Today, there are a number of finishing accessories which can be placed in-line with your production print equipment to produce a finished product. In-line finishing has moved beyond basic stapling, saddle-stitching, hole-punching and folding to a higher level of capability which can generate immense new value for you and your customers.
Jump in the Line
In-line finishing options directly address and improve the efficiency of job production. The operator of a device should be focused on keeping the printer running, rather than switching back and forth from one process to another. Adding in-line finishing options allow operators to do just that – rather than have the print operator move the output to a second, off-line device, by keeping it all contained within one workflow the operator can focus their full attention on a single process.
Further, technology has advanced so far in recent years that off-line finishing devices are becoming obsolete. Take, for example, saddle-stitch booklet production: once upon a time, it was only possible to move folding and stapling to an in-line device, leaving you with a less-than-stellar booklet at the end of your print run. Today you can create a publishable book with a full-bleed cover and the appearance of a professionally-bound book.
Choosing the Right In-Line Device
Having outlined the benefits of moving your booklet production in-line, it’s important to have your workflow assessed before making the switch. Be sure to understand which parts of the process can be moved in-line and which should remain off-line.
There are several factors to consider when choosing an in-line booklet finishing device:
1. Maximum Number of Sheets in a Booklet
All booklet finishers will have a limit to the number of sheets which can be physically folded. This can range from 20 sheets (or 80 pages) to over 50 sheets (or 200+ pages). For example, if you need to print a book with 168 pages, you’ll need a device that can handle 42 sheets. Remember, total pages divided by 4 equals the number of physical sheets in the booklet.
2. Book Cover and Body Stock Thickness
This will impact the maximum number of sheets in a booklet. Manufacturers typically use a specification based on 20 lb. bond paper in reference to the maximum number of sheets in a booklet. A book that uses an 80 lb. stock for the cover and a 28 lb. bond for the body will not be able to reach the maximum page specification because of the added thickness of the heavier stock.
3. Square Spine Capability
Creating a booklet with a square spine offers a number of advantages over a standard booklet with a single fold. First, you can print on the spine itself which makes the booklet easier to identify and adds another element of design to the printed piece. Secondly, a square spine reduces packaging needs by approximately 30% which in turn can help save money on storage, mailing, etc.
4. Three-Sided Trimming
Trimming helps to enhance the professionalism of your finished book. As the number of sheets in the book increases, you often begin to encounter the “creep effect.” Essentially, the creep effect is when the outermost sheets do not align with the innermost sheets as a result of folding thicker stacks of paper together. To learn more about the creep effect, click here.
5. Stitch Locations
A typical booklet finisher has the ability to staple in two locations, which may be all you’ll ever need. However, other finishers on the market have the ability to staple in multiple locations which can greatly enhance your shop’s efficiency. The adjacent image (Figure 2) shows a 3-up booklet using six stitch locations, which were then cut into smaller individual booklets using an offline device. This goes to show how productivity and cost gains can be achieved using multi-up printing over printing individual books.
Choose the Device that Works Best for You
Recognizing that one size does not fit all, Konica Minolta offers several booklet-maker units with a range of capabilities. Most units are modular in nature so you can start with saddle-stitching and add a square spine and/or 3-sided trimming if your production needs change. Our production print specialists can help by assessing your needs and identifying inefficiencies so that you can take your booklet production to the next level.