever efficiencies were being engineered into ultra-short run production must also be integrated within conventional binding equipment. In other words, if a print run is 100 or 100,000, he needed a singular binding solution that achieved:
- Quick changeovers. Staying profitable when accommodating all types of production runs mandates that no one job causes costly bottlenecks.
- Smart workflows. Today’s bindery equipment must not only optimize the processing of small and large runs, but provide real-time reporting in order to develop production schedules that are reliable and realistic.
- Labor advantages. It’s becoming ever-more challenging to recruit print professionals who know how to produce a quality finished product. Smart automation not only alleviates some of that concern, but also offers quality control features that can be monitored by less experienced operators.
I’m pleased to say that Muller Martini’s Finishing 4.0 portfolio delivers all of these advantages and offers customers an opportunity to successfully compete in a changing industry. Innovative technologies and functions that are integral to achieving efficiencies in short-run digital print production are infused within our conventional finishing equipment as well. Today, offset and digital print products—either run separately or as part of the same job—is the new normal. Moreover, on-going developments in print quality and speeds, substrate variability, and personalization will continue to necessitate solutions that optimize highly complex workflows.