inline finishing options - production print

What is inline finishing?

In inline finishing, the finishing equipment is attached to the production printer. This enables you to complete create booklets, brochures, and more all within one step, directly through the print device. Inline finishing services saves on labor costs and reduces waste from manual error.

A large variety of finishing equipment is now available to connect directly to digital production printers.

What inline finishing options are available?

When in the market for a production printer, it’s important to know what inline finishing options are available and what they are capable of.

Each production device has its own line of finishing options. Options may overlap from product to product, however there are some that are specific to certain models. When you are making these decisions, it is important to let your representative know everything you plan to run on the device so the device can be equipped properly with the inline finishing equipment your organization needs.

Here are some of the most common production print finishing options and what they do:

Cover Interposer

Also referred to as an inserter, a cover interposer allows you to place a page, typically heavier stock, of pre-printed or blank paper into a document while it’s being printed. This page can be added as a front cover, back cover, or any page in between. Interposers can have a single tray or two trays.

Pages can be inserted anywhere within the document to create a break. One example of this would be using colored paper to create a visual separation from one section of a document to the next. Another practical use of this feature is inserting a pre-printed heavy stock cover page to a booklet as at prints.

Cover Interposer – Image source
High Capacity Interposer – Image source

High Capacity Interposer

The function of this option is the same as the cover interposer, however this would be a more specialized option for running a larger volume of jobs that require insertion. This option can vastly increase the capacity of the interposer’s input tray requiring less hands-on attention while the job is printing.

For example, let’s say you need to run a high-volume job that includes a thick cover page. The high capacity interposer will hold many sheets of the cover page. This enables the production printer to complete the majority of the job, if not the entire print job without the need to reload the interposer tray.

Ring Binder

Ring binders are a perfect option for manuals, technical publications, or training materials. The ring binder option enables an end-user to create collated, punched, and bound booklets of upwards of 100 pages depending on the option. The rings are plastic and can be opened to remove pages.

Ring Binding – Image source

Wire Binding – Image source

Wire Binder

The wire binder option binds documents with a more polished and sturdier look of metal wire.

Punch

A punch unit creates multiple hole punches in documents. Interchangeable dies allow you to change the punch shape for various binding applications, such as spiral binding and ring binding.

Punch – Image source

Streampunch – Image source

Streampunch

A specific punch unit that works in sequence with other inline finishing options. For instance, the streampunch is a necessary finishing option to pair with the wire binder in order for the wire binder to be able to work. The streampunch must come before the wire binder in the production printer workflow, allowing the document to be punched before being bound.

Booklet Maker

Create saddle-stitched booklets up to 20 sheets with ease. The booklet finisher also includes a conveyor belt, pushing the finished product off the output tray and into a storage container, with minimal need for supervision. This finishing option is an ideal solution if you’re looking to bring outsourced brochure printing in-house.

Saddle-stitched Booklet – Image source
Perfect Bound Booklet – Image source

Perfect Binder

A perfect binder produces professionally trimmed, glue-bound, wrap around books of up to 200-sheets with covers and weights of up to 300 GSM. This inline option is ideal for catalogs, course books, small magazines, directories, and more.

Buffer Pass Unit/Cooling Unit

A cooling unit will cool sheets of paper after printing. This is recommended for printing on coated stocks, or with high toner coverage to avoid bricking of paper.

Trimmer Unit

A unit that can be added to finishers that can trim the finished product on three sides to give edge to edge image coverage, also known as full bleed.

Trimmer Unit – Image source

Stacker Unit – Image source

Stacker

A stacker unit creates neatly stacked piles of up to 5000 pages, often onto a cart that can be removed and rolled for ease of transport.

Multi-Folding Unit

Allows for multiple paper folding options such as:

  • Half fold
  • Tri fold
  • Z fold
  • Gate fold
  • Accordion fold
  • Double parallel fold

Mailbox

Mailbox is an option that can be added to a finisher that gives up to 10 individual trays in which you can print to. This is for a busy office environment in which multiple departments may use the same device. By having these extra trays, departments can have a designated tray and do not have to leaf through the other departments prints to get to their prints.

Mailbox Unit – Image source

Putting it all together

Now that you know the common in-line finishing options, consider the type of print jobs your organization runs. Your print job types will help determine what additions you’ll need on your production printer.

Having finishing options attached to your device enables you to run a complete job, start to finish, without any manual steps. However, some organizations find it more beneficial to utilize “offline” finishing products. Offline products are standalone equipment, separate from your printer, such as a folder, cutter, booklet maker, that will require manual completion.

The preference will be different for each customer, based on your print needs and resources. Contact a specialist to help you determine if inline or offline products are a better fit for you.