Article from iframagazine.com
There is more than lithographic offset coldset
By Manfred Werfel
When talking about newspaper printing we talk about single width and double width presses, CTP plate making an ink/water balance and the recently updated newspaper printing standard ISO 12647-3. All these technical terms are used in our communication as if all newspapers were printed with the same printing process and that is lithographic offset coldset – no drying of inks – on a typical multi-web newspaper offset rotary press.
Surely the vast majority of newspapers is printed with offset coldset lithographic presses, but if you take a closer look you will see that there is a wider range of choice.
In Bologna the recent Ifra Italia 2006 conference discussed for the first time in an open public environment the pros and cons of flexo newspaper printing versus offset newspaper printing. The audience listened to case study presentations from the United Kingdom and from Italy. The background for this discussion was the fact that in Italy – different to all other European countries – about 30% of the overall newspaper circulation is printed in flexo, which is a pretty strong number. In the recent three years the Italian newspaper industry invested in new presses all over the country in order to become “full colour” as they called the common project. The aim was to extend colour capacity in a way that all newspapers can print colour on all pages.
This project came to a conclusion in the meanwhile. During this period not only many new offset presses were installed but also quite a number of new flexo newspaper presses, all from the Italian press manufacturer Cerruti. The second largest Italian newspaper “La Repubblica” print on flexo presses only in every printing plant they utilise across the country.
Another remarkable flexo printer is Associated Newspapers in London, UK. They print the “Daily Mail” and “Metro” on there KBA flexo presses in London, which have been upgraded during the last two years for more colour. In addition Associated Newspapers plans a new remote site that should also use the flexo technology, in this case it will come from Cerruti.
Hybrid heatset/coldset printing
Wolfgang Fellner is a well-known magazine publisher in Austria who – together with his brother – brought a lot of new ideas and new concepts to the Austrian publishing market in the past already. Now he has new plans for a country-wide newspaper, or better “Daily Magazine”, that is supposed to start on 18 September this year.
The speciality of this new newspaper that will bear the title “Österreich” (“Austria”) will be that it will be a hybrid product printed on newly installed special presses that combine the heatset and the coldset process. Parts of this newspaper will be printed in heatset quality other parts will be in traditional coldset quality. This will offer interesting new marketing opportunities for ad sales. On top the new product will probably define a new market that is between the daily newspaper and a lifestyle magazine. We will see later this year what will happen.
School wisdom tells us that offset printing needs ink and water. But the new Cortina press from KBA does not need water at all. The press was first demonstrated at drupa 2000. Now it was first installed at a real and very typical daily German newspaper in Freiburg, Germany. This was the kind of installation newspaper printer wanted to see: How does the waterless technology work in a typical newspaper production environment? Well, it works since a couple of months now and prints 180 000 copies every night including more than 20 local editions that require a lot of change-over work, which is supported by the automatic plate change technology of the press.
In the meanwhile waterless newspaper printing technology was sold to the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland. It is no exotic exception any more in Europe.
As can be seen from these examples of non-traditional newspaper printing there is more than just one printing process that can do the job of newspaper printing. Yes, there are pros and cons for each technology of choice, but all should be considered if you make a decision for your printing future.
Page first published: 20.07.2006
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