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manroland web systems Joins Digital Book Printing Forum in London

Monday, July 06, 2015

Press release from the issuing company

Digital finishing solutions developed and engineered by manroland web systems help to save the printed book

The “2015 London Digital Book Printing Forum” took place at The Royal Society in London on June 25, 2015. Around 150 people joined the event. The target audience was anyone who has a stake in the development of digital book production – from large global publishers, self-publishers, printing companies and suppliers to the printing and publishing industries. Also manroland web systems joined the discussion about how to make the printed book fit for the future and how to provide the most efficient and cost-effective technology in this sector.

The event was organized by Interquest, a USA based market research company specializing in the global printing industry, and is held on an annual basis also in London, Every year there is also a presentation of the results of market analysis from previous years that show how the market opinion changes. As manroland web systems emerged into a top-supplier for digital book production during the last few years, the company took part at the event and added its knowledge to the discussions that were all about the main topic: How to make the printed book more attractive to the customers in times of e-readers and tablets?

Printed Books on the Upgrade
The market research presented at the event shows: the UK digital book production currently is 13% of the total (increased from 8% in 2012). Interquest research shows that the market perception is that this will rise to 18% - 20% by 2018. The USA book production has even increased by 4.6% and bookshops have seen a recovery. The sales of tablets and e-readers have slowed or stagnated. These are good numbers for digital book printers and this is mainly caused by the immense progress in productivity and quality that has happened during the last few years to support the digital book printing business.

FormerLine Offers Numerous Production Possibilities
manroland web systems e.g. developed the FormerLine for digital book production on an industrial scale. The system was especially designed regarding the requirements and the intended book production of the customers. In general, the FormerLine convinces by its variability, enabled by the continuously flexible cut-off from 145 mm to 420 mm. Together with the lift collator RS 34 from RIMA, the system produces stapled signatures or up to 8,000 glued and stapled book blocks per hour with up to 70 mm magnitude in a highly efficient way and with great performance.

According to the required format and pagination of the signature, the customer can choose the relevant web lead over the formers. The strongest point of the FormerLine concept is to produce different formats and paper qualities in so called “batches” which can consist of different books with different page numbers. Even each individual book can have a different pagination. 

In keeping with the preferences of the market, the FormerLine is fast, flexible, and productive. The FormerLine runs with a web speed of up to 300 m/min. The combination of a variable cut-off, a maximum web width of 1,067 mm (model with 3 formers) and a production speed of up to 300 meters per minute shows the best performing digital printing system for book production at this time. The high efficiency explained by minimal makeready times, also for format changes, reel changes and industrial maintenance concepts, furthermore features the solution.

New Technology Means More Success
Technology like the FormerLine helps the printers to reach the requirements of the market. The discussion at the event showed that there are several topics that drive the industry today. Besides slowing the growth of e-books, book printers care about a supply chain management: publishers want printers to be able to produce a “book of one” print on demand (POD) or any number of books in a timely and cost-effective manner as an individual edition or in batched production using highly automated web based job entries. This different Business Cases were nicely shown from different European Printers, presenting their company, their workflow and their printing systems to the audience. Publishers and printers try more and more to avoid holding stock and are moving to “Auto Stock Replenishment” business models reducing inventory and cost of stock handling. The batch-production of FormerLine exactly fulfils these requirements of the industrial digital production. Shorter, more frequent runs and a reduced time to market are required.

There is also a growing need for added value. There were some examples of adding value to books including personalization, augmented reality, RFID chip insertion, inclusion of electronics within books. 

Bright Prospects
All in all, the mood at the event was very positive about the future of the printed book. The e-book has found a place in the market but is not going to replace the physical book anytime soon. The challenges for book printers are to be able to supply a single book or several thousand books very quickly and to be able to distribute efficiently to the end user. Publishers and authors are looking for a multi-media, multi-channel solution with no inventory and an efficient supply chain from a single book upwards. That is where manroland web systems can help by supplying and constantly developing best possible solution for the digital book printing.


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