Article from iframagazine.com
PrintCity: The VAPoN project
PrintCity has undertaken a unique study to evaluate the quality, process performance
and economics of a series of alternative techniques and materials for value-added newspaper printing. First results are available at IfraExpo.
Semi-commercial printing is a hot topic in the industry. The main goal is to be able to benefit from free press capacities during the day and turn them into a new source of revenue – normally by using additional dryers, better quality papers and inks. Typical products are inserts, magazines and the like.
PrintCity’s VAPoN (Value Added Printing of Newspapers) concept is based on the same techniques and materials but focuses explicitly on their application to newspaper products. “What makes a newspaper a value-added product is that the difference must be recognised by readers and advertisers, i.e. the additional value must be a perceived value,” says David Stamp, director of marketing and communications of PrintCity. According to PrintCity’s own definition, VAPoN aims at “newspaper products capable of attracting higher revenues to the newspaper and/or adding to its differentiation.”
What makes the visible difference?
If we are talking about conventional newspaper offset presses, there are principally three ingredients needed to improve the appearance of the print result: a higher quality paper, a dryer and appropriate printing inks. All three are interrelated as a certain dryer – be it heatset, electron beam (EB) or ultra-violet (UV) – needs its own inks, which in turn can only be used in combination with certain paper grades. But Paul Casey, technical service development director for Sun Chemical and VAPoN project team leader, makes it very clear: “VAPoN is not about what dryer is best or what paper, it’s about the best solution for a given printing situation.”
"We don’t want to tell people what to do or where to go, but give them the best data to make the right decisions." (Paul Casey, VAPoN Project Team Leader)
There are many more influencing factors to be taken into consideration such as the investment and running costs, the available space for the installation of a dryer (on top or inside an existing press), the maximum speed (limited by the drying system), the materials of roller coatings and blankets (that might not be resistant to different types of ink), environmental considerations, etc. And those are only the technical-related factors – there are marketing and business aspects as well.
With its current VAPoN project, PrintCity (www.printcity.de) wants to support newspaper printers who are thinking of going this direction by offering them relevant information and guidance. “We want to make knowledge available,” Casey says. And when he says “we” he refers to a core group of five PrintCity alliance members who are the main actors (and sponsors) of the VAPoN project (see Members & objectives).
The VAPoN study
At the core of the VAPoN project is a study that was conducted this summer to measure and assess alternative techniques and materials for value-added newspaper printing, taking into consideration the aspects of quality, process performance and economics. As a part of this, a set of seven newspaper samples – partly printed in heatset and in coldset on different paper qualities – were produced at the DELO printing plant in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and sent to newspaper executives all over the world for quality and value assessment (combined with a survey on trends). Four of the eight-page samples were printed in heatset and three in coldset using different paper grades:
45 g/m2 standard newsprint (printed in heatset and coldset), 48.8 g/m2 improved newsprint (heatset and coldset), 48 g/m2 Matt C, VAC (coldset), 52 g/m2 SC-B (heatset) and 54 g/m2 LWC (heatset).
Members & objectives
The VAPoN project, led by PrintCity alliance members Adphos_Eltosch (dryers), MAN Roland (presses), Megtec (dryers), Sun Chemical (inks) and UPM (paper), has three declared objectives:
Evaluate how newspaper printers and publishers can increase their revenues.
Guide them towards the most cost-effective printing system for their own market situation and challenges.
Offer opportunities and solutions for them to gain new business.
Page first published: 17.10.2006
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