‘Indirect costs in conventional book printing and publishing makes digital print technologies more viable’

(R-L)  Franz Hunkeler, S K Khurana & Peter Roose -says Franz Hunkeler, chairman of Hunkeler AG in an informal conversation with SK Khurana at the astand of Print & Publishing during recently concluded Print China 2011.

Since the introduction of digital print technologies by number of players, there has always been a large wish list of advantages of this new print techniques over conventional print process like offset, screen, flexo or gravure. And the most talked about advantages have been rolling around includes: Print on Demand, Quick, no make ready required, possibility of varied paper/substrates, etc. These advantages, no doubt have provided edge in helping printers and others to enter into the era of digital print to a greater extant.

With the recent expansion in book printing and distribution network, a new wave has started appearing on the surface, as to how digital printing can effectively be utilized within this growing segment. Though the execution of book printing with production of initial/sample copies (may be up to 10 copies) have very confidently been adopted for number of years, the recent introduction of successful inkjet technologies by providers have further grown the scope to 200-300 copies’ viability. And the time is fast approaching, when a print run of 2,000 copies shall also become a reality being produced by digital at comparable cost. The similar statement was also made by Rajeev Vohra, director, Repro India during innovationdays held in February this year.

As per Franz Hunkeler, to make a right comparison of costing, indirect and hidden expenses involved in conventional printing processes need to be identified and taken into account. There are definite such indirectcosts which bring an edge for digital print technologies over conventional ones.

Till now, the finishing area was not being taken seriously as the short run segment could be handled manually without hassles, but not anymore. Hunkeler on their sincere efforts have been putting all their efforts proudly to come out with the solutions of all kinds of finishing challenges.

As per Franz Hunkeler, a considerable balance is being made in terms of low manpower cost versus automation cost, while designing equipment. Also, more than just printing equipment in all colour by digital, the additional features offered by automated finishing like dynamic perforation are also proving to be very advantageous in today’s scenario.

Answering to the question of unlimited size requirement by book publishing industry and the challenges to be faced by finishing equipment suppliers, Franz Hunkeler categorically agreed that taking steps towards standardization in finished books sizes by any international organization may help a lot. If a low finishing cost can be derived out of this standardization, the demand may obviously increase substantially for digital technologies helping everyone in this newer segment.

Group Publications