Finishing technology: Drupa highlights

As always, finishing took a back seat to printing among the Drupa technology announcements. But don’t assume for a second this was for lack of developments. At the exhibition, there was equipment in every shape, size and application.

Some of the interesting new post-press gear that made its appearance at the Düsseldorf trade show was specifically designed for commercial digital printing, particularly in the larger B2 format, but there was plenty more besides. Here we list off some of the standout technology that you might have missed.

CP Bourg

The Belgian manufacturer, represented locally by digital vendor Fuji Xerox, has added JDF/XML intelligence to its BSFEx dual-mode sheet feeder. The unit is integrated into the rear of the Xerox iGen 150. What this module does is bridge the gap between inline and offline production, and appears to offer the best of both worlds.

New at Drupa was the addition of a barcode scanner, automatically passing the printing job over to the finishing phase. It is another step toward the Promised Land of true lights-out production all the way to the bindery.

In an exclusive deal between Bourg and Xerox, the BSFEx is locked into a technological handshake with a range of 12 Xerox devices and will not work inline with any other digital press. However, the Xerox-Bourg innovation is an open technology, and was found on various rivals at Drupa, including Plockmatic and Rollem models, some of which were shown at the Xerox stand.

The sheet feeder can also accept barcode-identified stacks printed on several rival brand offset and digital presses. The finishing line running on the Xerox iGen 150 comprises the dual-mode sheet feeder, a bleed crease module, a bookletmaker and square edge.


Looking for an entry-level near-line solution for cut-sheet digital colour? The new SF-100 sheet feeder operating inline with the compact standard Horizon ColorWorks finisher is sold locally by Curries. The system feeds pre-collated colour or mono output from any cut-sheet digital printer, creases and bleed-trims each sheet, then stitches, folds, face-trims and stacks for highly efficient nearline bookletmaking with edge-to-edge colour.


Currie emerged from Drupa with an exclusive agreement with Scodix that will allow it to introduce revolutionary on-demand embellishing to the Australasian market. The Scodix Digital Press S Series gives customers the benefit of digital embossing and enhancement, with a wide range of applications, including Braille printing.

The partnership works for Currie’s and Scodix, says Phillip Rennell, Currie’s sales & marketing director. It enables Scodix to expand its position in digital post-press and lets Currie Group add a new solution to its portfolio. Rennell sees Scodix as an ideal way for printers to “add value and differentiate your brand”.

At Drupa, Scodix added B3-plus (52cm) and B2-plus (74cm) machines. These additional formats, with thicker substrates and the higher ScodixSense solution of up to 250 microns, open more opportunities for printers, says Scodix chief executive Kobi Bar.

“Our mission is to lead print enhancements into the digital age with our commitment and passion to continuously providing our customers with what they need most – true brand differentiation,” says Bar.

Muller Martini

Digital finishing throws up special challenges for perfect binding, says Muller Martini Australia sales manager Roman Beeler. The requirements for perfect binding are particularly varied in the mid-performance phase, he adds. On the one hand, jobs need to be processed efficiently and cost effectively, while on the other hand, wide-ranging applications are essential to print finishers.

The Swiss manufacturer’s Alegro perfect binder satisfies those high expectations for performances of up to 7,000 cycles per hour using innovative motion control technology. It enables orders to be processed rapidly and profitably. The Alegro also provides the basis for a wide range of applications due to special sizes and production methods.

“The intelligent machine concept revolves around the fact that, thanks to motion control, all stations of the Alegro have a separate drive and are individually controlled,” says Beeler. 

“The settings impact the product directly, leading to maximum quality. Motion control optimises product movement during the individual process steps, reduces set-up times and achieves an extremely high production performance in an extremely short time,” adds Beeler.


Publication mailroom specialist Ferag Australia will introduce TapeFix, an innovative insertion technology that was on display at the German trade show. TapeFix is a new way to secure insert collections, adding speed and productivity to the process. In place of a wrapper, which generally also serves as a means of transport, self-adhesive TapeFix makes sure collections stay together. 

Ferag Australia product manager Adam Newman says fixing is possible with two or three strips, depending on the thickness of the bundle and the format width. In addition to the application for freesheet production, TapeFix is a cost-saving alternative for inserting supplements in newspaper production. 

