Digital print systems A solution to save printed books
At the recent 2015 London Digital Book Printing Forum, manroland web systems talked of its digital finishing solution being developed to save printed books in future. The select audience attending the forum consisted of those having stakes in the development of digital book production – from reputed global publishers, self-publishers, printing companies and suppliers to the printing and publishing industries. Organised by Interquest, a market research firm specialised in the global printing industry, the 2015 London Digital Book Printing Forum presented the results of market analysis from previous years that show how the market opinion changes. In this, manroland web systems joined the discussion, leveraging on making printed book fit for the future. The company showed how to provide the most efficient and cost-effective technology in the book printing segment. As manroland web systems emerged as a top supplier of technologies in digital book production over the last few years, the company added its knowledge to the discussions that revolved around the main topic: ‘How to make the printed book more attractive to the customers in times of e-readers and tablets?’
Printed books on rise
The result of the market research at the 2015 London Digital Book Printing Forum showed that the rate of book production in the UK is currently 13 percent of the total, which is an increase of 8 percent against the data in 2012. According to Interquest, the market perception is that the rate will rise to 18–20 percent by 2018. In a similar wave, the current book production in the US has even increased by 4.6 percent and bookshops have seen a recovery. Contrarily, the sales of tablets and e-readers have slowed or stagnated. A good number of digital book printers have emerged over the last few years, which is indeed a drift driven by the immense progression in digital book printing technologies, productivity and quality.
Specially designed to meet the requirements and intended book production on an industrial scale, manroland web systems’ FormerLine is featured with continuously flexible cut-off technology capable to handle from 145 mm to 420 mm. Together with the lift collator RS 34 from RIMA, the system produces stapled signatures or up to 8,000 glued and stapled book blocks per hour with up to 70 mm magnitude in a highly efficient way and with great performance. According to the required format and pagination of the signature, the customer can choose the relevant web lead over the formers. The strongest point of the FormerLine concept is to produce different formats and paper qualities in so called ‘batches’ which can consist of different books with different page numbers. Even each individual book can have a different pagination.
In keeping with the preferences of the market, FormerLine is fast, flexible and productive. The FormerLine runs with a web speed of up to 300 m/min. The combination of a variable cut-off, a maximum web width of 1,067 mm (model with three formers) and a production speed of up to 300 m/min shows one of the best performing digital printing systems for book production in the current market. The high efficiency of the press is explained by its minimal makeready times, format changes, reel changes and industrial maintenance concepts, among other added features.
New technology like FormerLine means more success as this machine helps printers to constantly meet the market requirements. The discussion at 2015 London Digital Book Printing Forum showed that there are several parameters that drive the industry today. Despite the slowdown in the growth of e-books, book printers care about supply chain management— publishers want printers to be able to produce a ‘book of one’ print on demand (POD) or any number of books in a timely and cost-effective manner as an individual edition or in batched production using highly automated web-based job entries. These in forms of case studies were nicely presented by a number of European printers, presenting workflow and printing systems to the audience, during the forum. Publishers and printers try more and more to avoid holding stock and are moving to ‘auto stock replenishment’ business models reducing inventory and cost of stock handling. The batch-production of FormerLine exactly fulfils these requirements of the industrial digital production. As there is also growing need for adding values to printed books, digital printing brings a gamut of additional enhancers, such as personalisation, augmented reality, RFID chip insertion, inclusion of electronics within books, etc. Wider prospects
All in all, the mood at 2015 London Digital Book Printing Forum (organised by Interquest) was very positive about the future of printed books. Well, the e-book has found a place in the market, but is not going to replace the physical books anytime soon. The challenges for book printers are to be able to supply a single book or several thousand books very quickly and to be able to distribute efficiently to end users or readers. Publishers and authors are in pursuit of multi-media, multi-channel solutions with no inventory and efficient supply chain from a single book upwards. That is where manroland web systems can help by supplying and constantly developing best possible solution for the digital book printing.