Waterless newspaper printing on the Rhine
On 19 and 20 September representatives of European and Dubai newspaper publishing houses where environmentally-friendly KBA Cortina waterless web offset presses are installed attended the eighth Cortina user workshop at Rheinisch Bergische Druckerei (RBD) in Düsseldorf.
A dampener-free Cortina has been printing the Rheinische Post and other products in an above-average quality here for the past two years. In 2005 the workshop was attended by a mere six participants; this time some 70 representatives of newspaper houses and their suppliers from nine countries discussed their experiences and strategies regarding waterless newspaper printing, the substrates used, innovations in press and process technology, and new options such as inline coating to meet the challenges of producing coldset products in a semi-commercial quality. In newspaper production this capability is only possible with the waterless process. Representatives of Al Nisr Publishing in Dubai took part in the workshop for the first time. A few months ago a large Cortina with four hot-air dryers went live at a production plant in the middle of the desert printing the prominent English-language title, the Gulf News, and other titles without consuming water, which in this region is in short supply and therefore valuable.
RBD managing director Matthias Tietz, a keen advocate of the Cortina concept for enhancing quality, ecology and economy in cutting-edge newspaper and commercial production, welcomed the participants and gave a brief profile of the publishing house. Explaining once again his decision in favour of the Cortina, he said: "We wanted two commercial presses that could also print newspapers." The Düsseldorf-based company has proved that the KBA Cortina is capable of printing high-quality newspapers, supplements, freesheets and special publications on different types of stock even without an energy-intensive dryer. Plant manager Jens Koudmani gave examples when outlining the technology used.
Along with status reports by 18 Cortina users from the Benelux states, Germany, France, Scandinavia, Switzerland and Dubai, ink, paper, blanket and plate manufacturers showcased the latest innovations in consumables for waterless newspaper printing. Alongside the current plate vendor, Toray, representatives of US plate manufacturer Presstek also took part in the workshop, presenting a new waterless plate specially designed for high-performance web printing and is now being extensively tested in a pressroom environment. The workshop's agenda included discussions on joint projects, economic issues and how to market waterless printing. An evening spent at a local brewery, Uerige Obergaerige Hausbrauerei, helped to strengthen the international team spirit still further.