27 May 2016 Prepress

Möller's lands single plate choice with Kodak's Electra Max

The German printer runs web and sheetfed presses at a site near Berlin and has opted to consolidate plate production on Kodak's Electra Max thermal plate..

When Möller Druck & Verlag installed a new 16pp Manroland Rotoman last summer, it took the opportunity to look across its press area, and decided to change plate production at the same time. It saw that in the future one plate, Electra Max, Kodak's newest, would meet all its requirements.

The company has been in the Berlin area for much its 120-year history and today employs 150 at a site in Ahrensfelde. These people are engaged in publishing and print management as well as printing. The publishing side creates its own outdoor magazines and designs catalogues on behalf of customers. These result in 130 weekly, monthly or quarterly magazines combining its own publications and those for outside customers. Catalogues and other commercial work sits on top of this.

Runs can range from 500 copies or fewer to more than 320,000 and 720,000 copies for the larger runs. It can produce one off products using Canon cutsheet digital presses, and has a four-colour Manroland Lithoman IV 32pp web press as well as the five-unit Rotoman and a five-unit Roland 705 UV for covers and other work.

With the arrival of the 16pp machine, Möller started to look at the plate options available able to cope with the range of products and print runs it has to handle. This research pointed to Kodak’s Electra Max thermal plate and Möller become of the first in the world to adopt the new non bake, low chemistry plate in July, ahead of the formal launch in September,

Möller found that the Electra can cope with the demands of long run heatset web offset printing and with the harsh UV environment on the sheetfed press.

“In the old days we worked with two different plate types," says prepress manager Michael Schuhmann. "We wanted to get away from this practice and switch to using only one plate and one supplier, to enable us to achieve a uniform standard and the greatest possible reliability,”

“We were looking for a non preheat plate that combines optimal resolution with excellent durability without baking. That’s how we hit on the Electra Max, which is equally well suited for industrial commercial web offset and sheetfed offset. Our printers got to grips with the new plate right away and we only needed a short learning curve before everything worked perfectly. The support we received from Kodak when we first changed over was also outstanding.”

Kodak bills the plate as a no compromise plate coping with short and long runs, a tonal range from 1-99% and the ability to resolve a 10 micron spot from the Kodak Magnus VLF platesetters that are used. This is equivalent to 450lpi, although Shuhmann says Möller runs to 150lpi or 175lpi screens. More important to the printer was the consistency across the presses as it is certified to the PSO implementation of ISO 12647-2. It means a faster start up and less waste in production.

The two platesetters can deliver 20 16pp to view plates for the Lithoman. They are controlled through a Prinergy workflow and include multi-cassette units for automated feed of the different plate formats. Möller will consume an average of 5,300 plates a month, around 65% for the web presses.

The plates also fit with the company’s environmental ethos: the Electra Max cuts consumption of processing chemistries so that consumption of developer and replenisher are both extremely low and have extended life cycles.

“The cleaning cycle for our plate processors is also much longer. Whereas they used to have to be cleaned every two or three weeks, since switching to the Electra Max plate, once every six or eight weeks is sufficient. Even then, we no longer have to scrub the rollers and other parts really hard,” Schuhmann says. “That all adds up to more eco friendly platemaking with lower costs for chemistry and disposal.”

The company has noted significant improvements he continues. “Our processes are more stable and here in prepress we can now get by with less maintenance. It was definitely a worthwhile switch,” he says.

The 16pp Rotoman is a five-unit 620mm cut off press with a sophisticated folder design to deliver a wide range of product types: altar piece designs, barn doors, double parallel and various styles of fold in or fold out features. The idea is to offer a broader range of printed marketing products to customers.

Its Muller Martini and Kolbus finishing lines can already insert solid objects like CDs as well as combining printed products into single packages for customers as mail pieces through its complete service and fulfilment arm.

The mainstay for Möller remains commercial litho print, catalogues for the travel industry, for industrial customers and magazines for the great outdoors. Many of these focus on fishing for sport. With Electra Max, Möller has landed itself a fine catch.