Heidelberg presents litho as digital workflow
I am still not sure what to make of the Total Print show. It clearly is different to Digital Print World as Heidelberg is there but the discussion at the lunchtime debate was mostly about digital. Gareth Ward pointed out that the setup costs for litho have been reduced with the anicolor shown by Heidelberg, but the run length mentioned was still 1000. Other times there is talk of 500 or 200. It may be my lack of imagination but I can't see this kind of equipment being used for 200 sheets.
"Short-run" seems to be used as a word in association with personalisation or variable data. The value of the timeliness and targeted content is greater than the setup costs. Litho has not got an easy way to compete with this although sections can be combined in a book of selections with a personalised cover from some other device.
Heidelberg show the Prinect workflow system as causing much of the improvement in makeready times. It also works with most digital presses and finishing equipment, not just their own. The Heidelberg emphasis on JDF is the strongest at the show. It is part of several other workflow products, but not strongly promoted as such.
The Fuji Jetpress 720 is present through a video. The claimed runlength is around 2000 where litho costs would be a reason not to use inkjet. There will be some test installations in Japan during 2009 but the UK may have to wait till IPEX 2010.
More later on web-to-print. There are some examples.
The show is not as busy as it could be. Tomorrow is the last day.
Meanwhile I think that ePUB and devices like the Kindle and Sony Reader will get a boost at Frankfurt. Print is still the leading way for books to be published, but the workflow may need to get more personalised and closer to instant.