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PrintCity link-up heralds new chapter in digital book production

Press release from the issuing company

May 11, 2004 -- Four PrintCity members have joined together in a business partnership to develop and create digital book production technology that will save 100million euros worldwide for the graphic arts industry within five years. The unique collaboration between Oce, Stralfors, MBO and Wohlenberg will be shown live for the first time in PrintCity’s Hall 6. The new process will dramatically save costs and improve efficiency for short-run book printing. Central to the innovation are clever software, the new real-time communication interface UP3I (Universal Printer, Pre- and Postprocessing Interface) and an MBO Digi-Folder that cuts down the “make-ready” time when different-sized sections of separate titles need to be printed. The Navigator control of the motorised Wohlenberg Quickbinder ensures the fast set-up, independent whether it’s a softcover or hardcover book. The partnership has been forged through PrintCity’s Digital Activity Group, one of the eight specific interest platforms that were set up by the strategic alliance to forge innovative business solutions like this. Through PrintCity, specific links were built between digital printing company Océ, digital postpress manufacturer Stralfors, folder manufacturer MBO and binding company Wohlenberg. Océ supplies the VarioStream 9210 high-speed press, the POD module of PRISMAproduction software for the pre-press and complete production line, and an Océ Colour Production System CPS900 printer for the book covers. Stralfors provides its LX500 Series LX560 cutter as part of its role for the unwinding, cutting and stacking process, while MBO brings a huge innovation with the DigiFolder. Wohlenberg is responsible for the nearline binding with the automated Quickbinder. Thomas Opel, chairman of PrintCity’s Digital Activity Group, said: “Thanks to the links established through the PrintCity network, this heralds another exciting chapter for digital book production with huge benefits for the industry. “It is now possible to reduce make-ready time from 30 to less than five minutes, which will have a far-reaching impact for publishers and for the consumer who will now be able to get any scientific, technical or medical book as well as out-of-print titles within a day. “Publishers can cut their assets in warehouses freeing up capital, which can be invested in new book titles to expand the business.” The average budgeted hourly rate of a high-end digital production line is 200 euros an hour. This means, that a printer can save, on average, 70,000 euros on make-ready a year, if he does changeovers twice a shift on a two-shift per day operation. So he can cover a huge portion of his investment with this investment. Opel, a market segment manager for Océ, said: “As the recognised market leaders in digital short-run book production, our own research shows that a conservative estimate for the savings that will be made within the graphic arts industry for this new way of working will be 100million euros within five years.” Once drupa is over, the PrintCity consortia plans to start increasing its marketing of the new digital book production technique through its own commercial and sales channels as well as through an ever-expanding network of PrintCity companies.