Esko, which focuses on developing software and hardware for the packaging, labels, sign and display industries, launched the Kongsberg C66, a finishing table designed for short-run production of corrugated applications.The Kongsberg C66 was developed based on market demand as part of Esko’s robotics program in that technology sector. Esko explains its combination of size, speed and precision on heavy-duty rigid materials like corrugated cartons make it a viable alternative to conventional diecutting equipment for short-run corrugated production of packaging and POP displays.The Kongsberg C66 can run at 100 metres per minute and handle either manual multi-zone production of large 2.2 x 3.2-metre (87 x 126-inch) sheets or single-zone production of large 2.5 x 4.8-metre (98 x 189-inch) corrugated sheets. It can work with corrugated containers made from HD double-wall or triple-wall corrugated and packaging and POP displays. The Kongsberg C66 is also capable of processing other materials required in the protective packaging environment, including foam cushioning materials.The Kongsberg C66’s 3,210 x 4,800-mm (W x L) work area supports both large-format and multi-zone production. Its Carbon Composite Traverse is highly rigid, which Esko explains to enable high speed, fast acceleration, high quality creasing with minimal deflection. It allows the Kongsberg C66 to run at full production speed on much larger material, explains Esko, without losing accuracy. The i-cut Production Console (iPC) drives the table’s functionality and includes capabilities such as camera control, machine set up, tool recognition, calibration and tool adjustments. Designed to guide and support the operator, it incorporates a number of logical, user-friendly features including an icon-based graphical interface with colour-coded alerts and updates. Combined with Device Manager it offers the ability to follow production progress from a distance.
Dylan Westgate of Sydney Stone disucsses advances in digital finishing technologies.
Duplo USA Corporation has announced the launch of its DDC-810 Digital Spot UV Coater. The DDC-810 utilizes inkjet technology and gives images depth and raised textures with a gloss varnish. It features a CCD camera recognition system ensuring image-to-image registration and PC Controller software. The DDC-810 is designed for short-run applications. It can process up to 21 sheets per minute (A3) and paper weights from 157 to 450 gsm (coated paper). Anthony Gandara, project manager at Duplo USA, says the DDC-810 is for printers who want to “add elevated spot UV embellishment to their products."
Zünd has introduced what it describes as robust routing option, called the RM-L router, for working with heavy-duty materials like acrylics, plexiglass, aluminums, polycarbonates, Dibond, Forex, and MDF. The spindle delivers 3.6 kW of processing power and is well suited for print service providers running diverse work that is typically processed via different tools.In response to this ever-growing application range, Zünd’s new RM-L system is capable of routing, engraving and polishing a range of materials with what the company describes as a powerful spindle with pneumatic collet. With a maximum torque of 0.7 Nm, in addition to 3.6 kW of power, the tool allows for dense, hard materials to be processed at greater speeds and cutting depths. It essenetially reduces the number of passes required to increase throughput. The RM-L spindle is water-cooled for run longevity and uses what Zünd describes as a high-performance dust extraction system to keep the working area clean. The new router module is equipped with MQL, a minimal quantity lubrication system that keeps the bit lubricated to minimize friction. As a result, Zünd explains very little heat is generated during routing, which can affect bit life. This lubrication system also allows for greater acceleration and processing speeds.The technology relies on a surface compensation system to determine the thickness of materials and detect inconsistencies. During processing, the system compensates for any variances by making the necessary depth adjustments. Particularly for engraving applications, Zünd explains this prevents quality issues arising from differences in material thickness by maintaining constant routing depths.The system uses a ER-16 collet for concentricity and to maintain reliable retention. To accommodate different shaft diameters, HSK-E25 collet holders are used, which allows for the use of a wider range of bits with one and the same router module. The ARC HSK automatic tool changer of the system takes care of handling and changing router bits. The magazine can accommodate up to eight different preloaded collet holders.
Sydney Stone, which specializes in distributing and servicing short-run finishing systems, is introducing two new Morgana products into the Canadian marketplace. As Morgana’s distribution partner for the country, Sydney Stone is launching Morgana’s next generation DigiFold Pro 385 and AutoCreaser Pro 385 systems.One of the key changes from previous DigiFold models, explains Sydney Stone, is the introduction of a high-capacity vacuum top-feeder that can take a sheet pile of over 17.7 inches. The company continues to explain after the size and thickness of stock are entered, all other feeder functions including air and vacuum settings, side guide positions, and fold roller gaps are automatically adjusted for easy setup of jobs. Stock of up to 0.4mm can be creased and folded with virtually no cracking of the sheets or the toner on them. Another new feature is the dual creasing blades, the Morgana DynaCrease, for creasing and folding applications at over 6,000 sheets per hour, and one for “creasing only mode,” allowing for a range of applications to be produced on one machine. The AutoCreaser, according to Hillhouse, is still Morgana’s best-selling machine and he expects further adoption with the new Pro 385 aimed at higher volume applications as a heavier duty machine. “Some of our customers had been using the previous generation machines for longer runs of offset or digital work, this new model will enable them to load the pile feeder and let the machine run,” said Michael Steele, Managing Director of Sydney Stone. “The high level of automation here is going to greatly benefit business owners with a goal of maximizing efficiency while producing output of unparalleled quality.”
MGI Digital Technology has debuted what the company describes as a major new addition to its JETvarnish 3D digital enhancement product portfolio. The JETvarnish 3D Evolution is also described by the company as the world’s first B1 scalable sheetfed Digital Enhancement Press.JETvarnish 3D Evolution features a modular architecture, digital foiling and an upgradeable inkjet expansion system with three available substrate size options: 52 x 120 cm (20 x 47 inches) 64 x 120 cm (25 x 47 inches) and 75 x 120 cm (29 x 47 inches).The B1+ size format option (75 x 120 cm, 29 x 47 inches), explains MGI, is designed to give printers and converters the ability to run fully personalized short, medium and long runs in a “die-less” manner for packaging applications. Every piece finished on all of MGI’s JETvarnish 3D systems can include a blend of digitally embellished images, text, data and brand designs using spot varnish, 3D raised varnish and digitally embossed foil in one pass.The JETvarnish 3D Evolution is a high-production technology that incorporates pallet stacking, automated inkjet head cleaning, a new automatic feeding system, as well as a new sheet registration system, all of which will be unveiled and launched at drupa 2016.
