How much 4.0 is needed?
On the other hand, the question arises as to how much Industry 4.0 is really necessary in bookbinderies. How much integration makes sense? What does a processing plant need to remain successful in the market? And what is possible?
Certainly, the trend in print production is also moving away from mass production, i.e. long runs, toward several diversified product batches in smaller quantities. This inevitably results in a higher number of smaller jobs to be processed – and mapped – at companies. Such order structures almost inevitably require workflows with a high degree of automation and process integration.
To this end, Muller Martini offers, for example, a touchless workflow that with the workflow solution Connex has the appropriate interfaces that can interconnect the whole range of products of Muller Martini with higher-level systems. For example, in flexible book production with runs of one, a book ordered online can be produced highly automatically on demand using standardized processes. The complete book production process is thereby monitored from printing to block formation, perfect binding and individual trimming. In such companies - with digital printing, fully integrated further processing and interfaces to logistics - Industry 4.0 is already a reality.
On the other hand, for pure bookbinderies without a direct connection to pre-press and printing, things are getting more difficult. One of the tasks for the future here is certainly to focus on what is actually produced (or is to be produced in the future) and what can be improved in the organizational and production structure. It will be a matter of finding your own niche in the market, having an offer that sets you apart from the competition, and being able to produce this profitably.
And it will also be a question of investing with foresight: In flexible systems that can map fluctuating run lengths well; in easy-to-operate systems that allow more flexible deployment of operating personnel; in systems that are 4.0-capable to prepare for the rapidly progressing development, also at the customer end.
Even if fully integrated processes cannot be implemented in a pure bookbindery, the topic of Industry 4.0 or digital networking should not remain a future dream. It is important to consider where the journey will go and prepare for it step by step. Now!
Editor Print Finishing
Deutscher Drucker Verlag