Volksfreund Trier opts for Waterless Printing
Completely new print products now possible with KBA Cortina web offset press and Toray plates
The company that prints Trier-based newspaper Der Trierische Volksfreund has improved print quality and increased its production capacity with a KBA Cortina web offset press specially equipped for newspaper and semi-commercial printing. Its waterless press has been in use since May 2014. "Our press was 23 years old," says Thomas Marx, managing director of the Trierischer Volksfreund media house. "We needed to invest in new capabilities." The company has invested about €10 million in its newspaper production capabilities, including partnering with Ferag to upgrade its post-processing area. Its state-of-the-art printing and processing facility will serve the company well for years to come.
Commitment to print
"The Trierische Volksfreund is still our core offering, but we also want to appeal to new target groups with innovative products," says Marx. "With the Cortina, we can print the daily newspaper as well as customer orders in different formats and with different paper qualities. This gives us considerably more scope," adds Franz-Josef Hirsch, managing director of DHVS – Druckhaus und Verlagsservice GmbH, which prints the newspaper.
New printed material is the order of the day
"We already have an established presence in the region with a strong Internet presence, apps and other digital services. Now we want to link the digital and print worlds to provide new opportunities for our readers, our partners and our company," says Hirsch. "We want to develop products that haven't been possible before now. The aim is not to replace existing printed materials, but to innovate."
With this in mind, a saddle stitcher will soon be installed to give added post-press flexibility in semi-commercial production. The Cortina will then be able to produce items like glossy printed material with finished covers in a quality not previously achievable. This is thanks to the Cortina's excellent printing technology and the high resolution of the Toray plates, which can deliver resolutions of up to 70 lines per centimeter.
In spite of the ambitious goals, production remains uncomplicated. This is largely due to the fact that there is a fairly high degree of automation in prepress and on the Cortina. "But with a configuration like the one in Trier, there is no need to automate every single thing," Hirsch points out. "One plate line, one printing machine, one folder unit, one post-processing area."
The company‘s Kodak CtP system for waterless offset printing produces almost 400 Toray plates per hour to print the 12 regional editions of the newspaper. The nightly run of about 100,000 copies is processed by three printers in about four hours – a good two hours less than previously and in a more environmentally friendly manner.
Ecology and economics
"Our choice wasn't driven by environmental considerations. But people are increasingly aware of environmental issues, and we feel that waterless technology has us moving in the right direction," Hirsch comments. The sustainability of the production process comes both the elimination of water consumption and reduction in waste. "When starting the press for a new run, the target maximum make ready waste is 100 copies. For a restart, the target waste is less than 50 copies."
Although Hirsch has heard the arguments about the risk associated with working with just one plate supplier, he has no qualms. There are now 9 Cortina installations throughout Germany and 20 around the world. Plus Toray’s new European manufacturing plant adds a level of comfort, with more capacity and less shipping time. While some might argue that waterless plates are more expensive than conventional plates, he counters, "We don't invest without carrying out an ROI analysis that includes plates, inks and blankets. Ultimately, we opted for the waterless printing package due to the wealth of possibilities it offers. We believe this was the best choice for our business and our customers."
The fact that the Cortina can handle more than 10 paper grades from 36 gsm to 120 gsm with very different whiteness levels gives free rein to the imagination. It also offers flexibility in terms of format, handling both traditional newspaper formats and trimmed A4 material without punched holes but with binding and varnish.
The future is bright for Trierischer Volksfreund and DHVS – Druckhaus und Verlagsservice GmbH. "We are excited about the new opportunities that KBA and Toray are enabling for us,“ concludes Hirsch.