Heidelberg describes its new Stahlfolder CH 56 KT, to be released this April, as holding the industry’s first automated 50 x 70-cm cross-fold unit, which is designed for B2-format short-run production. Heidelberg states the machine is enables users to achieve the best possible folding results for flyers in the 50 x 70-cm format.An operator using the Stahlfolder CH 56 KT enters a new job on the touchscreen for the front edge stop in the cross-fold unit to automatically move into position. The buckle plate and folding rollers are set to the right format and substrate weight. This is significant automation, Heidelberg explains, when setting up small folding jobs.In one hour, Heidelberg states the Stahlfolder CH 56 KT machine can complete five repeat folding jobs of 500 to 1,000 copies each. It can be integrated with options like two types of feeders and four or six buckle plates in the parallel folding unit.
MBO America announced the North American launch of its new K8 RS combi-folder, first introduced last fall at an open-house event in Oppenweiler, Germany. The company describes its K8 RS combi-folder as “the world’s fastest folding machine.” With production speeds of up to 275 metres per minute, the K8 RS represents a 20 percent speed increase over MBO’s previous K8 Perfection folder. The new machine is described as allowing for 1:1 printing to folding production, based on its ability to better match the speeds of today’s modern sheetfed presses. “The K8 RS defies description in this market segment,” stated Lance Martin, MBO America Director of Sales, who points most predominantly to the increased speed of the K8’s drive motor. “Along with the improved drive system, the Vaculift infeed system was re-engineered for increased performance, and an intelligent sheet control monitoring system has been equipped on all K8 RS machines to ensure that the paper is always under control at these speeds." Like its predecessors, the K8 RS can be outfitted with variations of the S-KTL and S-KTZ cross-fold units, as well as an automation package to improve make-ready times.
Masterwork USA, a manufacturer of folding carton and packaging equipment, has announced its plans for the Graphics Canada trade show next month. The Charlotte-based subsidiary of the Chinese manufacturer will be showing its new MK1060 ER automatic platen die cutter, the MK 420 MINI Q carton inspection machine and its MK1450ER automatic platen die cutting machine.“Coming off of a very successful PRINT 13 in Chicago, we’re anticipating an equally high level of enthusiasm from our Canadian audience to see our packaging and post-press finishing equipment,” says Carol Jiang, Vice President of Masterwork USA.The K1060 ER die cutting machine incorporates stripping and blank separation and has a maximum speed of 7,000 sph and a maximum sheet size of 1,060 x 760mm. The machine handles die cutting, embossing and pressing for all kinds of boxes for the packaging industry, especially high quality cartons for the cigarette, pharmaceutical, liquor, gift, and cosmetics markets. The MK 420 MINI Q high-speed carton inspection machine was a Best of Category winner of the Must See ‘Ems this September at PRINT. It allows a graphic arts firm to carry out 100 percent on-line inspections throughout 24 hours of uninterrupted operation. The machine uses a unique light source that can filter the reflective light on the sheets to make the image clear and give better detection results. The MK 420MINI has a maximum running speed of 75,000 sheets/hour with a maximum sheet size of 420mmx350mm.Masterwork’s MK1450ER automatic die cutting machine, which will be previewed at Graphics Canada. This new automatic platen die cutting machine incorporates stripping and blank separation into a one-step process. Maximum sheet size is 1450 x 1080mm and maximum speed of 6,500sph.While not on the show floor, the company will also promote its MK21060STE Duopress foil stamping and die cutting machine, claimed to be the world’s first and only double-station machine designed with a one-pass integrated system combining the platen through the embossing and foil stamping onto the die cutting and stripping functions.Masterwork Machinery Co. Ltd., the parent company of Masterwork USA, is based in Tianjin China, was established in 1995 and operates from a 90,000 square meter factory employing over 500 people. The firm has been a provider of corrugated and package printing solutions and has over 800 partners stretching around the world including Europe, Japan, and the Americas.
United Kingdom-based Tech-ni-Fold reached a settlement in its patent infringement lawsuit against Update Ltd. and D&R Bindery Solutions of Chaska, MN. Under the terms of the agreement, the two U.S. companies will cease the manufacturing and sale of the "Ultimate Score" product and its consumable components."We are delighted with the settlement of this suit. Customers have come to trust Tech-ni-Fold as an innovator in the field of unique creasing products, and we have invested heavily in improving these products to retain a leading position in the market," said Graham Harris, Managing Director of Tech-ni-Fold Ltd. "While no company desires to spend resources combating infringement, at times it must be done. We will act to protect our company's intellectual property and the customers who depend on the quality and innovation our intellectual property represents."Tech-ni-Fold USA, the North American dealer, has initiated a trade-in program for companies which have purchased Update's Ultimate Score product. According to the company, customers may qualify for a credit up to the full amount they paid for their Update products when they purchase any AZ-Fit or Fast Fit Tri-Creaser from Tech-ni-Fold USA.
This week: Clever Personalized Luggage-Looking Mailer
At PRINT 09, Standard Horizon plans to showcase its new AFC-566F inline signature folder, which features six parallel and six optional cross plates. The system is to be shown with the Hunkeler UW6 unwinder, FM6 folder/merger and CS6-II rotary double-cutter, which together can operate at speeds of up to 600 feet per minute. The company states the machine, which integrates folder and cutter, is well suited for continuous-feed applications and producing variable-data direct mail pieces in one pass. The system also includes a slide-away register table, so the folder can be operated off-line when the print engine is idle or delivering stacked output to the high capacity stacker.A new Standard Hunkeler FM6 Plow Fold/Web Merge Module is also set to premier at PRINT 09. This system combines plow folding and slit merging in one module, with integrated perforating wheels. The web is folded or merged and then cut into sheets by the CS6-II, featuring double-cut—or chip-out—for full-bleed documents.
Mimaki USA, a manufacturer of wide-format inkjet printers and cutters, introduced the CF22-1225 flatbed cutting plotter, a 4-foot by 8-foot model being displayed at the SGIA annual exhibition running in New Orleans from October 10 to 12. The new system is expected to be available beginning in December 2017.The CF22-1225 cutting plotter is based on the existing Mimaki CF2 platform first launched in 2005. The new, larger CF22-1225 features a work area that can accommodate oversized media and allows a full 4-foot by 8-foot maximum cut size. Mimaki explains this allows printers to move materials directly from a standard flatbed printer.The CF22-1225 cutting plotter is compatible with FineCut8 and the new RasterLink6 Plus software. This new version of Mimaki’s RIP software includes an ID Cut function. Along with registration marks, RasterLink6 plus software will include a bar code on output from a Mimaki printer driven by this version. The barcode, read by the crop mark sensor on the CF22-1225 cutting plotter, contains cutting and rotation information enabling the CF22-1225 cutting plotter to automate the cutting process. Mimaki explains this function is particularly useful when running nested print-cut jobs, as the cutting plotter continuously reads the data for both single and ganged jobs.Users can choose from various cutting heads for a range of tool holders for cutting, creasing and drawing tools, depending on the application. Swivel knife, tangential knife, reciprocating knife, creasing wheel and pen options are available with a range of blade and creasing options. The company explains the CF22-1225 provides for cutting a variety of materials like corrugate, styrene and foam up to 20-mm thick for packaging and POP applications, as well as rubber, resin materials and plastics for industrial applications.
