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Muller Martini supports Quad/Graphics digital book platform transformation with seven SigmaLine systems

Friday, September 11, 2015

Press release from the issuing company

Innovative book manufacturing system ensures cost-effective production of short runs

As the run lengths of books continue to trend toward smaller batch sizes, Quad/Graphics is increasing its commitment to digital manufacturing technology. The company announced that it is investing in at least 20 color digital presses as part of the company’s strategy to transform its book manufacturing platform. In addition, it will soon have a total of seven SigmaLine digital book production systems from Muller Martini, which support cost-effective production of shorter runs.

“We had to push the digital envelope faster because publishers wanted smaller batch sizes,” said Joel Quadracci, Chairman, President and CEO of Quad/Graphics, in a March 2015 “What They Think” interview. “Some have hundreds of millions of dollars tied up in inventories, and there is still about 30% waste in the supply chain with books that are obsolete and will never be sold. With today’s digital print technology, production costs are getting to a point where the breakeven between offset and digital means you can tackle the inventory issue. The book industry will transform to lower inventory levels that get replenished in smaller batch sizes.” 

The seven Muller Martini SigmaLine book manufacturing systems represent an integral part of the Quad/Graphics digital book production initiative. SigmaLine interconnects prepress, digital printing and finishing in a unique system that enables fully automated production from a PDF to pre-glued, pre-stacked book blocks in a single operation. “The SigmaLine is ideal for cost-effective production of shorter runs—not only for books but a variety of other printed products as well,” said Daren Robarge, Senior Vice President of Manufacturing at Quad/Graphics. Added Bill Jalbert, Plant Director for Quad/Graphics, “We’re especially impressed by the quick changeovers and the excellent quality of the book blocks.” 

Quad/Graphics already has five SigmaLine systems operating 24/7 as of mid-July 2015. These systems feature the new, fully automated SigmaFolder II module, which provides greater flexibility to market requirements and market segments. Its scalability enables the system to be extended in the future if market requirements change or new digital printing technologies emerge, providing Quad/Graphics with a high degree of investment protection. In addition to the established 42-inch applications, it can be configured optimally in the future for web widths from 20 to 60 inches, and every gradation in between. 

In parallel with the extension of the SigmaFolder II modular system, the innovative Connex Data and Process Management system has been enhanced to include all new configuration options. New to the Connex system is the ability for full cutoff and format size changes on the fly. So in most cases, the system does not need to be shut down between format changes unless the roll stock needs to be changed. What’s more, since Connex generates all printing data dynamically, it can automatically manage all types of digital print production from a simple PDF file, be it saddle-stitched products from a narrow web to softcover books printed using a wide, high-speed inkjet press. “Connex played a key part in our decision to invest in the new SigmaLine systems,” Mr. Jalbert said. “That system puts Muller Martini way ahead of the competition.”

“As a leader in the short-run market, the investment in SigmaLine systems shows our commitment to performance through innovation,” concluded Mr. Robarge. “Quad/Graphics and Muller Martini have enjoyed a strong partnership for many years and we will continue to innovate together for the benefit of our clients.”


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