Digital Finishing A Powerful Catalyst for Service Differentiation

By Joe Deemer, Editor, Printing Industries of America: The Magazine

It’s not hard to see why even some of the staunchest “big iron” holdouts started com- ing around to the idea of a digital press (or two) on their shop floors—or even finding them a room of their own. But the benefits of these machines are going far beyond the versioning,

The Magazine 8 4.2017

variable data, short-run, and wide-format benefits that made “hybrid printing” such an attractive option. Now some of digital’s most compelling value propositions feature prominently in the postpress arena.

Metallic and Special Effects Just three years ago, Printing Industries of America recognized an InterTech™

ting-edge use of effects on a variety of substrates. The Scodix Metallic™

Award recipient for its cut- process allowed printers to add gold,

silver, bronze, and a myriad of additional metallic enhancements to printed products in a single pass. In addition to metallic effects, the technology allowed for embossing, the creation of various textures, and polymer effects.

Because the technology didn’t require dies, plates, and additional chemicals and solvents, printers could use the technogy to offer clients quality finishing options in-house at a reasonable price.

Since receiving their InterTech Award, Scodix has continued to innovate and improve their metallic effect finishing options. At the same time, other digi- tal press manufacturers are also developing advanced finishing solutions.

The Landa Group’s Metallography technology caused a stir at drupa last summer. Famous for their use of nanotechnology in inkjet presses, Metallography rep- resented a foray into the finishing process.

Waste of valuable material has always been a top con- cern—or even a prohibitive factor—for metallic finishing jobs. Thanks to the company’s proprietary NanoFlake™ metal, this technology boasts a zero-waste process that would cut the cost of using metal effects or embossing significantly.

While Landa developed Metallography, ALTANA recently acquired the technology and hopes to bring it to market in the next few years.

Can Finishing Open the Door to 3-D? Naturally, metal embossing isn’t the only finishing activity that creates waste. Another recent InterTech recipient, Highcon, has decided to take full advantage of that “problem.” Highcon already had a digital cutting and creasing solution available—the Beam—but they decided to take it a step further with the inclusion of a 3-D modeling module.

This optional module allows users to build 3-D models and molds of a size and scale that would be cost pro- hibitive if starting “from scratch.” Printers can use the equipment to make models from makeready waste and molds from model waste. Long story short, none of a printer’s most costly material (paper) needs to be consigned to a bin.

Summary These are just a few examples of how graphic arts ven- dors are “pushing the envelope” (sorry) in the finishing arena. As with all technology advances, the acceleration of such innovations promises incredible advances to come. Buckle up.


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