Heidelberg’s Promatrix 106 CS die cutter will make its North American debut at Graph Expo in Chicago next month. The system will be showcased on Masterwork Machinery’s exhibit. In August 2014, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG announced it was restructuring its postpress equipment manufacturing through a new OEM partnership with Masterwork Machinery Co. headquartered in Tianjin, China. The move excluded Heidelberg’s production of folding machines at its Ludwigsburg site, a city in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.“Heidelberg offers a value proposition that is unique in the industry,” said Joerg Daehnhardt, Vice President, Postpress, Heidelberg USA. “Our strategic partnership with Masterwork enables Heidelberg to offer a broader portfolio than ever before to the converting market.”The Promatrix 106 CS is designed to handle substrates from 65-pound text to 48-point board. It outputs 8,000 sheets per hour, and has a maximum sheet size of 29.92 x 41.7 inches, matching the format of Heidelberg’s flagship Speedmaster XL 106 press. The Promatrix 106 CS is the first Heidelberg product manufactured by Masterwork, while the German company retains sales and support responsibilities for its postpress lines. The Promatrix CS 106 is a further development of an existing Masterwork platform, along with additional improvements and certifications (such as “GS,” a German seal denoting safe operation).
During its annual Packaging Days event in Germany, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG showcased its new Promatrix 106 CS die cutter and the new Diana Smart 55 and Diana Smart 80 folding-carton gluing machines. These machines are primarily aimed at companies that manufacture folding cartons. More than 200 printing professionals attended the equipment demonstration, producing products like invitation cards, stand-up displays, posters, folding cartons, and CD jackets in Heidelberg’s Hall 11 at the Wiesloch-Walldorf plant. The Promatrix 106 CS die cutter is designed for short to medium production volumes and performs die cutting and embossing at a speed of 8,000 sheets per hour. Heidelberg’s Diana Smart 55 and Diana Smart 80 folding-carton gluing machines are comprise a new platform for medium volumes in the production of straight-line and lock-bottom cartons. The company states these products require less space than traditional systems and feature a modular design that can be adapted to suit specific customer requirements. “In the medium term, we are going to continue to expand the product portfolio in die cutting and folding carton gluing machines,” said Dr. Frank Schaum, who now has overall responsibility for Postpress at Heidelberg, both commerical and packaging printing.
Highcon plans to launch the Highcon Euclid II series of digital cutting and creasing machines at Graph Expo 14 in late September. The company's second generation of Euclid machines incorporates a range of new features, including, perhaps most prominently, the Integrated Digital Stripping Unit (IDSU). The built-in IDSU stripping mechanism automatically removes waste from internal cutouts, eliminating the need to buy, setup or store a separate stripping tool. Euclid II also now includes optical registration of the sheets, as opposed to mechanical only, which adds the ability to align creasing and cutting to the image. New software for the Euclid II, described as the Fine Cutting Accelerator, is designed to provide more flexibility and speed for laser cutting and marking. At Graph Expo, Highcon will also demonstrate new Web-to-pack software that can be combined with the digital cutting and creasing of Euclid II. The Euclid II also includes a new substrate handling system to work with substrates like paper, folding carton, labels and micro-flute. The system includes additional sensors for registration accuracy and sheet flow. Highcon, founded in 2009 by Aviv Ratzman and Michael Zimmer, states it has also enhanced the quality of the crease line by developing a new polymer formula and implementing optimized rule geometry, which provides a new ability to produce curved lines. Cutting algorithms for laser power control have also been improved for Euclid II.
At the recent ExpoPrint 2014 in Brazil, Bobst launched its new Novacut 106 ER blank separating die-cutter, while also showcasing its folder-gluer line with Braille embossing capable of producing up to 115,000 boxes per hour. The Novacut 106 ER system provides inline blank separation, for producing stacked bundles of blanks ready for downstream processing without a need for breaking out by hand. This system leverages the company’s Angle Lock blanking tool, which can either be supplied directly by Bobst or made in-plant using standard components. Novacut 106 ER allows users to build up a portfolio of blank separating work as they run un-blanked jobs that are simply die-cut and stripped. The machine’s delivery section can be converted from single/double cut blank separating to full sheet delivery, and back, within what the company describes as a few seconds. At ExpoPrint 2014, Bobst is also highlighting its Exportfold line with the newest generation Accubraille GT Braille embossing unit and a Cartonpack GT automatic packer. This configuration, which is particularly suited to pharmaceutical packaging manufacturing, can produce folded, glued and Braille embossed boxes at speeds of up to 115,000 per hour.
Less than a week after launching its new DC-616 machine, Duplo has released the UD-300 On Demand Die Cutter with a new separator and conveyor unit option. The UD-300 Die Cutter produces a variety of toner-based print and packaging products, such as custom-shaped brochures and direct mailers, stationery, retail packages, labels and folded boxes in quantities as low as one. Designed for use with flexible dies, the UD-300 performs multiple cuts, slits, slit-scores, kiss cuts, perforations, and window punches for single and multiple-up pieces on a range of paper stock of up to 14 x 20 inches at 3,000 sheets per hour. The UD-300 comes standard with an exit tray and users can install the optional separator and conveyor unit, in place of the tray, to automatically remove the waste of each sheet as it is delivered. The photo-eye sensor is used to ensure only the finished pieces are neatly stacked onto the conveyor for more productivity.
