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Panpa Bulletin : May 2010
14 | The PANPA Bulletin | MAY 2010 www.panpa.org.au ENVIRONMENTAL issues and revelations about the quality of waterless printing dominated this year's SWUG printer conference. The Single Width Users Group (SWUG) conference drew a crowd of over 250 delegates and local speakers from both printers and vendors during the day, and social events in the evening. Green-themed speakers included Phillip Lawrence of Ecostrategy (see page 11), Lillias Bovell of the Publishers National Environment Bureau (PNEB), Greg Barrett of Norske Skog, and consultants Bruce Treharne and Steven Molino of Molino Stewart's Environmental and Natural Hazards. Belgium-based Wim Maes made the most significant impact with a presentation on waterless printing. Mr Maes is the technical director of EcoPrint Centre, a waterless print site, which is the main print facility for the largest publisher of newspapers in Belgium. The EcoPrint Centre prints 500,000 newspapers for 25 editions every night. Mr Maes explained that waterless printing was a new form of offset printing, which eliminated the use of water or dampening systems used in conventional printing. Where conventional lithographic printing used a chemical process that relied on isopropyl alcohol or substitutes, waterless printing was a mechanical process, he said. The system worked through the use of silicone rubber coated printing plates, specially formulated inks, as well as a temperature-control system. Waterless printing used temperature for transferring ink to substrate and the process eliminated the use of fountain solution. "When printing without water, you have fewer problems. Ink and water are not best friends, so problems with misting are eliminated, and because of this we are also capable of higher automation on the press," he said. Fitting with the environmental theme of the SWUG conference, waterless printing also ticks the green box. Mr Maes' printing company, EcoPrint, won the European EcoTech award in 2007 for innovations in environmental technology, and has also been printing the Greens Party newsletter because of the environmental benefits of printing without water. Mr Maes was convinced that it was only a matter of time before waterless printing took off globally. "If you look to Europe, in the last three years a lot of big printers, such as regional printers in Germany, switched to the waterless," Mr Maes said. "Le Figaro in Paris, one of the main titles in France, jumped to waterless in last September. In Dubai, Gulf News will be printing on a waterless press by July." SWUG President, and CEO of Print and Logistics at Fairfax Media, Bob Lockley, believed waterless printing would be adopted by his company. "Based on what we've seen at SWUG, it's is the way of the future, it's got to be done. I didn't realise that it was so good and it was probably remiss of us not to have looked earlier," Mr Lockley said. However, as most presses in the region are quite new or refurbished, it might be a while before it was economically viable for waterless print presses to be installed, he said. The opportunity for a waterless press to be installed in New Zealand was much higher than in Australia. He added that waterless print presses, if and when they took off in the region, might also provide an opportunity to rationalise print sites. "The opportunity is there with the waterless. If you take the example at Chullora (in Sydney), that would be the ideal situation to rationalise the two sites (Fairfax and News Limited). "Sharing resources is in our view, smarter, provided you can work with the partner in a joint venture, particularly when you have two publications trying to beat each other to the street. They're sharing overseas, they're sharing everything - we should do the same," Mr Lockley said. Innovation and inspiration were also delivered with updates from companies such as Kodak, Manroland and Goss, many of whom talked about new environmental technologies. Tim Roberts and Steve Terry, of LithoTech International, gave a presentation on Fountain Solution Filtration Units, which saves water usage. They said that using their filtration system would mean that weekly water dumping would be reduced to once every two months. In an interview with The Bulletin, Robert Mollee, Business Manager pre-press solutions for Kodak Australia said: "When you talk about the environment, the biggest thing that we want to take out of the print environment is definitely chemistry. "You'll find where the industry is taking the biggest leaps at the moment is in the introduction of chemical-free or process-less plate systems." Mr Mollee noted that the move towards digital printing could provide a more environmentally sustainable way of printing for remote area newspapers. "At the moment digital printing is not going to take-over what we are currently doing offset, but it's a great way to be more sustainable in more remote areas," he said. "It gives the customer the flexibility to run a smaller number of copies of several titles and distribute them into the regional areas." Mr Mollee said he had noticed that offset printers had been wary of digital printing in light of the change in technology. "Larger companies are seriously looking at it," he continued, "because in order to evolve and make sure that print is