The Presidents Letter
As we begin to emerge from what’s been a very long winter season, I wanted to take the opportunity to inform you of some invigorating developments taking place at our Allentown, Pennsylvania facility.
1. Muller’s Scalable SigmaLine technology will be manufactured in Allentown beginning in May.
The reason for this is fairly straightforward: the huge increase in on-demand printing is being driven by major publishers and digital book manufacturers within the United States. Yes, Europe and South America are beginning to take notice, but for now the key market influencers are here at home. And bringing the manufacturing of this technology back to the States enables us to more proactively respond to the market’s needs.
Muller Martini has been a recognized leader in digital finishing and manufacturing solutions. Our original SigmaLine technology was developed more than 15 years ago, and was clearly ahead of the curve. But now the market is catching up to SigmaLine’s 1,000 books per hour capability, particularly with the entry of inkjet printers, higher speeds and wider webs. This is truly an exciting time to be in the digital space, and Muller Martini will continue to engineer digital manufacturing solutions to meet the aggressive demands of today’s market.
The Scalable SigmaLine components that will be built in Allentown are the SigmaBinder, the SigmaTower and the SigmaTrimmer. In addition, our standalone SigmaTrimming Center will be manufactured in this facility.
2. Allentown continues to manufacture some of the newspaper industry’s most valued technology and machinery
, particularly Muller Martini inserters and mailroom equipment. For those who continue to think that newspapers are dead, I ask them to simply think again. Renowned investor Warren Buffet’s newspaper company recently purchased a number of papers. Reported in Pew Research Center’s The State of News Media 2013, “Buffet and other investors have decided that print editions have legs, particularly at small and mid-sized papers, and that the organizations can stay profitable.” Naturally, we believe that, as well, and it’s why newspapers continue to turn to Muller Martini technology in order to make their operations more efficient and more effective.
3. We concluded the move of our spare parts operation at the end of March from Long Island, NY to a new efficient spare parts center within the large Allentown facility. A more efficient storage and retrieval concept allows us to maintain the service our customers are used to and it also allows us to seamlessly handle the increased volume of parts.
Now, with the addition of Scalable Sigma manufacturing, our Allentown facility is busier than ever. And this development provides a welcomed message for the future of our industry, particularly within the United States. Whether your finishing challenges lie in the traditional, digital, or hybrid space, Muller has solutions that can not only help you remain competitive—but grow. If you have plans to be in Allentown, I urge you to visit the facility and experience these solutions up close.
President and CEO
The Ventura MC “Tween” option offers book publishers and manufacturers unique opportunities
First-of-its-kind capability provides innovative, competitive edge for sewn book products
Muller Martini’s Ventura MC with state-of-the-art servo technology is the world’s first—and only—book sewing machine that can stitch products featuring differently sized signatures with accurate positions directly in the book block. This capability, known as the “Tween” (aka “in between”) option, makes it possible for book publishers and manufacturers to differentiate their products within an immensely competitive marketplace as signatures that differ in both length and width can be placed in different positions in the book block.
The Ventura MC is highly efficient as it can stitch without the need to blind stitch. The book blocks produced using this method have short thread ends which are especially beneficial for the finishing process in the softcover segment. The Ventura’s “Tween” option eliminates elaborate, time-consuming manual work, speeding the production process and enabling more attractive print products to be offered to end users at more competitive prices.
Currently, the Ventura MC is the only sewing machine on the market capable of featuring signatures that differ in length and width within one finished book. Newer models of the Ventura MC book sewing machine are already fitted with the “Tween” option, and it is easily retrofitted on some earlier models. Interest in the “Tween” capability is beginning to migrate to the United States after its continuing success in Europe, including:
Britain’s largest trade bookbinder who is using the capability in art books
A Swiss graphic arts company that specializes in high-quality catalogs and brochures that promote luxury goods
Other uses for the “Tween” function include within such uniquely sewn products as:
“Coffee table” books
Commercial applications (e.g., catalogs, high-end brochures)
Gatefolds and other specialty sections
Jim Kaeli, Muller Martini Business Development, Hardcover Systems, explained, “The possibilities are endless for optimum-quality sewn products to now include a unique, standout feature that can truly energize book, catalog, and brochure design and production and really revitalize the high-end appeal of sewn products. Publishers and book designers can engage readership in an exciting new format, while book manufacturers can provide new product options to their customers—while creating a strategic differentiator among their competitors.”