Muller Martini of Switzerland has unveiled saddle stitching heads, which the company refers to as next-generation, game-changing technology. The re-engineered PerformancePlus II Stitching Heads include industry-unique features that, according to Muller Martini, will revitalize these stitching consumables. For example, the heads contain significantly fewer moving parts. Where traditional stitching heads might contain anywhere from 25 to 40 parts, explains Muller Martini, the PerformancePlus II Stitching Heads contain only seven moving parts. This means operators spend significantly less time disassembling, repairing and maintaining heads. PerformancePlus II Stitching Heads provide what Muller Martini describes as “the closest head configuration available in the industry,” with a 40-millimeter centre-to-centre distance. The company explains this feature is designed to maximize efficiencies with the tightest head-to-head configuration possible in today’s market. In addition, Muller Martini explains only one type of head is required for small booklets to thicker products. “PerformancePlus II Stitching Heads will save binderies time and money. That’s because with significantly fewer moving parts, the on-going process of rebuilding heads is minimized,” stated Doug Stryker, Division Manager, Print Finishing Systems, Muler Martini. “And since these re-engineered stitching heads are much more dependent on movement and angles than on actual parts, there’s a lot less maintenance. And with fewer parts there’s less lubrication and a much cleaner product, not to mention a cleaner work environment.”
Duplo has introduced its new DBMi Saddle System into Canada and the United States. Described as its heaviest-duty collating and saddle stitching system, the DBMi, according to Duplo, is the first such machine in its class to produce letter landscape booklets, based on its ability to process 24-inch-length sheets. The system, first unveiled in September 2011, combines PC-based programming and feeding with scoring and folding at a speed of up to 4,500 booklets per hour. Its modular design enables users to add three-knife trimming capabilities with the optional DKT-200 two-knife trimmer, which can also process 2-up applications, boosting its production up to 9,000 booklets an hour.“The DBMi is not just an ordinary saddle stitching system. It is the future of bookletmaking,” said Anthony Gandara, Product Manager at Duplo USA. “With its ability to collate and perform intelligent multi-bin feeding, the DBMi gives customers the flexibility to effectively perform a wider range of saddle stitched bookletmaking applications quicker and easier.”The DBMi incorporates new DSC-10/60i suction feed collators, which feature Duplo’s patented dual-fan technology and an Air Management System (AMS) for consistent feeding. Using the Intelligent Multi-Bin Feeding (IMBF) feature, operators can feed multiple sheets from a single bin and merge offset with toner-based output. Operators can also run the system remotely on tablets or smartphones.
Finishing equipment manufacturer Muller Martini provided a sneak peek at what it will be promoting at drupa trade show in Dusseldorf this May.In its booth, measuring just over 22,000 square feet, Muller Martini will be showcasing 10 pieces of equipment representing all of its business divisions: variable size web-offset printing presses, saddle stitchers, perfect binders, hardcover systems, newspaper mailroom systems, as well as systems for digital book production. “Developing exciting new technologies for the digital market, as well as continuing to offer innovative, automated solutions within the traditional book binding space, are integral to our customers’ success – and to our own," commented Muller Martini CEO Bruno Muller. "But equally important is Muller’s commitment to the life cycle management of the machines and technology we’ve already developed. Our customers can depend on us for that as well.”Muller Martini's booth will be Booth C21 in Hall 14.
Muller Martini will debut a new mid-range stitching solution called the Primera E110 at the upcoming Graph Expo show in October. The new machine follows the Primera 160, which premiered at IPEX last year.The E110 runs at 11,000 cycles per hour, a speed the company describes as "the best price/performance ratio in its class." The new stitcher can accommodate a wide size range, including two-up and three-up production. It includes automation features such as automatic synchronization between feeder, gathering chain, stitching machine and three-knife trimmer; ASIR3, which uses barcodes to ensure proper sequencing; AMRYS, an Automatic Make Ready System with touch-screen control; and a signature measuring device, which allows the operator to measure all the signature dimensions directly at the machine and is electronically inputted into the control system.
This September, Muller Martini will unveil its new Book Data Center (BDC) for Acoro, Bolero and Corona adhesive binding systems. According to the company, BDC enables all relevant book measurement data for the perfect-binding line to be recorded and retrieved by individual machines. Muller continues to state that BDC enables book mass data to be recorded and that data can be utilized for setting up the rotary gathering machine, stream feeder, perfect binder, front trimmer, splitting saw/turnover belt, three-knife trimmer and counter stacker. The Book Data Center is also linked to the controls of the line assemblies, which means relevant data can be directly transferred to the line assemblies as soon as the measurement process is complete.The new system includes a measuring table on a moveable base unit, as well as a touchscreen. Muller Martini's Book Data Center can be retrofitted for use with touchscreen-equipped perfect binding lines purchased during the past few years.
The enhanced AmigoPUR from Muller Martini now supports PUR processing for both spine and side processing in a single applicator head. Muller Martini claims this is a key benefit as the application of PUR allows manufacturers to produce more durable book in the short-run book market. The upgraded AmigoPUR perfect binder, which one person can operate at 1,500 c/hr, also has a second spine preparation station. At drupa-2008, Muller Martini introduced a new ergonomic concept for its machines, which has been applied to the AmigoPUR with a touch-screen panel and the hand-feed station repositioned for better loading of the machine. The machine also includes a new vertical book delivery, where the bound product is lowered in a cam controlled motion and held vertically on its spine. The delivery can hold hundreds of books, according to Muller Martini.The AmigoPlus, as part of a product line that has existing for 14 years, include preexisting features like separate hot-melt spine and side gluing units, milling, cover nipping, 4-line scoring and a menu-guided control system.
Kompac of Somerville, NJ, has launched new EZ Koat 20 Plus and 30 Plus models, rated to reach speeds of up to 200 feet per minute. The systems can be used for priming, UV coating or aqueous coating.Now offering an anilox coater option, the EZ Koat 20 Plus and 30 Plus are ideally suited for running soft-touch and matte coatings. The standard Kompac Coating System remains in place to switch to UV/aqueous gloss and satin coatings when desired. Kompac explains, unlike competitive systems, the EZ Koat product line operates with a digital lamp driver, providing variable curing and drying capabilities as well as instant start-up after coating changes. Kompac explains its patented technology translates to a 25 percent power reduction.For users in high-production environments, Kompac provides options for the EZ Koat 20 and 30 Plus, including high-pile pallet feeders and stackers, sheet turners for two-sided capabilities, and inline conveyors for running on digital, offset presses and other finishing equipment.
