With 46 per cent of all contracts for new web presses in the global newspaper industry in 2011 and 2012, Koenig & Bauer (KBA) is number one worldwide.
However, even the inventor of the cylinder printing press has had to adjust its capacity for the newspaper sector to meet significantly lower demand caused by media shifts. Compared to the time prior to the financial crisis in 2008, the annual investment volume in newspaper press technology has shrunk by more than 60%. Growth can only now be seen in populous threshold countries such as India and China, in Asia, the Middle East, peripheral regions of Europe as well as in parts of Africa and Latin America. KBA CEO and president Claus Bolza-Schünemann pointed this out in his presentation “The printed newspaper in a shifting media world” at the World Publishing Expo (WPE) in Frankfurt am Main.
More possibilities in a smaller market
Despite a drop in investment activities in the industry, KBA continually launches new technology and innovative processes into the market to strengthen the printed newspaper’s financial stability as a brand carrier for additional online activities, to make it more attractive to readers and advertisers and to open up new sales opportunities to media enterprises for printing extraordinary supplements and semi-commercial products. Examples of this are the introduction of automated plate changes, waterless offset printing, user-friendly compact design as well as new solutions for finishing newspapers inline. In the meantime other manufacturers are following the trends initiated by KBA.
Creativity wins over readers and advertisers
Modern newspapers with less text, striking images and graphics are becoming more and more like magazines, which demand a high print quality. In addition to this, the newspaper industry is looking for new, eye-catching advertising formats for brand owners and trade companies. Therefore KBA delivers a high number of newspaper presses with optional modules for stitching, gluing, half covers, four-page centre spreads plus Zip’n’Buy perforation, hot-air dryers including quarterfold capabilities for semi-commercials and hybrid production in coldset/heatset. Bolza-Schünemann says: “Print can secure additional brand advertising with creativity.” He showed a supplement from the Main-Post in Würzburg printed on a Commander CT as an example. The so-called “Give me 5” ad insert creates five different ads when opened in the correct way by creative folding, gluing and perforation of three centre spreads with two “zips” for tearing off.
Excellent quality with overprint varnishing
The second and very impressive example of new, high-quality options in coldset printing was a customer newspaper for the prominent René Staud photostudio in Leonberg near Stuttgart. It was printed on a KBA Cortina waterless offset press at Freiburger Druck (Badische Zeitung). Using a coater embedded in the Cortina’s superstructure, the 16-page Berliner-format newspaper was finished inline with dispersion coating. The coater, which KBA developed together with Harris + Bruno, can apply aqueous coating on both sides on the web in varying widths and only needs a IR/thermal-air dryer instead of energy intensive hot-air dryers common in commercial presses. Overprint varnishing prevents the often unavoidable smearing and set-off when producing coldset products with high ink coverage and images run over the fold. The printed product has a commercial-like quality and pleasant haptic properties. With overprint varnishing post-press is possible immediately, as well as the combination of coated and non-coated webs and the use of normal and improved newsprint. This form of inline coating, developed by KBA in cooperation with SunChemical and Freiburger Druck, is only possible in waterless printing on the Cortina. KBA acknowledges that this is not a replacement for heatset, but an option for Cortina users, who aim to print smaller and medium-sized print runs for demanding target groups.