Newspapers remain a sector where there is space for innovation, despite declining circulations around the world. This will be evident at the WAN-Ifra conference and exhibition in Berlin this week. While the conference sessions will focus on finding elusive revenues and business models in the Facebook and Google age, the exhibition area will include both technology to support the new way of publishing and technology to support the old way of working.
This means new printing plates from Agfa and Fujilm, new services from Koenig & Bauer and the first sight of the new Manroland Goss company. Fujifilm has a new plate coupled with a new platesetter. This is the Luxel VMax 600 a step up from the VMax 400 introduced last year. A trolley loading system and new violet diode laser systems. The company has not specified the throughput and resolutions for the platesetter, though the VMax 400 will produce 400 Pro V-N plates an hour.
The new platesetter is accompanied by the release of the new version of the Elara workflow. This includes automated ways to repair PDFs and Production planner 6, a way to plan editions based on press configurations without needing a separate interface to communicate with the press.
Agfa will introduce Avatar V-ZH, a new chemistry free violet sensitive plate for newspapers. It has been tested at Axel Springer’s site near Hamburg. For the first time, says Agfa, it is possible to run a chemistry-free plate without a preheat step.
This reduces the imaging time as well as cutting energy costs and the space requirement. The post washing image offers a high contrast with the plate able to work with Sublima screening and will work with coldset and UV inks for semi-commercial or commercial products from the same press. There is no need to change the platesatter, say the Avantra N, though there is a new clean out unit, the Attiro ZH designed to handle the plate with minimum gum consumption.
The focus for press suppliers is now less on new machines, but on maintaining those that are already in place. For the newly combined Manroland Goss Web Systems this means “comprehensive service and aftermarket offers and smart solution retrofits”. Koenig & Bauer can deliver digital presses capable of supporting newspaper production, but the focus will be on support and maintenance. “The need for press services has been rising continuously for years due to lower new press investments and the ageing machine population,” it says.
This manifests in digital services to connect the press to the manufacturer and the Mobile Console for track performance of pneumatic controls to show that the press is in operation or has stopped.
Koenig & Bauer will present ways to get increased value from an existing press installation to improve its performance and to deliver the services that customers want it says. And what they do not want to do is invest in new press technology at a time of uncertainty.