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KBA sparks greener print production in sheetfed and web

Friday, March 05, 2010

Press release from the issuing company

German print enterprise Heider Druck in Bergisch Gladbach makes no secret of its driving passion, and this is reflected in its logo, "Ecological printing". The owners have been vigorously greening up their production chain since the turn of the millennium. New technology promoting this goal has broadened their options for conserving natural resources while at the same time enhancing efficiency and profitability.

Heider Druck is the printing arm of Joh. Heider Verlag, a publishing house which was established in 1889 and brought out a daily newspaper for Bergisch Gladbach and the surrounding region the following year. Despite the fact that this was sold off to the Kölnische Rundschau in 1952, among locals the name Heider is still synonymous with newspapers. Now a publishing, printing and media enterprise, Heider has long since expanded its web-based portfolio to include freesheets, trade and federation publications, magazines, supplements and telephone directories etc. It has also moved into sheetfed with brochures, magazines, books, calendars and many other commercial products. The publishing house's media activities primarily focus on ad acquisition for print customers. Heider sees itself as a service provider to a customer base embracing publishers, federations and advertising agencies.

Cutting energy consumption with coldset
The two KBA newspaper presses which are currently in the press hall – a two-tower Journal installed in 2002 and a Colora tower added four years later – are used to print freesheets. Today Heider can print coldset copies with a maximum of 64 pages in the Berliner format or 48 pages in full colour. The presses were the first step towards enhancing energy efficiency, since their energy consumption is relatively modest compared to heatset: in fact when printing a 48-page product in the Berliner format they consume as much as 85 per cent less energy per operating hour. Not unnaturally, coldset production imposes a restriction on the range of stock that can be used because only uncoated and recycled paper is suitable. However, this is in keeping with Heider Druck's environmental goals and led to the second step on the road to green print production: FSC and PEFC accreditation to support sustainable forest management.

Next step: greening-up sheetfed
The next step the company took towards reducing its carbon footprint was to fire up a new Rapida sheetfed offset press in May 2009. Once again the press of choice was a KBA, not least because in 2000 the Rapidas were the first offset litho presses worldwide to be awarded the German Industrial Safety Council's "emission tested" environmental certificate. The 18,000sph Rapida 106 five-colour coater press at Heider has run alcohol-free right from the start. The risk that operators might add IPA to the fount solution in a moment's aberration was nipped in the bud by the simple expedient of removing all alcohol measuring and monitoring kit. Only ecologically approved inks based on vegetable oils are run on the press. The cloth-based washing system, which dramatically cuts the consumption of washing agent compared to a brush-based system, is a further contribution towards greener production – as is the LogoTronic networking software for press preset. Hans-Martin Heider, one of the fourth-generation family members heading the company, is delighted to report that "As a result, a lot of the products we print are of saleable quality from the very first sheet."

Closed-loop inline colour control
To help minimise waste the press incorporates a QualiTronic colour control system that scans every sheet and automatically adjusts colour density values accordingly. The press is also linked to a DensiTronic Professional system that measures colorimetric values in the measuring strips or directly in the printed image, and carries out the relevant adjustments. This continuous, integrated quality control package enabled the company to achieved PSO accreditation in summer 2009.

The economic impact of the new Rapida 106 became apparent within a few weeks of its production start. The average print output across the board (short and long runs) climbed well above the 10,000sph mark. Whenever possible the Rapida 106 is run at its maximum speed of 18,000sph. Most of the short- and medium-run work is scheduled on this press in order to make the most of its high-speed job changes. Its advanced level of automation, which encompasses plate changing, suction-ring positioning, height-adjustable nonstop rollers and sidelay-free SIS infeed, has boosted output by almost 40 per cent compared to its predecessors.

Sustainability does not preclude finishing
The Rapida 106 offers a raft of additional benefits over the company's previous presses, which were two-and four-colour B1 (41in) and B2 (29in) models. For example, it is possible to apply a special colour in the fifth printing unit and a standard aqueous coating in the coater, or a matt paste in the fifth unit followed by a matt/gloss aqueous coating to create a drip-off effect. So Heider Druck's ecological bent certainly doesn't preclude value-added finishing options. In fact the company is keen to move upmarket, away from high-volume, low-margin products. Wherever possible it seeks to provide premium-quality products expressly tailored to customers' needs. This goal dictates the processes within the company: the broad range of services offered encompasses product design, image processing, editing, mailing, proofreading, addressing, numbering (eg for prize draws in freesheets), inserting and attaching (eg packets of seeds in or on direct mail etc).

Farsighted investment
Heider Verlag is headed by Hans Heider senior and his third son, Roberto. Their portfolio encompasses publications on business and social politics, books of regional interest and pictorial volumes. Alongside ad acquisition the media services the company also provides for its print customers include ad management.

At present Heider has almost 6,000m² (65,000ft²) of production space at its disposal. Since a plot of land acquired by Hans Heider senior's father is more than three times as big, there is ample room for healthy growth. "We are a dynamic enterprise with ambitious plans for the future, so it's good to have plenty of reserves for future expansion," declares Roberto Heider. The publishing house and printing plant employ a total of 90 permanent staff, and there are also part-timers and temps. Print production normally runs in two shifts, though this is increased to three whenever there is a surge in incoming orders.




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