Printings techniques and photobooks are evolving
in rapid progression. Prints mastering perfection are constantly in demand, worldwide.
In 2002, Kodak introduced its ML-500 multi-head dye sub printer aimed at the professional market, which never became a commercial success. At Photokina, we saw another multi-head dye sub printer, the compact MH250 from Altech aimed at the consumer/amateur market segment. The printing head arrangement is shown in Figure 1, in comparison to the standard single head printer. By utilizing the center drum approach with a patented system that applies a slight pressure on the head, the 4-head (yellow, magenta, cyan and protective overcoat) printer achieves a resolution of 300 dots/inch. Altech also claims that this design has a high stability and enables precise cutting, minimizing paper waste to only 5mm between prints. It is roll fed using a 120 meter long, 6-inch roll with a capacity of approximately 1,200 4×6-inch prints between replacements (the ribbons are of the same size). It takes roughly 2.5 seconds to output a 4×6-inch print, and print formats of 6×8”, 6×9” and 6×10” can also be made – with a maximum print length of 36 inches. Double-sided printing should simplify the production of various personalized photo products onsite. Since Asia is primarily an “onsite output” region, this will help drive an increase in sales of various products by retailers. Advances such as the Altech multihead printer will signifi cantly increase the output speed of dye sub printers.
Figure 2 shows our estimates of the worldwide market for these personalized photo products, where specialized prints included multiimage photos (with and without text), collages, and poster prints. We are currently reviewing the market for canvas prints, sales of which are booming in some developed markets. However, having the double-sided ‘pages’ or producing single-sided ‘pages’ signifi cantly faster cards is just the fi rst step in the production photobooks, calendars, greeting cards and other personalized products. They must now be assembled. Unibind has introduced a compact semi-automatic HardCoverMaker 650M that employs a proven dry hot melt adhesive system, requiring no liquid chemicals or glues to form a durable photobook. By carefully following a simple “insert, align, pull handle” procedure, any person can make a beautiful cover for
books up to 12×12” (300x300mm). A mirror sheet with a thin layer of hot melt is added to the inner side and sealed. The cover is assembled using heat and a U-spine is created – ready to bind to the book block.
The new Photos & Sounds line, codeveloped with DinoTalk, a Unibind partner company, adds 10 seconds of sounds to photobooks through a system integrated into the front cover. Consumers can record their voice message, music or any other sound through an integral microphone. Once they are satisfi ed with the message, a ‘happy tab’ prevents the message from being changed. Pressing the ‘play’ button starts the playback. The battery is replaceable, so that the recording will be available
permanently. These special covers can be used with any of Unibind’s binding systems and sell for one-third more than standard nonsound covers.
Since the company entered the office products market in 1979, more than one billion presentation
folder/photobook covers have been made on its equipment, and it now has a presence in more than 120 countries worldwide. In the U.S.A., Unibind estimated that during 2010 more than 2 million photobooks were made onsite.
With the arrival of automated production systems for onsite production, the development of the
personalized photo products market in Asia should begin growing rapidly.
By Don Franz http://www.photonews.com