Sigma partial line with SigmaCollator (in the foreground), SigmaBinder, SigmaTower and SigmaTrimmer.
The starting point is clear: Offset printing and the conventional form of book production forces both the publisher and the manufacturer to accept costly risks. On the one hand, they have to maintain large inventories due to the minimum order quantities and short lead times, which then disappear faster and faster off the shelves and can often no longer be sold, with the increasing flood of new titles. The trend toward short runs therefore continues relentlessly. Here digital printing has found a market with greater growth potential, particularly in the production of soft cover books.
Two reasons clearly support digital book production in the short run segment:
The costs, since the make-ready costs in the offset printing process increase explosively with conventional finishing as the run lengths decrease.
Fast availability, as the printed products are produced from the first to the last page in a single print operation.
SigmaLine: Intelligent Networking of All Component Processes
To enable the benefits of digital book production to be fully utilized, the subprocesses have to be integrated with one another. Muller Martini's SigmaLine is an industrial total solution that consistently uses this benefit. The basic principle is impressively simple. Book data that is available in the form of a PDF file, is used to generate production data (JDF) and ultimately to adjust all the subcomponents within the SigmaLine automatically. The heart of the system is the integrated line control, SigmaControl. It integrates all subprocesses, such as printing, cutting, folding, gathering, perfect binding, cooling and trimming. In this way digital printing presses of different partner firms can be integrated into the SigmaLine and therefore become part of the continuous JDF workflow.
Only this consistent integration and linking of prepress data to digital printing right through to the finishing of the final product enables short runs to be produced economically.
The integrated line control, SigmaControl is the heart of any system.
|Various users already enjoy SigmaLine's benefits. One of the first was Bell & Bain in Glasgow/Scotland. The traditional offset printer already entered the 'new digital territory' in book production in 2005 (an Océ Vario Stream 9000 is integrated as a digital printing press). “We were convinced from the first day that we had made the right move with SigmaLine to achieve the very high product quality required by the market, even with digitally produced small runs,” stresses Managing Director Ian Walker. —The figures from the book market in Great Britain underline just how accurate his appraisal was. There, just ten percent of the titles account for more than 90 percent of volumes. By far the greater portion of titles result in short runs. At Bell & Bain, the average run length of all titles is 1,800. Between 50 and 1000 copies are produced in the digital print segment, with the average run length being some 300 copies. The range of these products extends from scientific, technical and medical journals right through to small quantities of academic literature or unrevised sample copies. |
|In France, too, the trend in book production is clearly toward shorter runs. This is why Nouvelle Imprimerie Labellery in Clamecy, south of Auxerre decided to produce its soft cover products with runs of around 100 to 2,000 copies with a new SigmaLine from Muller Martini. For Labellery’s Managing Director Dominique Haudiquet only a complete inline solution would do. “And here Muller Martini offers a total solution in the SigmaLine as a single manufacturer. There is no other solution that is even nearly as automated and has line control, enabling us to operate the system with one operator.” A NIPSON VaryPress400 is used as a digital printing press. |
|Further SigmaLine solutions are also used in other countries, particularly in the US.|
|SigmaLine, the industrial total solution for digital book production will be just one of the countless highlights that Muller Martini will present to visitors from May 29 to June 11, 2008 at its stand B38 in hall 14 at drupa in Düsseldorf.|