In front of more than 80 international customers in its Mex, Switzerland, facility, Bobst unveiled what the company describes as the highest productivity metallizer in the world.The Bobst K5 Expert, successor to its K5000 metallizer, can run at speeds up to 1,200 metres per minutes and is available in widths from 2,450 to 3,650 mm and can house increased roll diameters of up to 1,270 mm to meet new industry trends. The vacuum metallization system, aimed at the packaging industry, houses what Bobst describes as the largest coating drum in the industry at 700 mm, which improves collection efficiency by 16 percent. This means less aluminium consumption and increased boat life.The K5 EXPERT features a totally redesigned evaporation source providing the widest coating window in the market, which Bobst states to be up to 50 percent wider than some competitor. This larger window translates in better coating uniformity and collection efficiency, minimizing aluminium wire waste. A more intuitive HMI screen and software interface make the machine easy to operate. Its new design allows the operator to run everything from the front of the machine and to be positioned much closer to view the evaporation source and metallization process through the strobe window. Another new feature, which the company describes as unique in the industry, is the Automatic Sequential Control (ASC) system, which speeds up start-up of the machine with minimum operator involvement required, making the K5 EXPERT easy to operate. In addition to the Bobst Winding Mechanism, based on true tension control, the new model incorporates low friction Ferrofluidic seals for better tension control on the rewind – producing a virtually wrinkle-free roll-to-roll vacuum metallization process.The K5 Expert also has a variety of energy saving and waste reduction features including ECO mode which reduces energy consumption by up to 50 percent during stand-by and Film Save mode which has a synchronized faster shutter action (opening in just five seconds) and aluminium wire ramp up to minimize the amount of un-metallized film (waste) to less than 400 metres per roll, explains Bobst.As an option, the High Deposition (HD) source has an improved design for higher speed of operation for those metallization jobs that require a high deposition rate of up to 4.0 OD.
Drytac has introduced the newest model in its line of second generation JetMounter roller laminators. The JM63 Pro XD is a freestanding roller laminator with a 63-inch (1,600 mm) laminating width. It can be used with thermal overlaminates, as well as pressure sensitive overlaminates and adhesives. The system has a top roller with adjustable temperature to 248° F (120° C); large diameter non-stick silicone rollers; adjustable speed control up to 20 feet (6 metres) per minute; a maximum nip opening of 2 inches (50.8 mm); and five auto-grip supply and take-up shafts with brake tension control on the operator side.
TRESU Digital Solutions of Kolding, Denmark, launched a range of proprietary water-based and UV-curable overprinted varnishes (OPVs), called iVarnish, for what the company terms as digitally printed folding-carton applications.The TRESU iVarnish range is specifically formulated for use with TRESU's iCoat and TRESU Pinta flexo coating systems, which offer inline spot and flood varnish applications, following the printing stage. TRESU describes iVarnish properties as providing strong slip angle for easy feeding of the substrate, rub resistance for brand integrity, and viscosity characteristics for optimized curing and drying at speeds of up to 5,000 sheets per hour on board substrates ranging from 180 to 500 gsm.The iVarnish OPV range includes UV-curable and water-based high-gloss, gloss and matte varnishes.
Drytac is introducing its next generation of JetMounter roller laminators. The new JetMounter Fuzion XD is a heavy-duty wide format roller laminator with a metal construction. Available in a 63-inch laminating width, the JetMounter Fuzion XD features interchangeable, large diameter non-stick silicone rollers; a heat-assist top roller with digital display for Celsius/Fahrenheit; a heavy-duty lift mechanism for precise, calibrated pressure control; adjustable speed control up to 20 feet per minute; and four auto-grip supply or take-up shafts with adjustable brake tension on the operator side for roll-to-roll lamination. Additional features on the JetMounter Fuzion XD include a centre release, fold down feed table with a lay-flat paper in-feed guide; latching storage compartment on each side of the stand; maximum nip opening of one inch; and heavy-duty lockable casters for greater stability and maneuverability. The model can also accommodate 10-inch diameter rolled material and is cTUVus and CE-certified.
TRESU Group of Denmark reached an agreement with HP to supply an inline coating system for the new HP Indigo 30000 press, which is aimed at the folding-carton market. The TRESU iCoat 30000 coater is to use standard UV and water-based varnish, which can be applied in a single pass.“The deal between TRESU Group and HP reinforces the digital print process as a competitive solution for short-run folding carton packaging with higher shelf-appeal in smaller volumes,” stated Søren Maarssø, COO of TRESU Group.The solution was demonstrated inline with the HP Indigo 30000 for the first time during an HP Indigo customer event in Israel on June 18. The TRESU iCoat 30000 coater is equipped with quick changeover mechanisms for sleeves and plates designed to reduce setup time."Understanding how critical coating is in the folding carton market, we needed to work with a company that has vast experience in the specific needs of the industry," said Alon Bar-Shany, Vice President and General Manager, Indigo Division, HP.The technology will be publicly demonstrated in HP’s booth at Labelexpo Europe in September 2013. The first units of both the HP Indigo 30000 Digital Press and TRESU iCoat 30000 are expected to be installed at select launch customer sites by the end of 2013.
Following last week's news about offset vendors partnering with inkjet systems manufacturers comes the announcement that Kodak and Ryobi have plans to develop a hybrid sheetfed press system which will employ Ryobi's 750 series press and Kodak's Prosper S5 imprinting system.“Ryobi is a key partner for Kodak. Ryobi engineers have created a unique solution—a one-step, dynamic hybrid sheetfed press that integrates Kodak Prosper press inkjet technology with the precision sheet control of a Ryobi press,” said Michael Marsh, Kodak’s General Manager of Inkjet Printing Solutions and Vice President. “Through this partnership, sheetfed printers can enjoy the success and benefits of one-step hybrid printing that web printers have enjoyed with Kodak Inkjet Products for quite some time.”The new hybrid press provides a single step of offset printing, inkjet printing, and an optional inline varnish station. According to the two companies, the varnish option is valuable to direct-mail printers because it enables a true print and ship capability, which leads to faster time to mail, invoicing and payment. The press can print at up to 10,000 B2 sheets per hour.“Kodak provides unique capabilities in the sheetfed hybrid market, offering our customers new and expanded capabilities,” said Hideki Domoto, Corporate Officer, and Divisional General Manager, Graphic Systems Division, Ryobi Limited. “This hybrid press marks another important milestone in the history of two innovative companies."