“Supplements can be gathered during cheaper daylight hours using a pre-collecting system like RollStream or FlyStream, fixed across the spine using TapeFix, and wound onto MultiDisc as a full bundle. The deployment of personnel during expensive night-time production can be dispensed with and it is also possible to reduce the size of the processing technology to achieve the required output with a lower capital investment.”


Heidelberg Australia/New Zealand is offering an array of new finishing equipment in the post-Drupa period, says the post-press product manager Brian Evans. One of his favourites is the ST500 Stitchmaster, a newcomer in the range of saddlestitching products.

Evans  says the ST500 enables binderies to respond quickly to customers’ tight timeframes and is an optimum choice for short and long runs, able to handle simple brochures to complex products. The new ST500 is now on a platform that enables Heidelberg to build the machine to meet individual customers needs, he adds.

“The five main points to think about when looking at a new stitcher are flexibility, productivity, quality, user friendliness and, in today’s market, eco-friendly efficiency. The ST500 has all these covered. Top speed of the ST500 is 13,000 cycles per hour. The machine is running complete servo drive technology, which enables each part of the machine to be adjusted in size format and speed at the touch of a button. It offers a range of different types of feeders, vertical, horizontal and cover feeders.”

A new stitching unit, for gentle handling of the sections at speed, is among the new features. The ST500 can also be used as a collating machine – the first machine that enables stack signature brochures to be collated in a saddlestitcher, says Evans.

“This is perfect for those customers that have small binders and want to do away with hand collating. Another great new feature is the new three-step trimming – it can now process calendar hole punching, two-up trimming and all done in one pass. This would normally have to be processed in two passes.”


GBC Australia is introducing Swiss bindery specialist Multigraf’s automatic perforator-creaser that combines these two processes in a single unit. The key is an interchangeable bar technology premiered at Drupa. The Foldmaster Touchline CP375 enables an operator to switch frequently and easily between a creasing and perforating bar.

The CP375 has four rotary heads for lateral perforating or cutting, for multi-directional perforating, all in a single pass. GBC is targeting jobs such as vouchers and lottery tickets, as it takes sheets up to 375×1,050mm and can crease stocks up to 400gsm. The perforating bar is rated for stocks up to 300gsm, with 400gsm card perforating just around the corner, says GBC national product manager Jimmy Nguyen.

GBC has also launched the DBMi heavy-duty, high-volume collating and saddlestitching system in Australia. A prototype has been previously unveiled in Australia and other countries but the machine was officially released at Drupa. Designed to handle offset and shorter digital runs, the unit combines PC-based programming and intelligent bin-feeding with scoring and folding technology to produce thicker, flatter books up to 4,500 books an hour. A modular design enables users to add three-knife trimming capabilities.


UK developer Morgana’s affordable PUR binder for digital printers was exhibited for the first time at Drupa, and Ferrostaal Australia is offering the DigiBook series of machines, now suited to all sizes of digital printers and any digital print run length.

When inks, coatings or digital print toners are present in the spine area, these can compromise the strength of typical hot-melt perfect binding. PUR is resistant to this and will form a super-strong bond with all weights and finishes of paper stocks. In addition, PUR works well with synthetic and recycled-content stock.

The DigiBook 450 is aimed at litho and digital printers that require medium to long runs of PUR perfect bound books. The machine is equipped with a patented closed gluing system where the spine and side gluing is applied by a slot applicator for quality and accuracy. The DigiBook 450 can produce up to 450 cycles per hour with automatic cover feeding.

“PUR binding for digital is a real growth area for equipment providers. PUR has become more widely necessary since the introduction of digital printing, as oils and waxes are used when printing on the digital print engines. Normal EVA glue will not allow the sheets to adhere to a cover because of these oils and waxes,” says Andy Cooper, general manager of Morgana Australia. 


Neil Southerington, managing director of distributor Graffica, returned from Drupa with news on a range of gear for the digitally focused bindery. Datien guillotines have made a name for themselves in the Australian market, and Datien has added larger-format machines to its range, including 185cm and 200cm sizes released at Drupa.

The Datien machines, now available from 92-300cm, feature systems jogging and loading and unloading air tables. He says the arrival of large-format digital presses has led Datien to develop a range of large-format stack lifts, stack turners and air table designs that were not previously available for these formats.


Digital book printers are looking closely at Book-On-Demand, part of the Universal Digitaline product range from Italian developer Meccanotecnica, represented in this region by Ferrostaal.