Muller Martini is digital ready. Are you?
More and more graphic arts businesses are using both offset and digital printing, which is why Muller Martini manufactures print finishing systems that are designed for both printing modes.
It’s clear that our customers are making increasing use of digital printing technology, and, in particular, a combination of offset and digital. And that is why, since drupa 2012, all newly developed Muller Martini machines are digital ready. In other words, all systems – saddle stitchers, perfect binders and hardcover systems alike – are prepared for retrofitting with components for the processing of digitally printed products. In each case, the whole line, from start to finish, is designed for the processing of customized products.
In addition to the increasing importance of digital printing, another important market trend can be observed: many graphic arts businesses have a higher number of jobs, but steadily declining runs. That is why maximum variability and flexibility are crucial for enhancing print finishing systems, with the focus being on quick changeovers from one job to the next. Electronic calculation tools and setup wizards should provide as much support to the operator as possible, making consistent use of the possibilities of a high degree of automation and intelligent control of aggregates. The large number of jobs and short runs mean that reduction in setup waste is especially important. The very first copy needs to be salable, especially when it comes to digital printing and customized production. Muller Martini’s enhancements focus on maximum reduction of production waste.
Great potential for shorter job changeover times lies in fully automated lines, that ideally are networked by means of a digital workflow. Three-knife trimmers often slow down the production processes in perfect binding, but the brand-new Granit from Muller Martini shows that does not have to be the case. This fully automated three-knife trimmer provides consistently outstanding trim quality thanks to its innovative SmartPress technology. Its good price-performance ratio also makes it the ideal investment for the Pantera, the Alegro 6, older Muller Martini models such as the Acoro and the Monostar, perfect binders from other manufacturers, or for bookbinders wanting to switch from a guillotine cutter to a three-knife trimmer.
Webcrafters partners with Muller Martini for scalable digital print manufacturing solutions that meet today’s and tomorrow’s demands.
By Andy Fetherman, Director of Digital Solutions, Muller Martini Corp.
Just a few short years ago, inkjet presses peaked at speeds of 400 feet per minute and widths of 30 inches. Today, those numbers have more than doubled. Muller Martini is one of the very few print finishing manufacturers who has adapted its innovative and groundbreaking technology to satisfy the trends of today and tomorrow.
Case in Point. Webcrafters.
Webcrafters, Inc. has been a familiar name to educational book publishers for well over 100 years. They installed their first Kodak Prosper 5000XL Press in 2010 which needed to be paired with a supportive finishing solution that made their workflow and downstream processes more efficient, while processing light-weight, large format teacher’s edition products.
That’s why they purchased their first digital book manufacturing system, SigmaLine, which interconnects prepress, digital printing and finishing in a unique touchless workflow system that delivers fully automated production from a PDF to a finished book. It also provided Webcrafters with a very unique collating solution for processing its light-weight paper stock. What’s more, SigmaLine was a scalable solution built to grow as the technology evolved, and as Webcrafters received increasing digital demands from its customers.
In 2014 Webcrafters invested in a second Kodak Prosper 5000XLi Press. Now, they needed a finishing solution that could keep up with higher press speeds while continuing to efficiently process lightweight, coated stocks. They also needed a more robust digital book manufacturing system that could meet the demands of different types of workflow and product formats, as well as variable data printing (VDP).
SigmaLine’s modular design delivered. Muller engineered an all-new SigmaFolder II platform which allowed greater speed, greater widths (up to 60”), and greater workflow flexibility for both perfect bound and saddle stitched products.
John Filsinger, Webcrafter’s Executive Vice President & COO, remarked, “I’ve always viewed Muller Martini as an engineering company. They’ve been a great partner who brings tremendous engineering solutions to the binding and press finishing lines. What’s more, Muller makes us think about opportunities that we might not have even realized were possible. Their scalable finishing solutions give us the required flexibility to meet not just our current customer demands, but those that lay ahead.”
