More stable print production, less paper waste, lower costs: Austrian newspaper printer OÖN Druckzentrum upgrades its press with a Baldwin LithoSpray World spray dampening system.
Identifying and exploiting cost-cutting opportunities remains a permanent challenge for newspaper printers everywhere. In the light of the current economic situation, anything that boosts efficiency and competitiveness merits urgent attention. It is precisely at times like these that a carefully targeted strategy for modernising production equipment can make excellent sense – not least from the point of view of cost savings. OÖN Druckzentrum, which has upgraded the spray dampening systems of its newspaper web offset press from Baldwin LithoSpray Optima to the newer and more powerful LithoSpray World, offers impressive confirmation. In return for a moderate investment, the Upper Austrian printer benefits in a multitude of ways.
A true printing 'centre'
OÖN Druckzentrum GmbH & Co. KG is the hub within the Wimmer media group where all the threads of its newspaper and coldset printing operations run together. The printer is based in Pasching, a suburb of Linz, where it was established on a greenfield site in 2002/2003. Production is organised in three shifts, 24 hours a day six days a week from Sunday afternoon to Saturday afternoon.
All printing takes place on a 64-page KBA Commander web press with four 9-cylinder satellite towers, four splicers/pasters and two folders. With a web width of 1,200 mm and a cylinder circumference of 900 mm, this machine is designed for production in the slightly smaller Berlin format. The press, which boasts up to 45,000 cylinder revolutions an hour, had been equipped with a Baldwin LithoSpray Optima system since it was first acquired. Baldwin technology is also used to clean blankets. Each of the 16 Baldwin ProTech NP cleaning units installed in the press cleans two superimposed blankets simultaneously, with a large brush according to the one-for-two principle.
OÖN Druckzentrum achieves about 80% of its sales with the Wimmer media group's publishing products and the remaining 20% with contracts (weekly and monthly newspapers, newspaper inserts, etc.). The most important titles in the company's portfolio are the parent publishing house's daily Oberösterreichische Nachrichten, which is printed six days a week with a circulation of 135,000 or (at weekends) 160,000, and Tips.
The latter is Upper Austria's most widely read weekly with a total circulation of 700,000 copies. All in all, the web press is responsible for an annual output of some 210 million newspapers. In addition, 190 million supplements a year are inserted in the mailroom. Managing director Friedrich Falkner is understandably proud of these figures. At the same time, he makes no secret of the fact that the international financial crisis and recession are leaving their mark on his business. He anticipates a 7% downturn in production this year.
The ideal time – both technically and commercially speaking – to modernise the spray dampening technology
Despite this, the company resolved to upgrade its spray dampening systems to Baldwin LithoSpray World. „Our press is now six years old and we are planning on using it for another ten," says Friedrich Falkner. „The spray bars had become rather worn after such a long time. The dampening process was becoming less stable, and this deterioration was also affecting levels of paper waste. What's more, maintenance also increased. The choice was either to completely overhaul the system or to replace the 32 existing spray bars. After an ROI calculation, we opted for the second alternative, namely to change over to LithoSpray World."
OÖN Druckzentrum's budget plan meant the project had to be undertaken in three phases. The first step involved a test installation on one of the towers in February 2009. The upgrade was completed by a Baldwin engineer in a single day. The work basically entailed replacing eight spray bars, because LithoSpray World was compatible not only with the existing controls but also with the old system's tubes, hoses and wiring.
„After updating the first tower, we observed a dramatic improvement, so the decision to push ahead with the upgrade was quickly taken." All work was carried out on the second tower by the printer's own engineers, who had been instructed by the Baldwin specialists during the first installation. In July 2009 the printer's engineers upgraded the remaining two towers.
Upgrade makes a positive impact
The LithoSpray World's superior valves result in a more uniform flow of dampening solution and optimised spray pattern as well as long-term stability. The spray bar of every Baldwin LithoSpray World spray dampening system is fitted with eight nozzles – two for each plate. The distributors overlap slightly at the edges, so that the first roller in each dampening system receives a constant supply of fountain solution.
The water used at OÖN Druckzentrum contains between 2 and 2.5% Hydrofix additive and is set to a temperature of approximately 12 degrees Celsius. Trouble-free operation is guaranteed throughout the press run by Baldwin's Constant C technology, which eliminates clogging due to paper dust, ink mist or other debris.
„We see this modernisation of our spray dampening systems as a way to protect the existing investment in our press," says Mr Falkner. "Thanks to the superior and more stable dampening quality and the greater reliability of the new spray bars, our overall paper waste rate has been reduced by 0.3% to well under 3%. This may not sound like much but when you consider the size of our production volume, the actual cost saving is tremendous."
Furthermore, the new, more efficient dampening facilitated by Baldwin's LithoSpray World has created a better starting point for the company's transition from 100 lpi screen to 120 lpi, which will enable advertising and contract customers to benefit from higher-quality colour images in coldset web offset. More constant and more finely controllable dampening is bound to be an advantage.