New Technology in Modern Newspaper Printing (II)

CTP technology

CTP technology is the collective name for off-line direct plate making, on-machine direct plate making, and direct printing line mounting technology. Because it simplifies the platemaking process, no data is lost, and the network is sharp, the dot reproducibility is good, the plate making cycle is short, and the time for loading the plate is small. The entire production cycle of the printed product is shortened and the printing quality is excellent.

The reason why CTP technology can develop rapidly in the field of newspaper printing is mainly due to its high speed and high quality, which is very suitable for the high timeliness required by newspaper printing. Although the CTP system needs huge investment, the large newspaper group generally has strong bonuses and strong technical force. It can actively accept and adopt new technologies. Therefore, CTP technology has been rapidly developed and applied in some large newspaper groups in China. According to incomplete statistics, China's newspaper industry has more than 40 installations of CTP systems.

In the traditional platemaking process, printing and proofing take a long time. Only proofs can be printed and printed after being approved by the customer. The transport and management of the film may also adversely affect the printing quality. For newspapers with strong timeliness and need to be printed in different places, these defects in traditional processes have become an important factor restricting the development of newspaper printing.

The whole process of CTP process is processed and transmitted with digital information. At the same time, digital proofing technology is also applied. Therefore, the advantages of CTP technology in replacing the traditional plate making process are obvious. It simplifies the process, saves the publishing time, and improves the quality of printing products. People and venues reduce the complexity of equipment maintenance and reduce environmental pollution. According to calculations, CTP technology can save about 70% of the pre-press work time, and the plate-making time can be shortened by nearly one hour. At the same time, due to the vitality of the film, the overprint accuracy and dot quality of the color printing products have been reliably guaranteed. The alignment error is only about 0.002 mm, which solves the problem of manual extraction and time consuming, poor accuracy, and reduces boot preparation time. From the printing effect point of view, the traditional plate-making process can only reproduce 5% to 95% of the dot, while the CTP process can reproduce 2% to 99% of the dot; print using CTP technology, the level of more delicate, rich, more vivid colors; Due to the reduction of intermediate links, the accumulation of quality errors has been significantly reduced, and the controllability of quality has been significantly enhanced. Because the CTP technology reduces the loss of the dots on the exposed film and printing plate, it also makes the application of the FM network possible.

CIP3 Digital Workflow

The printing technology has undergone the development of lead typesetting, photolithography, electronic color separation, laser photocopying (CTF), computer-to-plate technology (CTP), and CIP3. Among them, electronic color separation platemaking and DTP systems are widely used in the printing field, and digitalization of pre-press graphic processing has been preliminarily realized; the CTP technology being used and developed is a key link for the full digitalization of plate making and printing; and the latest in the printing field. The concept of CIP3 is to realize pre-press, printing, and post-press digitalization and information sharing after prepress and digital printing, which is the goal of the printing technology in the new century. The digital technology in the modern printing field has been mainly used in the prepress processing stage in the past ten years. With the development of CTP technology, digital technology has begun to enter the printing field, and digitalization after printing is still in the undeveloped stage in China. With the further development and application of new technologies. The concept of diversification, networking, and full digitalization has risen in the printing industry, and CIP3 is a brand-new printing technology under this grand concept.

The CIP3 digital workflow has the characteristics of one-time input of data and information shared by all related departments and production stages, which avoids repeated input and repetitive calculations of printed production data, thereby shortening the work cycle and reducing the failure rate. In addition, relevant data information can be transmitted to the printing and finishing workshops at the prepress stage so that operators can make preparations early.

With the continuous improvement of the level of printing automation, the tendency of newspapers to pursue time and efficiency is more evident. The CIP3 digital workflow has the characteristics of reducing production costs, shortening the time for printing, reducing the rate of opening of printed products, etc., which makes it very suitable for application in newspaper printing. However, domestic companies still have a certain distance in terms of capital, technology, ideas, etc. Therefore, it is still more difficult to use CIP3 widely. In addition, because the newspaper itself is not very demanding on the printing quality, the post-press processing is relatively simple and fixed, which also makes the advantages of CIP3 not be fully utilized. However, with the development of technology and the change of concepts, the future of CIP3 in the newspaper industry is still very optimistic.

Flexo printing

At present, all domestic newspaper printers used and imported are offset printing rotary presses, and foreign flexographic prints also occupy a certain proportion. With the enhancement of people's environmental awareness, the application of flexographic printing in the newspaper printing industry will enter a practical stage, and there is room for growth.

