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Jul 15, 2012 12:00 AM


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Here are some emerging technologies to check out.

FLAT PHOTOBOOKS ARE WHERE IT'S AT
ODM's Sidewinder is specifically designed for the Mohawk Panoramic line of i-Tone photo papers. Users can produce lay-flat photo books with ease, thanks to the automatic system. It scores, folds, and presses book blocks up to 1.5 inches thick. Maximum book size is 27 x 14.5 inches (open); 13.5 x 14.5 (closed); up to 1.5 inches thick.

THE SCOOP: Photo books are booming: HP reports that photo business represents 17% of its overall Indigo business. India is particularly strong market: An estimated 8.7 million wedding are celebrated annually and on average, families spend $1,100 on wedding photography. Source: HP/Better Photography Magazine

NOW THAT'S WHAT WE CALL AUTOMATION…
"WiMotion" sounds a Nintendo game, but it's actually for cutter operators. Polar's wireless gadget brings the traditional cutter "knock block" in to the modern age. Two keys on the wooden block enable the operator adjust the backguage while locking the pile in place. Typically an operator would firm up the pile with one hand on the paddle while using the other hand to reach up and adjust the cutter controls-the WiMotion lets the operator concentrate on positioning the material at the cutting line.

THE SCOOP: It looks like more fun than "Dance, Dance, Revolution!"

BE THE CHAIRMAN OF THE SBS BOARD
Some commercial printers and converters are eliminating the middleman and printing on 30pt. to 48pt heavyweight Solid Bleached Sulphate (SBS) sheets. Reportedly they can save about $0.25 per sheet while reducing delivery time by up to a week, potentially saving as much as $1,500 on a typical 6,000 sheet job.

Unimac Graphics, (Carlstadt, NJ) was among those seeking an alternative it previously sent two 18-pt.SBS sheets to a mounter to create a 36-pt. sheet. "We can go to press rapidly when we can get the material from Lamitech, a laminator that manufactures and stocks its own heavyweight SBS board," explains Unimac's Rick Chassen. "Printing directly on heavyweight 36pt. SBS saves us about half the cost and at least four to five days of lead time vs. outsourcing to a mounter. Plus, our customers are getting a higher quality product."

THE SCOOP:  Be prepared to make some adjustments, but rock the box!

SPEED THRILLS: KEEPING UP WITH DFEs
All those new digital presses will need RIPS. Global Graphics' Harlequin Host Renderer 3 (HHR3) is raring to go with efficient, parallel rendering uses multiple CPUs. RIT conducted a test that showed that a typical Harlequin RIP can easily drive most printers at a speed that is well in excess of the rated speed of the device. When needed, the architecture is also scalable enough to get more performance by adding additional RIPs.

Global Graphics has also developed technology that automatically detects and optimizes variable data jobs, which increases performance and eliminates the need for proprietary VDP languages.

THE SCOOP:  Per InfoTrends' Kaspar Roos: "Global Graphics is well positioned to drive high-end PDF ripping and benefit from the AFP/IPDS to PDF migration." Plus: flexible and cost-effective licensing could propel Harlequin into the mid-range and office market.

WE"RE GONNA NEED A BIGGER DIGITAL PRESS
Canon Europe's Insight Report ("Redefinition of the Digital Printer") found that 58% of printers with a digital capability saw an increase in profits vs. 31% of their counterparts who had no digital capability. Digital printing softened the negative effects of a slow economy for many companies. By producing photo books, books on demand as well as other short run products and sign products, printers created new opportunities. Also: the report found 71% of print buyers perceive print as equal /more effective than any other media in the communications mix.

THE SCOOP: Per the report, 30% of print buyers don't know about print on demand and more than half of print buyers said their print service providers don't inform them about new developments. We have no place to go but up!