Introduced at Drupa, Book-On-Demand is aimed at publishers and authors interested in producing on-demand short runs from digitally printed stock, says Rayne Simpson, general manager, print solutions, at Ferrostaal Australia.

Due in Australia in Q4 this year, Book-On-Demand enables quick turnaround times from digital printers to be matched with rapid, high-quality book finishing, making this an ideal solution for self-publishing, reprints, or personalised books.

“The Digitaline products provide the strongest and fastest form of binding for digital print,” says Simpson. “That’s down to four inline units that finish a book, starting from digitally printed single sheets. The finished book is produced in four steps; thread sewing, pressing and end-papering, binding, and trimming.”


Japanese manufacturer Uchida’s Aerocut Quattro digital finishing system was launched at Drupa 2012. It is an upgrade of the Aerocut series, and comes with a processing speed 2.5 times faster than its predecessor. All jobs – cutting, creasing and perforating – can be performed on the new machine, with easy operation through the use of a colour touch panel.

Available in Australia from distributor Jasco, the machine features a convenient plug-in for Adobe Illustrator that creates the required size template according to job specification. This data can also be automatically transferred to the Aerocut Quattro through a USB cable connection.

Massimo Ioppolo, product manager of business machines at Jasco, says that the Quattro is capable of slitting, creasing and perforating, including cross-perforation. The feeding system has a fast upper belt suction feed and cutting mark register, for quick, easy aligning of jobs up to 400gsm in paper weight.




Drupa visitors: what caught your eye?

Inline book finishing was fairly impressive. Muller Martini was one of the vendors that showed finishing lines with multiple stacking books of different sizes and A4, A5, two A3s could be selected, and finished in one pass. It was on-demand. 

Tim Lack, Foot & Playsted, Launceston

Horizon’s stand sticks out, especially the perfect binder and the StitchLiner, with three-way trim. They had impressive automation – taking it from a reel through two different finishing lines, fully automated, with variable sizes. I had a look at some Duplo technology, with an eye on digital finishing: business card cutters, scoring, folding and inline diecutting.

Neil McNamara, IPG, Brisbane

I was interested in the inline finishing on some of the digital presses, including the new Konica KM1 press and the Kodak NexPress. When it comes to digital finishing, the world’s your oyster, as long as you have the money for it.

Raymond Stafrace, J&P Printing, Melbourne

The engineering was incredible. The machines are getting quieter, faster and really stable. The automation is amazing. The next exciting thing in digital is they’re producing half sheets [B2]. But they still have to fold half sheets, as well as saddlestitch or burst-bind them.

Rob Maloney, Core Print, Melbourne




Drupa kit: key specs

CP Bourg BSFEx dual-mode sheet feeder

• JDF/XML technology

• Integrated into rear of Xerox iGen 150, offering inline/offline options

• Compatible with a range of 12 Xerox devices

Supplied by Fuji Xerox Australia

Scodix Digital Press S Series

• B3-plus (52cm) and B2-plus

• Can print reliefs for applications such as Braille

• ScodixSense for thicker substrates of up to 250 microns

Supplied by Currie Group

Muller Martini Alegro perfect binder

• 7,000 cycles per hour using innovative motion control technology

• Separate-drive technology means all stations individually controlled

Supplied by Muller Martini Australia

Ferag TapeFix

• Innovative self-adhesive insertion technology

Supplied by Ferag Australia

Datien guillotines

• Now available in larger 185cm and 200cm formats

• Compatible to new-format stack lifts, stack turners and air tables

Supplied by Graffica

Multigraf automatic perforator-creaser

• Interchangeable bar technology enables easy switching between perforating and creasing

• Perforating bar rated for stocks up to 300gsm

Supplied by GBC Australia

Heidelberg ST500 Stitchmaster

• Rated speed of 13,000 cycles per hour

• Servo drive technology enables individual format adjustments

• New stitching unit for gentle handling at speed

Supplied by Heidelberg A/NZ

Uchida Aerocut Quattro digital finishing system

• Upgrade of the Aerocut series, and comes with a processing speed 2.5 times faster than its predecessor

• Plug-in for Adobe Illustrator creates required size template according to job specification

Supplied by Jasco

Morgana DigiBook 450

• PUR binding for long runs of perfect-bound books

• Patented closed gluing system

• 450 cycles per hour with automatic cover feeding.

Supplied by Ferrostaal Australia

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