By Mary Schilling, Inkjet Insight
I know it makes management and production staff cringe, but in many cases to secure a sale, making a complete finished inkjet sample is required. Inkjet is still new to the masses and its differences are easier to “see” than verbally explain. Seems crazy, but this is why we use these multi-million dollar print workflows for one or two finished proofs.
Though inkjet is a digital process, it can still be expensive, time consuming and difficult to schedule samples with production, This is especially true if the sample piece requires special finishing. For a finished piece, you must run about 25-50 prints (depending on the complexity) on a separate butt roll, manually change all the finishing mechanics and test to ensure slice, slit, perforation, score are properly set. This normally results in time and wasted paper from stopping and starting the inkjet device for roll changes and manually adjusting finishing configuration.
Introducing Automated Finishing
Hunkeler announced their Generation 8 series Automated Finishing equipment which has streamlined many of the individual steps in the print to finishing workflow. But when automated finishing creates additional efficiencies upstream at the press level in addition to the finishing process, I call that “Dynamic Finishing”.
This new Dynamic Finishing workflow automates finishing set up within a roll. Multiple jobs requiring different finishing specs can now be ganged on the same roll. Each printed job which has different finishing requirements will be identified by a custom data matrix barcode; which retrieves pre-designed set up configurations. The roll is fed into the finishing equipment and when a barcode is read, the finishing device will slow, cut the media, adjust the finishing mechanics and then feed the paper back in to finish the next job on the roll. Depending on the mechanical changes, the process can take 5-15 seconds for a compete finishing change over.
Variable formats, changing punch and perforation patterns, and variable collating of sheets or folded signatures are just some of the finishing processes that are dynamically controlled. Not only has the finishing process been simplified, but additional production savings is moving all the way upstream to production and management.
Reduction in roll changes makes production happy and less paper waste and production efficiency makes management happy. Of course this is amazing for producing the business that’s already in house, but it also makes it easier to win new business. Not only can you produce one or two finished samples which is less cringe worthy for everyone – you can actually show your customers different finishing options for their work without making everyone crazy. So don’t be afraid to use inkjet and that fancy workflow for your own print samples. Show and tell wins more business than just tell.