Digital inkjet coming to newspapers

Leading newspaper press manufacturer manroland is teaming up with Kodak to launch hybrid offset and digital print systems, with manroland Web Systems now the first worldwide authorised reseller of Kodak’s Prosper inkjet heads to the newspaper industry.

Under a deal just inked manroland web systems is becoming the leading reseller and OEM partner for Kodak Stream Inkjet technology, notably Prosper S20 and S30 inkjet heads in its webfed press systems.

Variable data printing for Bild

Variable data printing for Axel Springer’s Bild newspaper

In Australia major manroland house Fairfax has already stated its intention to investigate hybrid presses, as they offer publishers new opportunities to develop revenue.

The deal comes just two weeks after Heidelberg announced its partnership with Fujifilm to develop sheetfed inkjet printing systems, including a B1 press, and marks the full embrace of digital solutions by offset manufacturers. Manroland has no plans yet for other hybrid presses, but they are certain to be on the boardroom agenda.

The Kodak printheads deliver variable inkjet imprints for advertising and news in newspaper production. The early prominent users of this technology are giant German publishing house Axel Springer and Newsprinters in the UK.

In the Axel Springer printing houses, inkjet print heads have been integrated into the production workflow. Axel Springer is using its setup for codes and gaming applications. The printed inkjet code (day pass) is an important part of the paid content model for the Bild newspaper and creates a bridge between print and web editions. UK company Newsprinters is currently using the system to produce codes for its Sun+ subscriber benefits package.

Dieter Betzmeier

Dieter Betzmeier, vice president at manroland web systems

The partnership between manroland web systems and Kodak is now set in stone with a contract. The Augsburg company is a direct reseller of the Kodak Prosper S20 and S30 inkjet imprint systems. With the integration of print heads, variable data can be imprinted during the newspaper production, including lottery numbers, up-to-the-minute news, QR codes and local and personalised advertising.

The inkjet integration applies to both new and existing manroland presses, which can be retrofitted. Dieter Betzmeier, vice president at manroland web systems, explains the expanded service: “Print customers around the world can obtain the print head and overall project management for the Integrated Inkjet from us. We have already successfully proven that we can upgrade webfed printing systems from all major manufacturers with an inkjet function.”

The increased freedom for automation design provides added value for the customer. “Printers select the automation level that suits their needs, from a simple integration through to full automation where the inkjet module is completely integrated into the press control,” says Betzmeier. In this set-up, with a continuous workflow from prepress through to the print product, the inkjet application creates no additional work for the operator. Individual customer solutions are therefore as much a part of the service as retrofitting additional automation features.

Eric Owen, vice president sales and business development at Kodak Digital Printing & Enterprise

Eric Owen, vice president sales and business development at Kodak Digital Printing & Enterprise

Manroland web systems offers technical consultation, installation and start-up as part of its global inkjet service. Integrated Inkjet, an inhouse development, is achieved via two modules, for automation and web lead. The automation module covers the control connection to the press, fully automatic imprint position control, as well as an overall system operating concept with inkjet software. The web lead module enables the structural, mechanical, and technical adjustment of the web lead.

Kodak knows its Stream Inkjet technology is in good hands with manroland web systems. “We appreciate the technological and engineering experience that manroland web systems brings to the partnership. They understand how to correctly install printing heads, control micro-movements, and make fine adjustments. This results in an accurately positioned print head and highly precise prints,” explains Eric Owen, vice president sales and business development at Kodak Digital Printing & Enterprise.




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