Amid the scores of inkjet innovations at drupa 2012, manroland, Heidelberg, KBA and Presstek highlighted their progress in adding inline inkjet stations to their traditional offset press lines. Both manroland and KBA have been working closely with Atlantic Zeiser to integrate these full-colour inkjet modules. manroland announced the inkjet technology can be applied on various press sizes, in sheetfed or web. While it has been testing extensively with Atlantic Zeiser, the manroland module can integrate single or multiple inkjet print heads supplied by any manufacturer. For this module, manroland developed a patented suction cylinder and adapted the grippers to provide a very close distance (less than 1mm) between the inkjet heads and the substrate. These print heads are fixed to a print bar covering the whole printable surface of the sheets and reach a 600-dpi monochrome quality at 7,000 sheets per hour (or 300-dpi monochrome up to 14,000 sheets per hour). Using UV-inks, the system works on substrates with coated, uncoated, glossy or silk surfaces, eco-material or plastics, because the application module is equipped with a LED UV-light dryer (provided by Eltosch/Hönle). manroland is currently developing the same print heads with water-based inks and plans to qualify the use of this hybrid technology for food packaging. At drupa 2012, KBA described new sheet coding with Atlantic Zeiser’s DELTA 105i integrated printing module for a hybrid version of its Rapida 105 press. The module includes a VERICAM verification system, which together with the DELTA 105i will reach speeds between 7,500 and 14,000 sheets per hour. In inkjet parlance, the system is designed for speeds of up to 240 metres per minute at a resolution of up to 600 dpi. “We have designed the latest Rapida medium format generation to offer our customers the maximum range of applications increasingly being demanded by the sheet offset printer market in recent years,” stated Jürgen Veil, Head of Marketing Sheetfed Offset. “A key point here is the integrated option to code and serialise sheet, label and packaging printing variably inline.” Presstek announced plans to add inkjet heads to its recently introduced, B2-format 75DI press. All 75DI presses with this personalization capability will be specially configured to each client’s needs. The 75DI prints up to 16,000 six-up sheets or 96,000 letter-sized pages per hour, while supporting 300 lpi and FM screening, and 6-minute job-to-job turnover based on Presstek’s on-press plate imaging technology.Heidelberg announced its coating-unit integration of an inkjet device from Inkdustry, in conjunction with Prinect Inspection Control, which makes it possible to check individual repeats using a PDF comparison and mark specific repeats as waste. Such repeats can then be automatically identified and ejected by postpress equipment, such as the folding carton gluing machine. Heidelberg’s inkjet approach is designed to imprint additional, customized alphanumeric codes. Up to 12 print heads employing continuous inkjet method can be integrated into the coating unit. Simultaneous coating and imprinting is possible despite the fact that no additional unit is needed for the inkjet device. Non-absorbent materials can also be printed using solvent-based inks.
Multiple reports from sources covering the activities of the United States’ Federal government, including Federal Times and The Hill, report politicians are paying more attention to the plight of the United States Postal Service (USPS), which continues to forge ahead with massive cuts. Lawmakers, according to Federal Times, are currently trying to limit postal-service cuts, but the USPS still plans to reduce its workforce by up to 15,000 more employees and close up to 82 more processing centres over the next year. USPS, which closed 141 processing facilities in 2012 and 2013, estimates it could save $750 million annually from its new round of planned cuts. The Hill, meanwhile, reports Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a democrat from Nevada, joined the effort to block the USPS from making its next round of large-scale cuts. The Hill suggests Reid’s involvement increases the odds of a congressional debate over postal reform sometime this month. In mid-August, USPS reported its third quarter results (ended the June 30, 2014) with a net loss of US$2 billion, compared to a net loss of US$740 million for the same period last year. The USPS has recorded a loss in 21 of the last 23 quarters — the excepted quarters being the two in which Congress rescheduled the Retiree Health Benefits prefunding payments. Third-quarter revenue improved, according the USPS, as a result of its January mail price increase, sales and marketing initiatives, and a growing package business. Total operating revenue for the third quarter of US$16.5 billion increased by US$327 million, or two percent. USPS’ shipping and package revenue was up 6.6 percent for the third quarter, while Standard Mail revenue was up 5.1 percent, driven by a 0.9 percent increase in volume and the January 2014 price increase. First-Class Mail volume was down 1.4 percent. Joseph Corbett, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of the USPS, stated the organization will be unable to make the required US$5.7 billion retiree health benefit prefunding payment to the U.S. Treasury, due by September 30, 2014. “Due to continued losses and low levels of liquidity, we’ve been extremely conservative with our capital, spending only what is deemed essential to maintain existing infrastructure,” said Corbett. “To continue to provide world-class service and remain competitive, we must invest up to $10 billion to replace our aging vehicle fleet, purchase additional package sorting equipment, and make necessary upgrades to our infrastructure.”Federal Times articleThe Hill article
The United States Postal Service (USPS) ended its first quarter of the 2014 fiscal year (October 1 to December 31, 2013) with a net loss of US$354 million. The USPS has recorded 19 losses amid its last 21 quarterly reports. USPS stated its losses continue to mount due to the decline of higher-margin first-class mail, stifling legal mandates, and its inflexible business and governance models. “The Postal Service is doing its part within the bounds of law to right size the organization, and I am very proud of the achievements we have made to reduce costs while significantly growing our package business,” stated Postmaster General and CEO Patrick Donahoe. “We cannot return the organization to long-term financial stability without passage of comprehensive postal reform legislation.” Without such legislative change, USPS expects to default on another required US$5.7 billion retiree health benefits prefunding payment due by September 30, 2014, because it will have insufficient cash and no ability to borrow additional funds at that date. In the event that circumstances leave the Postal Service with insufficient cash, the Postal Service would be required to implement contingency plans to ensure that all mail deliveries continue. These measures could require the Postal Service to prioritize payments to its employees and suppliers ahead of some payments to the federal government, as has been done in the past. “We grew revenue by over $300 million through aggressive marketing and improving service, and we reduced operating costs by $574 million in Quarter 1, partially due to the separation of approximately 22,800 employees in 2013 under a Voluntary Early Retirement program and improved efficiency in our workforce,” stated Joseph Corbett, CFO and Executive VP, USPS. In its 2014 first quarter, the USPS had mail volume of 42 billion pieces compared to 43.5 billion pieces in the corresponding 2013 quarter. First-Class Mail volume declined 4.6 percent; Standard Mail volume declined by 2.8 percent; and Shipping and Package volume increased 10.3 percent.
