Little by Little, Bit by Bit

medium_Laurel_2012.jpegThe weekly Verdigris blog by Laurel Brunner

Sjællandske Medier is a Danish newspaper with a quality management strategy that is helping to cut waste and improve its product. This company was founded in 1871 when the British empire was still expanding and when Henry Stanley came across Dr Livingstone, deep in the heart of Africa: “Dr Livingstone I presume?”. Since then Sjællandske Medier has grown and it now publishes four daily and 32 weekly titles, employing 500 people over 28 locations. It provides content for local radio and television so it is very close to its island community. But what makes Sjællandske Medier especially interesting is the basis for its decision to go with Agfa N94 chemistry-free plates and Anturafount CS1 fount solution.

One would generally expect cutting costs and improving productivity to be at the top of the list for an investment of this kind. However Sjællandske Medier used Agfa’s f-IQA (Fountain ISO Quality Assessment) report for assessing fountain solution quality. This Agfa report is part of a series of six modules for ISO Quality Assessments. The f-IQA provides guidelines for analysing fountain set up. For Sjællandske Medier six water samples were analysed: the local tap water, de-mineralized water, re-hardened water, fresh fountain solution, used fountain solution and the fountain additive. Together Agfa and Sjællandske Medier worked out how to optimise the fount solution for optimum performance, using the chemistry in six samples to guide them. They selected Anturafount CS1 a fountain solution additive designed for coldset web presses, particularly for newspaper printing. According to factory manager Niels Grinste it “helps to keep the blankets clean while printing and it reduces our start-up paper waste by another 5-7%”.

Having an optimised fount solution means the company can work with numerous different paper types and for run lengths from 25,000 to 100,000 up for longer and without wasting energy and consumables. The newspaper group also uses Agfa’s Arkitex Newsdrive workflow to control its two Advantage N digital platesetters to minimise plate remakes and ensure high quality on press. Finally we are beginning to see more printers and publishers make the connection between quality management and environmental impact mitigation as a means of improving business performance.

It is in these small details that all businesses can improve their carbon footprint. Energy intensive sectors such as the printing and publishing industries still have plenty of scope to cut emissions and improve performance. So although making a connection between environmental improvement and profitability may seem like a bit of a leap, from a business perspective it makes perfect sense. As Sjællandske Medier and others like it have found lots of little steps can eventually add up to giant strides.

– Laurel Brunner

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