In-line finishing is a process that occurs in publishing houses and print shops, when all of the necessary finishing work for products is done within the same company rather than sent out to outside contractors. Products involved in this process include a wide array of printed materials such as books, pamphlets, magazines, folders and many more types that are usually produced in a bindery. Systems designed to do in-line finishing perform many functions on printed work including folding, trimming, direct mailing and many more.
The processes of in-line finishing have been designed mainly to save companies time and money; it can become expensive very quickly when work needs to be sent out to be finished, sent back and then delivered. A good example of this in printing is with direct mailing services, when a particular item needs to be printed in the thousands or even millions, and then each piece needs to be individually addressed and mailed out. Before in-line finishing was a more viable option, an outside contractor would have to be hired to imprint addresses on all of the pieces and then send them out. This means that the contractor would have their own forms of quality control, their own timetable for finishing work, and most importantly could charge whatever they wanted.
By utilizing in-line finishing, all of the responsibilities associated with completing jobs are handled within the printing company itself rather than being given to an outside contractor along with a greater chance of error and higher costs. Even more money can be saved when machines are designed to do in-line finishing continuously after materials have been manufactured. When this is done, the in-line finishing machinery is connected right to the initial production line so that work is finished without having to stop any production at all. In an in-house publishing company, for example, a book can be printed, bound and finished all in one production line without any time loss.
Other functions that can be performed by in-line finishing machines in other companies as well as publishing houses include gluing, die cutting, folding, imprinting and perforating materials. By doing so, products can be shipped right off of the assembly line.