Canada Post introduces a Five-Point Action Plan in an effort to return to financial sustainability by 2019, which includes the elimination of door-to-door delivery and 6,500 to 8,000 jobs, but opens up new private-business opportunities.The first pillar of the crown corporation’s plan is built on converting the entire nation onto a community mailbox delivery system, effectively eliminating, over the next five years, the door-delivery service still enjoyed by around one third of all Canadian households. Canada Post expects this measure alone to save $400 to $500 million per year once fully implemented, which makes up the majority of savings within its Five-Point Action Plan. In total, again once implemented in five years, Canada’s new postal system is expected to save anywhere from $700 to $900 million per year on its bottom line, relative to the current system. This plan comes around eight months after an April 2013 study by the Conference Board of Canada that projected Canada Post’s financial loss would reach $1 billion by 2020 unless fundamental changes were made. In its 2012 Annual Report, Canada Post reported that Canadians mailed almost one billion fewer pieces of domestic letter-mail in 2012 than they did in 2006. Canada Post’s second pillar of the 2019 action plan is a new approach to pricing domestic letter-mail, which is presented as the second most-effective new financial measure, expected to add $160 to $200 million to the bottom line. Beginning March 31, 2013, Canada Post is to introduce a new tiered pricing structure for domestic letter-mail, with stamps costing $0.85 each when purchased in booklets or coils and $1 each when purchased individually. As its third pillar, Canada Post plans to open up more franchise postal outlets in retail businesses across Canada, particularly within smaller communities. This franchise post office approach is expected to contribute $40 million to $50 million to the bottom line. Canada Post will continue to operate its corporate post offices. Some Canadians will have the option of steering their Canada Post deliveries to lock boxes held within registered private businesses. The initial neighbourhoods slated for community mailbox conversion in the second half of 2014 will be announced once plans are finalized. Streamlining operations is the term used to described Canada Post’s fourth new pillar, which aims to create a more efficient flow of parcels and mail through the network and to customers. These internal changes include technology updates, such as faster computerized sorting equipment, consolidation, such as processing mail and parcels in a central location, and running more fuel-efficient vehicles. This fourth pillar is expected to save $100 to $150 million, annually. The fifth pillar of Canada Post’s five-year plan is to address its cost of labour, which largely relates to the four preceding initiatives. The crown corporation expects to reduce its labour force by between 6,000 and 8,000 positions. The average age among current Canada Post employees is 48 and it expects nearly 15,000 employees to retire or leave the company over the next five years. Soon after the Conference Board of Canada’s April 2013 study, Canada Post began to consultant Canadians about the future of their mail delivery. From mid-May until September 2013, senior managers of the crown corporation travelled to 46 communities across Canada to hold such conversations. Canada Post also invited Canadians to share their views online and by writing letters. As of October 15, 868 letters had been received. Five-point Action Plan Consultations with Canadians
A report by the C.D. Howe Institute states that the Federal government should consider “furthering contracting out some postal services, gradually reducing the scope of the government monopoly” at Canada Post.According to the report, domestic mail is forecast to decline by 27 percent through to 2020 and rural door-to-door service being the most expensive aspect of the post system, costing $269 per address per year. It acknowledges that while the network as a whole may be a natural economy, individual parts, such as final delivery and collection of mail or operation of stores, could be privatized.“Gradually introducing contracting arrangements for more Canada Post services could extend to broader reforms and privatization – akin to the process under way at the Royal Mail – once new competitors are in place and the costs of maintaining the existing universal services become clear,” writes report author Benjamin Dachis. “A gradual approach to removing the government monopoly on postal services, along with financing rural and remote area services through general government revenue, would draw on the most successful elements of the many international reforms to national postal services.”The Canadian Union of Postal Workers have already expressed dismay at the report, saying it only offers “tired ideas for Canada Post that would result in service cutbacks.”“Why doesn't it occur to this prominent private-sector-oriented think-tank that Canada Post should raise new revenue?” asks Denis Lemelin, CUPW National President. “Other postal administrations are bringing in expanded services, and staying viable by doing so. Why is the C.D. Howe Institute so short on innovation?”CUPW also cites a recent polling of the public which saw 71 percent of the general population opposing deregulating or privatizing postal services.An earlier Conference Board of Canada study projects that Canada Post will lose $1 billion by 2020.
The UK’s Royal Mail system is continuing its journey to privatize, recently appointing Goldman Sachs and UBS to oversee and advise on the proceedings. The system is planning to issue an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange later this year.The two financial companies will collect £30 million to direct the £3 billion future of the world’s oldest mail system, established under King Henry VIII in 1516.Like many mail systems around the world, the Royal Mail had seen major impact from its users switching to electronic communications, however, in the last year, its earnings have improved, mostly through delivering packages from online shopping. In the latest result for the year, which ended on March 31, which saw revenues grow to £9.15 billion, up from £8.76 billion in 2012. Net profit also rose to £403 million from £152 million in the previous mail.The Communication Workers Union in the UK, which represents the majority of Royal Mail workers, has already threatened a summer disruption over the proceedings, stating it would not be in the public or the workers’ interest to have the system sold.
The United States Postal Service ended the second quarter of its 2013 fiscal year (to March 31) with a net loss of $1.9 billion (all figures are reported in U.S. dollars). The organization states this Q2 result highlights an urgent need for comprehensive legislation or its current business model will continue to result in large quarterly financial losses.“To return the Postal Service to solvency requires a comprehensive approach, which is reflected in our updated five-year business plan,” said Postmaster General and CEO Patrick Donahoe. “The plan provides an achievable road map to restore financial stability and preserve affordable mail service for the American public. The major elements of the plan must be pursued and executed within a short window of opportunity.”The Postal Service stated that it needs to save $20 billion annually by 2016 and many of the savings cannot be achieved without the following legislative action:- Require a USPS Health Care Plan (resolves the Retiree Health Plan prepayment issue),- Refund the FERS overpayment and adjust the FERS payment schedule,- Adjust delivery frequency (six-day package/five-day mail delivery),- Streamline the governance model,- Allow USPS the authority to expand products and services,- Require a defined contribution retirement plan for future postal employees,- Provide instructions to arbitrators to consider USPS’s financial condition in interest arbitration awards, and - Reform workers’ compensation.The Postal Service has already reached its debt limit of $15 billion. It also has defaulted on $11.1 billion due for retiree health benefits in 2012 and also expects to default on an additional $5.6 billion on September 30, 2013. In addition, the Postal Service owes an estimated $17 billion on future workers’ compensation claims. “These obligations of nearly $50 billion and continuing losses highlight the need for immediate legislative reform to give us the latitude to execute on our Five-Year Plan and improve our ability to repay these obligations and return to profitability," stated Chief Financial Officer Joe Corbett.In the 2013 second quarter, USPS work hours were reduced by approximately 7 million hours, a 2.4 percent reduction compared to the same period last year. "Even with a 6.2 percent volume increase in Shipping and Packages compared to the same period last year, we were able to reduce these work hours to increase efficiency," Corbett added, noting that work hour reductions have been the single largest contributor to the ongoing achievement of savings targets.The number of career employees decreased by approximately 25,000 in the second quarter and by 46,000 in the last year. The USPS now has the lowest number of career employees since 1966.
