Digital inline finishing features a variety of different workflows
These are all about automation, making in-line and near-line equipment critical, but sometimes an offline approach will be more applicable.
So how should you be investing? In inline finishing, the press and inline finishing equipment are directly connected and closely integrated using front-end management controls. This is the solution for you if you produce a defined range of products in standard formats such as stitched booklets, reports, calendars and book blocks. The overall productivity of a digital press with in-line finishing capability is determined by the speed and efficiency of the finishing components, so it is essential that these don’t detract from the rated speed of the digital press.
An offline finishing workflow is more common when a printer has a range of digital and offset equipment, but this increases labour costs. Sometimes the higher speed of off-line finishing equipment will more than compensate for the increased operator intervention. It all depends on the type and quantity of jobs you need to finish.
In contrast to in-line and off-line, near-line offers greater flexibility. There is no physical connection between equipment in this case, but the finishing line knows the requirements of each job, from OMR (optical mark recognition) technology or from a direct interface with the press’s print server, through JDF. This enables the finishing line to manage the printed output from a variety of presses and create an audit trail, which is critical to personalised products like mailshots or transactional documents.
Choosing the right finishing workflow will depend on understanding not only your workload, but also how you can apply different finishing solutions to improve efficiencies and add value through new products. However one major benefit that has been largely overlooked by the printer and has not been sold effectively to the customer, is inline finishing.