What Were the Goals of Leading Printers at Print 05?
On Demand Journal.com
Aug. 28, 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
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.