Hemlock Printers Ltd. has installed VeraCore technology to manage its fulfillment operations, which is becoming an increasingly important revenue stream for company, which offers a range of services like offset and digital printing, online solutions, prepress, digital photography, bindery, mailing and warehousing. From its warehouse in Burnaby, British Columbia, Hemlock manages a range of fulfillment programs for clients built around both print and non-print collateral materials. Hemlock also manages magazine subscription fulfillment programs for several of its publishing clients. As such, the printing company focused on installing a fulfillment system for managing warehouse operations and inventory accuracy.The VeraCore Warehouse Management System includes both barcode technology and rules-based processing for increasing fulfillment throughput. “Fulfillment is definitely a growth area for us, so investing in this technology made sense,” said Richard Kouwenhoven, President, Hemlock. “VeraCore provides our team with the tools to run a highly efficient warehouse operation which meets the expanding needs of our customers.”The VeraCore Fulfillment Solution has been integrated with several of the systems in use at Hemlock, including ecommerce, Web-to-print and shipping. VeraCore explains its API will also enable Hemlock’s development team to build its own integrations as needed.
Ron Davis, VP and Chief Economist with Printing Industries of America, has released a financial report, called Competing for Print's Thriving Future, that focuses on the long-term future of print and print markets. According to the PIA, the report identifies what it defines as “Print logistics” as the only clear positive direction for a printing company’s market longevity and viability.The US$99 report breaks down print products and services into three different categories: 1. Print intended to communicate factual information (like magazines, newspapers and books); 2. Print providing product logistics to manufactured products (like packaging, labels, and wrappers); and 3. Print intended to promote or sell products or services (like catalogues, direct mail and brochures). Of the three functions, the PIA states that only “Print logistics” is not subject to competition and substitution by digital media. Conversely, the “Print inform or communicate” categories are subject to the highest risk of substitution from digital media, while “Print marketing” is somewhere in the middle.“The key conclusion from this analysis is that there can be a very positive future for print and printers. Today’s printers that are aware of the emerging industry environment and crucial business strategies and tactics have a very bright future,” stated Ron Davis. “Even if a pessimistic scenario were to unfold, on a per-plant basis, the surviving firms would still experience sales growth in two of the three major functional categories.“The graphic communications industry is facing very serious challenges at this time, but that doesn’t mean there isn't a lot of life and opportunity in our future. Printers can create their own positive future by understanding and taking advantage of the emerging changes.”More on the report can be found on PIA’s website
The Toronto Star has reported it has reached an agreement with the union representing its editorial employees to reduce its staff by 35 instead of outsourcing page production.In November last year, The Star proposed a reduction of 70 full-time jobs which would've also seen the company outsource some of its page production to a subsidiary of The Canadian Press. The savings would have been $4 million annually.The new agreement would see page production remain at The Star, but 35 jobs will still be cut from editorial. The editorial department of the paper is comprised of 380 people out of a total 1,300 people at the newspaper in total."Regretfully, this alternative to contracting out will still result in a number of layoffs in the newsroom, with details on specific numbers to be communicated as soon as possible," said Publisher John Cruickshank in a statement to the staff.
BDT Media Automation GmbH plans to launch its new Wide Format Autoloader and Stacker at FESPA, running in mid-May in Cologne, Germany. FESPA is a global exhibition for wide format digital, screen and textile print. The Wide Format Autoloader and Stacker (WFL and WFS) incorporate the company’s patented BDT Tornado Technology designed to provide flexibility in the transport and soft handling of media. The WFL and WFS can feed all media from 0.2 mm to 51 mm thickness and up to a maximum format size of 3,200 x 3,200 mm. Feed rate can be up to 100 boards per hour. Demos at FESPA will show BDT’s feeding and transport of wide format media into Bürkle’s UV-Liquid Coating machine and BDT’s stacking as final step.
Segbert GmbH & Co. KG of Ahaus, Germany, reached a milestone with the sale of its 100th layer palletizer robot to a printing company in North America. The order was for an MPA palletizer with the VVS Pre-Sorter and will be installed during the second quarter of 2015. “We are very proud that we have achieved this milestone. I would like to thank our partners in the printing industry as well as all our employees here in Ahaus, we could not have done this without them," said Klaus Segbert, Managing Director of Segbert. “We are aware that the printing business is changing rapidly and while we continuously improve our current products we are also developing new solutions for areas like digital printing and packaging.“ The first-ever Segbert palletizer line in North America was a ZPA that was installed at Quad/Graphics in 2006. Today, Quad/Graphics is the largest Segbert customer worldwide. In addition to Quad/Graphics, Segbert’s variable-height systems have also recently been sold to leading printers like Fry Communications and TC Transcontinental Printing.Segbert palletizers and stackers are used in more than 500 installations in pressrooms and binderies around the globe and can be customized to handle a range of printed products like newspapers, retail inserts, magazines, catalogues, loose signatures, logs of signatures, books and book blocks, and cartons.
Muller Martini has introduced its 3692 gathering machine as the successor to the entry-level 1571 system. The new 3692 model is aimed at small- and medium-sized perfect binding jobs based on what the company describes as greater ease of use and size variability.The 3692 can be used in the Pantera and Alegro A6 perfect binding lines. One of the system's key highlights, according to Muller Martini, is the inclusion of a patented book verification system, which is designed to automatically prevent production with incorrectly set-up signatures. AsirCode allows users to check that production is complete and the sequence of signatures is correct, including the cover. The relevant information is read off from AsirCode, meaning it is not necessary to connect to an external PC or prepress.Muller Martini also describes its 3692 as being highly compact, based on the elements containing four stations by default – saving space. It can also be loaded and operated from both sides, allowing bindery personnel to simultaneously load one job and set-up a second. The gathering machine’s quality assurance systems, Asac Signature Thickness Measurement System and the Asir Optical Scanning System, are also operated from the same unit. For settings specific to the feeder, the HMI panels are located directly on the gathering machine unit.
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