Success in the digital future requires a commitment to change. And to solutions that can grow and keep you competitive today and tomorrow. Not only does scalable engineering enable expandability as your production needs increase, it also protects your investment from the start.
Graph Expo 2014
The Presidents Letter
Muller Martini’s insight and innovation:
Your future can depend on it.
Printing has been re-inventing itself from the very beginning. And, today digital print manufacturing is steadily but surely migrating to many of our customers, while others proceed very cautiously or not at all. For every company, decisions need to be made carefully as the entry is difficult and requires enough digital work and significant capital. But for early adopters, it has been a rewarding path as they’re in a good position for today’s fast growth of the digital printed pages.
The increasing speeds and reports of much improved color capabilities are just a few signs of what to expect in the near future from this exciting print technology. But what does this mean for the bindery of the future? Higher speeds already require substantial finishing solutions, and shorter run capabilities demand a different level of automation Muller Martini has been anticipating this future for some time now. This is by no means an arrogant assertion. It simply underscores our unquestioned commitment in foreseeing the trends and strategies that will impact and change the print finishing business, in particular
Today, any investment in finishing machinery must produce the still dominant offset work coming off the traditional sheet-fed and web offset presses, while also being adaptable to future needs such as digital or hybrid work. This means that new machines have to be scalable and adaptable so binderies can comfortably, yet competitively, enter new markets at their own required pace.
The foundation of this upgrade path has to be built now with every new investment. As companies look to conserve capital expenditures, at times they’re drawn to the false savings of adding more machines in order to cope with volume and speed increases. But this also means adding more and more crew.
New machine platforms that are geared to the future must be fully automated to assure repeatable and accurate settings that produce a quality book, even if the run length is a book of one. To take advantage of zero make-readies, barcode driven workflow capabilities will be essential to cope with frequent changeovers necessitated by the new short-run and increasingly personalized world the industry is evolving to.
At Muller Martini, our ultimate goal is to manufacture potential for each and every business. That is why I’m pleased to report that within the last 18 months, nine companies have selected our Alegro perfect binding platform in book manufacturing and digital print. They’ve chosen to invest for the future, taking advantage of a new
production approach using digital technology.
President and CEO
Barcode-driven make-ready. The new digital workflow demands it.
By Andy Fetherman, Director of Digital Solutions, Muller Martini Corp.
The influx of digital printing has compelled many in our industry to secure their place in the digital future. But the technology and processes they choose must also accommodate faster and wider print engines, handle a growing number of print files, process shorter and shorter runs, applications and products.
The result? Greater complexities in the finishing process, demanding an accelerated, more streamlined workflow. Barcode-enabled “Touchless Workflow” automates make-ready and is Muller Martini’s solution for achieving optimum efficiency in a digital finishing environment. By reading a barcode on a product that has been embedded in the trim area at prepress, “Touchless Workflow” automatically provides the criteria needed to properly—and quickly—set up a job. This eliminates the need for the operator to key in set-up data at the machine level, which increases line productivity and reduces human errors associated with manually re-entering data for each make-ready.
The proven advantages of Muller’s barcode-enabled “Touchless Workflow” include:
- Less downtime. Digital printing is all about processing many more titles to accommodate shorter and shorter production runs. “Touchless Workflow” intelligently sets up sequential jobs without human intervention, so you’re ready to produce the next batch almost on the fly.
- Less waste. With "Touchless Workflow,” on-the-fly automation enables the first book to be a good book nearly every time. That means that make-ready waste is negligible, if not zero. And jobs become more profitable because there’s considerably less need to forecast waste.
- Productivity gains. As set-up times decrease with “Touchless Workflow,” you increase machine capacity allowing you to run many more jobs per shift. That’s essential to accommodating your growing digital mix—while still meeting traditional demands.
- Investment Savings. “Touchless Workflow” does not require costly, proprietary software to implement. The barcode is simply embedded by your traditional prepress system and is read on the machine in real time to enable make-ready.
Secure your profitable place in the digital future. Whether you are running a book of one or 100, or a healthcare booklet with a personalized cover, barcode-enabled “Touchless Workflow” lets you efficiently and effectively produce job to job with no or very minimal make-ready.