Wednesday, July 8, 2009

ROAD TRIP: Princeton Printing & Mailing Office

Last week I went on a little field trip to see Princeton's Printing & Mailing office, where most of the official printed publications for the university are produced. It was amazing to see the kinds of machinery and technology involved in print production. Naturally, I l]took lots of photos, so let's recap.

To cut huge amounts of paper at once, they have this machine with a giant blade that comes down and slices across the sheets. It only cuts when both buttons are pressed at once, so your fingers are chopped off. The flat surface of the cutter is covered with a grid of ball bearing floating on air (like an air hockey table) so the paper can slide around easily.
From Printing & Mailing Office

Putting in the paper:
From Printing and Mailing Office

This things applies the glue to the stacks of paper that become books. One of the technicians said the glue is so hot that if you stuck your finger in, you would come out with just bone:
From Printing and Mailing Office

Sorting and stacking action shot:
From Printing and Mailing Office

One of the facility's two iGens. These things are massive digital printers that never stop running and are connected to a central server at Xerox so they can be continuously monitored and maintained:
From Printing and Mailing Office

The iGen control station:
From Printing and Mailing Office

As a historic side note, the Printing & Mailing building used to be a hangar for Princeton's Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department. A few years back, there was a hovercraft hanging from the ceiling, since it was never moved after the engineers left. Below is a photo of it in action, and more info can be found here.

Thanks to Darryl and the rest of the staff at the Printing & Mailing Office for the tour of the facilities, and to Shani for driving.

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