Digital print steps up to the plateThe Screen Trupress Jet 520 lives at AlphaGraphics. (another UK owned company." Consider if more AlphaGraphics found the local markets for the Truepress.
by Adam Hooker, PrintWeek, 24 April 2009
"It recently transpired that when newspaper giant News International was in the planning stages of what would eventually lead to a £600m web press investment at its UK sites, it seriously considered including digital presses in the spend.
The plan centred on placing machines to produce The Sun and The Times in commercial print firms in some of the more remote areas of the UK. The rationale was simple: rather than spend time and money shipping products from one of its main production centres, it could simply produce the papers locally, reducing costs, cutting CO2 emissions and, importantly in the internet age, saving time.
When News International were pondering this flirtation, digitally produced newspapers were in their formative years and there were still concerns about the quality, availability of colour and cost per unit (newspaper). But that was three years ago and, since then, the interest in digitally produced newspapers has grown dramatically.
For example, the Daily Mail is now being digitally printed in New York using a Screen Truepress Jet520 on the same day it's printed in London. This is just one of many examples, with a raft of other titles now being produced in locations faraway from their home markets"
Companies such as Océ, Xerox, Kodak, Agfa and Screen have all developed presses with the ability to produce on-demand newspapers.When the issue becomes "how much it will cost and how long it will take", the game is on in earnest.
However, as is so often the case, on the finishing front there are fewer options. Most experts will tell you that there is only one route available for finishing digitally printed newspapers: Hunkeler.
. . .Currently, the UK has one prominent digital newspaper printer, Stroma in west London, which is part of Océ's Digital Newspaper Network. It began producing newspapers around eight years ago and currently handles 400 titles using its Océ kit and one of Hunkeler's original newspaper finishing lines.
According to Stroma managing director Steve Brown, one of the reasons for the lack of options available in finishing is down to the perceived lack of interest in digitally printed newspapers. He believes the only likely rival to Hunkeler comes from hand finishing.
"The main problem is that there are too few people printing newspapers digitally right now," he says. "There is no real incentive for anyone else to follow Hunkeler. It has never really interested another finishing manufacturer. I think Hunkeler spent a lot of money on their R&D and they now have a solution that really works.
. . .
Newsworld chief executive David Renouf . . .(says that) . . . the issue he has is not whether or not they will do it, but how much it will cost and how long it will take.
This could also be used for more than just newspapers and that is the key for the line, it won't just be handling newspapers."
Once the education opportunity gets on the radar, that is the "it won't just be handling newspapers" piece. And textbooks, as we've known them, wither away.