Flexographic printing was used in newspapers in the United States that began in the mid-1970s. In 1982, the United States launched newspaper printing and flexo printing presses. From then on, flexographic printing began to compete with offset in the field of newspaper printing. About 30% of newspapers in the United States today use flexographic printing, and about 14 major newspapers in Europe use flexographic printing, of which about 25% of Italian newspapers use flexographic printing. Compared with offset printing, flexographic printing has the following advantages:

1. Equipment costs less than offset presses. Under the same conditions of printing medium and printing capacity, the equipment cost of flexographic printing press is about 1/3 lower than that of offset printing. The printing speed is higher than the offset printing machine. Since the flexographic printing belongs to light pressure printing, and the sleeve printing plate can be used, the inertial imbalance is very small, the paper is not easy to break, and has good running stability, so it is suitable for high-speed printing. 3. Flexographic printing can use low-volume newsprint. Since the flexographic printing press has better running stability and there is no influence of offset fountain solution on the paper performance, flexographic printing can use low-quantity newsprint (40~45g/m2), but offset printing paper cannot be too large. Thin, the general quantitative can not be less than 48g/m2. If thick paper is changed to thin paper, the annual printing of 54 billion pairs will be calculated, and the average annual national newspaper printing paper will save 18%. For newspaper printers, the cost can be greatly reduced. For short-run newspaper printing, flexo printing has the advantage of low cost. 4. Flexographic printing has a low waste paper rate. Flexographic printing machines have shorter turnaround time and test time, so the waste paper rate is lower, about 2%, which is 9% lower than offset printing. If we add the amount of paper saved by using thin newsprint, paper alone can save about 27% of the paper. According to reports, due to the use of flexographic printing, the US “San Francisco Observer” can save about US$41 million per year on paper alone. 5. Easy to operate. The technical requirements for flexo printing are not very high, and the reduction in start-up personnel also reduces labor costs. 6. It is good for the environment. The use of water-based inks for flexographic printing does not have the problems of solvent evaporation and discharge, and there is no problem of solvent treatment when cleaning machines and rollers. The recovery of water-based inks is also easier than offset inks. In addition, the water-based ink has a fast drying property and does not have a problem of scratching, so the reader will not stain his or her hands or other objects when reading. 7. The printing quality is good. Flexographic printing has the advantage of embossing. The figures and artists are clear, the picture is neat, and the colors are bright. The printing quality is better than offset printing. At the same time, the flexographic printing has a good print repeatability, which can ensure that the inks of the printed products are consistent in color and can realize multi-color printing conveniently and efficiently. 8. The successful development of the flexographic printing CTP system and the application of the digital workflow in the flexographic printing have enabled the flexographic printing technology to keep up with the development trend of the printing technology and to adapt to the requirements of modern newspaper printing.

At present, the application of flexographic printing in the domestic newspaper industry is mainly constrained by factors such as concept, investment time and operator. At present, the printing equipment used by the newspaper industry is a offset printing rotary machine. In the continued investment, it also adopts a more secure way to purchase a rubber transfer machine. In addition, due to the relatively small proportion of flexographic printing in the domestic printing field, there is a shortage of talents and technical experience, which also restricts the promotion and use of flexographic printing presses in China. However, because of its unparalleled advantages in some respects, it is believed that in the near future, flexographic printing will surely break through and develop in the field of newspaper printing in China.

Digital Printing Technology

The digitization and networking that has penetrated the entire printing industry is the basis and theme for the development of today's printing technology, and it is building a new production environment and technology foundation. In digital printing, the digital files formed by prepress processing do not need to be immediately printed out, but are stored in digital form in the system or transmitted through the network to different locations. Finally, the printed output is completed according to the customer's order requirements. Obviously, this is a brand-new production method built on the basis of "digital flow + digital media + network transmission", which can realize digitalized 100% variable information printing. Printing and publishing are not subject to time and geographical restrictions, and on-demand printing of newspapers is made possible by high speed, diversification, and meeting various needs.

Newspapers used digital presses to appear on Drupa 2000, when a number of companies launched digital presses for newspapers. Among them, Manroland's DICOweb digital web press, using thermal transfer imaging technology to image directly on the plate cylinder, the printing time of each sheet does not exceed 10 minutes, and there is no need to change the printing, no offset version; Kodak launched NexPress Digital printing system, using dry toner development electrostatic camera system; also launched the screen TruePress 744 and the Agfa's the, factory and so on.

With the dramatic increase in the printing speed and printing quality of digital presses, the drastic drop in the prices of printed materials and the expansion of the use of paper, digital printing will occupy a certain market in the field of newspaper printing.

From: Printing Technology

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