Hamburg-Ahrensburg offset printing company, member of Axel Springer AG, presents COLORMAN with inkjet printing
Coldset newspapers with inkjet imprint: this technology was successfully implemented this spring for the "Cash Million" lottery of the German daily newspaper BILD. In late September 2012, around 90 experts visited Axel Springer in Ahrensburg, Germany, where they won their own "lottery": the chance to see an inkjet COLORMAN live in production.
The world's first pilot installation is at the Ahrensburg printing company: Axel Springer equipped one of its six COLORMAN rotary presses with an inkjet imprint system from Kodak for variable data printing. The combination of conventional coldset web offset and high-speed inkjet printing enables the efficient imprinting of variable data in static content such as marketing ads. Individualized winning numbers, variable QR codes, changing graphics or text information can all be inserted, just to mention a few possibilities. Head of Production Management, Axel Springer AG, Offset Printing Plant Hamburg-Ahrensburg, has identified two main applications that can be achieved with the inkjet solution for his publishing customers. First, lotteries with individualized imprint solutions, which motivate readers in terms of daily newspaper loyalty and, second, the marketing of unique ads with variable content.
Dynamic high-tech combination
Dr. Gregor Enke, Head of Automation at manroland web systems, views the Ahrensburg printing company as just the right partner for the first inkjet installation: "Axel Springer is truly a stroke of luck for our joint development work – the company is technologically flexible, one the one hand, and also driven by ambitious application and marketing visions." The inkjet imprint system Prosper S30 from Kodak with a working width of 105.6 millimeters and 600x200 dpi print resolution was installed as auxiliary equipment in the superstructure of the COLORMAN. This allows the inkjet system to print at full speed on different webs depending on the web lead. With a production speed of 15 meters per second, variable information can be imprinted with water-based pigment inks on both the inner and outer pages of newspapers.
Whether fully automated plate logistics, Inline Control systems, or the inkjet imprint system on the COLORMAN in Ahrensburg: manroland web systems always stands for the complete integration of components and functions in its operating concepts. "Integrated inkjet is possible thanks to the implementation of two modules," Dr. Enke explains. "The automation module lays the foundations for the electronics and software, and the web lead module ensures the adjustment of the web lead."
Inkjet software from manroland web systems is at the core of the automation. It is integrated in the new operating concept and bundles the requirements and commands of key components such as the control console with multi-touchscreen, the central encoder for speed, and the SmartCam mark reader. The inkjet software transmits the resulting control commands to the imprint system from Kodak. The SmartCam controls parameters such as the printing speed and imprint position. The web lead module enables the structural, mechanical, and technical adjustment of the web lead. There are plans to expand this module, as well as the webbing-up device; mechanical components such as a crossbar, inkjet head, and SmartCam will also be installed. Service for the system comprises technical consulting, installation, and initial startup.
Successful creative ad ideas
In Ahrensburg, the COLORMAN with inkjet module printed an eight-page special newspaper for the visitors. In addition to variable images, the newspaper contained ticket numbers for a lottery. During the year, Axel Springer had already successfully run its first inkjet-supported campaigns, such as "Cash Million". Starting April 3, 2012, and continuing over six weeks, readers of the BILD could win prize money totalling 1 million euros and a VW Tiguan. Instead of using supplements, the individual game tickets, which were created for a special Hamburg edition, were imprinted using the inkjet system. Readers compared them with the daily winning numbers and collected the tickets.