still going to be around, and still have newspapers in those remote areas, they will be looking at these opportunities. "We are starting to see more and more people taking the plunge and putting installations in on a worldwide basis." The Asia-Pacific vice-president of Goss International, Peter Kirwan, gave an overview of the new sales his company had made in the region in the past 12 months. Although few new presses in Australia and New Zealand had been sold by Goss, there was a long list of deals in China, Indonesia and Malaysia. "Even through the doom and gloom of last year, we still shipped out more than 1,000 Goss community and Magnum printing units," he said. "It's a pretty good indicator that our industry is alive and well." Waterless press the next green change SWUG President, Bob Lockely: 'Based on what we've seen at SWUG, waterless printing is the way of the future' ebecca Leaver NPA SWUG WINNERS Best Overall Print Quality: North Richmond, Hawkesbury Gazette. Best Four Colour Newspaper: North Richmond, Illawarra Mercury Best Coldest Commercial Publication: NZ Aviation, Horton Media NZ (Goss Community) SWUG Apprentice of the Year 2010: Ricky Lillywhite, APN Print Rockhampton SWUG 2010 Leadership Scholarship: Sean Tait, Rural Press Printing North Richmond Innovation promises huge cost savings INDUSTRY transformation is a funny business. It often comes at the most inconvenient of times -- recession, increased competition and technology or social disruption. The first response of management is to pull back and assess. If revenues are getting carved up, then non-essential spending ends overnight. Managers quickly start seeking efficien- cies that they should have been on top of before the disruption. The wallet comes out slowly for the right investment. Purchases are made in IT, mostly software, to create those once elusive effi- ciencies and perhaps provide an opportunity to reduce staffing levels. In a sense, this is where the global news- paper industry is positioned right now. Those efficiency drives are continuing with publish- ers seeking outsourcing dealings, creating hubs for editing and pre-press production, and reducing the number of print centres while reinvesting in those that remain to produce back-to-back colour to attract ad- ditional advertising. It's a tricky balancing act that is different for every business, never mind an entire industry. If this recalibration is executed effectively, and economic disruption is not terminal, most decent-sized publishers will soon start to again look at bigger projects to deliver even greater cost efficiencies. Right now, this is where Goss Interna- tional's Triliner press is positioned, offering a magnitude of cost-saving that it will be hard to ignore in the medium to long-term. Goss's newspaper and commercial print sales manager, Matt Hancock, says Triliner's innovative compact format, developed last year, could save a publisher up to 33 percent on newsprint costs. While this sounds irresistible, the changes required to make it happen are substantial and involve a resizing and reformatting of the newspaper, either as a thinner broad- sheet or a shorter tabloid. In developing the Triliner technology, Goss technicians set themselves some clear objectives. The press conversion to Triliner had to cost far less than buying a new press, or even a used press capable of only a single compact format. They wanted to ensure clients' existing capabilities and format of their presses could be retained with tab and quarterfold abili- ties for the existing cut-off. Also, switching between the new formats had to be a quick process for the printers. To convert a press, the main component change is the plate cylinders. These are re- placed, or retrofitted, with cylinders that have a single lock-up to carry 'full-around' plates -- either one- or two pages wide, ac- cording to the client's preferences. Other changes might need to be made to the blanket cylinders to ensure the blanket lock-up does not come halfway down a page, although this is rarely an issue. A new, lower folding couple needs to be added for the production of either symmetri- cal or asymmetrical folds, as specified at the time of the order. The asymmetrical choice maintains the title's above-the-fold dimensions, and its ability to carry inserts, as well as its attrac- tiveness on the newsstand. Goss says this configuration can save 33 percent of paper costs -- a figure that can rise to 50 percent when running a 'triple' collect with additional pages. Broadsheet and compact formats continue to be available on the press with minimum changeover, using one-around plates, im- aged with two or three plates (see diagram). Goss says a "small investment" in a pre- press upgrade is more than offset by the in- creased flexibility and productivity that can result from earlier finishing times, increased time for deliveries and more flexible work schedules. Alternatively, says Goss, a printer would have more press time for commercial work and low-volume jobs. Report and graphics from WEB OFFSET magazine from Goss International; addi- tional writing, PANPA. 21" (533.4mm) 21" (533.4mm) 14" (355.6mm) 14" (355.6mm) 14" (355.6mm) Broadsheet format New TrilinerTM compact format Potential savings of 33 per cent on paper costs . . . the Triliner compact format How the Triliner newspapers would look GOING GREEN