Belgium’s Coldset Printing Partners updates press & mailroom operations

Adds waterless offset technology to its operations

CPP’s press control room

Czech Republic-based Toray Graphics, a manufacturer of waterless offset plate technologies, reported that the Belgian printing company Coldset Printing Partners (CPP) has invested EUR 35 million to update its press and mailroom capabilities.

This investment, required to improve quality and productivity, also had sustainability in its sights. The company converted a part of its operations to waterless offset printing by adding the Koenig & Bauer Cortina printing press in conjunction with Toray IMPRIMA waterless offset printing plates.

“Part of that initiative was to add the waterless offset technology to our operations” says CEO of CPP, Paul Huybrechts. “We now have a press line consisting of 11 towers and five folders. That includes four new Koenig & Bauer Cortina waterless towers with two folders, and seven towers of the existing Koenig & Bauer Commander conventional coldset web press with three folders.”

While this change meant a reduction of the maximum pagination for most of the newspapers from 96 to 64 pages, there is still one folder capable of handling 96 pages if needed. “The result of this reconfiguration,” Huybrechts adds, “is a total capacity increase of 25%, even with the Brussels closure.”

Another goal was to increase the print quality and enable the production of commercial work without the need to add heatset. That was the reason for adding the Cortina towers using Toray IMPRIMA waterless offset plates. “Including a varnishing unit and using an appropriate white paper quality allows you to achieve a top-quality product which is really comparable to heatset,” Huybrechts notes. “This is important because we believe that for the future of this site, we need to have a good answer for a certain quality level. It also gives us the opportunity to print magazines that are currently printed in heatset. In fact, this is already beginning to happen.” The plant is producing about 500,000 newspapers per night and about 40 million copies a month in total, about 30% of which is third-party work.

On the sustainability front, Huybrechts points out that the Cortina towers do not use solvents or water, adding, “But even more important is that we have a very low start-up and running waste. It takes around 30% longer to make-ready the Commander than the Cortina, and the start-up waste can be double or even more. Waste on the Cortina can be as low as 80 copies of white paper and 40 printed copies.”

The prepress department is also benefiting from these changes with the Heights waterless plate processors used to process the IMPRIMA waterless plates. Huybrechts states, “The Toray plates are non-ablative, meaning less cleaning of the equipment is required.”

Huybrechts admits that ink and plates can be more costly with waterless offset printing. Ink cost increases due both to the actual cost of ink and the ability to achieve higher ink coverage. “However,” he says, “that is only one piece of the puzzle. You always have to look at the complete picture. For instance, we can charge more since we can achieve a quality very close to heatset without having to use a dryer, which is not only expensive to run but also has high CO2 emissions and other sustainability issues. Plus, the energy consumption of the Cortina is lower than that of the Commander, with as much as 5% less energy use. And the Cortina is so easy to use, that even I can run it!”

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

Subscribe Now


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here