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by Heidi-Tolliver Nigro
On Demand Journal.com
Aug. 28, 05
What Were the Goals of Leading Printers at Print 05?

August 28, 2005 -- Whenever we talk about technology, as we have throughout WTT's coverage of Print 05, it's always interesting to see not just what the market-leading vendors are doing but what some market leading printers are doing. So as an epilogue to WTT's coverage of Print 05, I wanted to bring you interviews with three industry innovators and technology leaders that describe why they went to Print 05, what their goals were, and what technologies they were interested in.

First, I interviewed Adi Chinai, joint managing director of King Printing, a book printer in Lowell, MA, that services both traditional publishers and self-publishers. The company has always been on the leading edge of technology, having been the first its region to adopt digital printing back in 1980s (it presently has a fleet of DocuTechs) and to invest in computer-to-plate in the mid 1990s.

Today, to adapt to changing market conditions, King Printing is launching into digital color printing and short-run bookbinding to complement its traditional bookbinding lines.

The shop started with finishing. Earlier this year, it installed what Chinai calls "the first short-run casing inline of its kind," the DGR Casing Inline from DGR Graphic of Germany, which allows the shop to do extremely short-run bookbinding. What Chinai particularly likes about the DGR is that it allows him change book sizes without switching out parts. "The old way, we were doing six makereadies per day," he says. "Now I can do eight or nine."

Now, Chinai is looking for the right digital press to put on the front end. His goal at Print 05? To further analyze digital technologies and, hopefully, make a decision on a digital press, which he plans to use to produce short-run book covers, inserts, and short-run illustrated children's books, in an attempt to recapture work that is now being produced overseas.

When I first talked to Chinai, before he'd had a chance to walk the Print 05 show floor, he was fairly convinced that he'd walk out with a NexPress. But when I spoke to him again, after he'd had a chance to explore, he was no longer certain. "The quality of some of these presses was much better than I'd anticipated," he said. "There are a lot more options than I'd thought."

If there is a theme that runs through these three interviews, it is this: These market-leading printers aren't coming to the show to make large investment decisions or determine the directions of their businesses. Those decisions have already been made and the investment to take their businesses in those directions isn't made around trade show, but is continual, over time.

Large trade shows like PRINT 05 are good opportunities for looking further ahead, to stay on top of emerging technologies, network, view print samples, and generally stay plugged in. If a company is in the market for a new technology, it's a natural opportunity to compare apples to apples, but because these companies are serious about investment, it is simply a refinement process. The homework has already been done.





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