Riding the Winter Wave

Eliminating the variable factors in the offset printing process will dramatically boost profitability if you take control of them.

The modern offset press continues to evolve from one Drupa to the next, delivering improved levels of control and production efficiency, but unless the variable factors like the contamination of the fountain solution and the pressures working in the rollers and blanket cylinders are controlled and optimised, that sound of your press humming in the background may as well be the death march, for all the money its costing the company.

To operate successfully in an industry in it’s winter cycle is different to how one might have done things when offset printing was in it’s spring cycle.

“In the winter of an industry, the wave moves from location-based businesses to transaction-based businesses. This is when everyone is in the market. They know the products, have their communities, they have their meeting places, and everyone is looking for efficiencies and lower prices. This is when the wave moves to transaction-based businesses that have created systems to increase efficiencies, increase speed, and reduce costs” – Roger Hamilton – Millionaire Master Plan & Wealth Dynamics, fame.

So riding the wave running through the offset printing industry in 2015 requires that available technology is used to give your company that vital advantage.

Two Steps to slashing away down time, optimising ink, fount and energy consumption and increasing the number of sheets which can be sold.

Variable #1 – Dampening system – responsible for hundreds of thousands of wasted production due to contamination of the press water with paper fiber, spray powder, ink, blanket wash and metering roller cleaner

Variable#2 – Roller Nip Pressures are costly when not digitally set. Consumable costs increase and so does the energy cost. Rubber hardness is variable and thus digital control is the only effective measure.





Risk Management for Profit

We all know how fine a line there is between profit and loss, maybe only 2% – 3% of turnover, if you do it well. So figure out how much turnover that last bad debt actually cost you or how much of your profit is lost every time your press comes to a standstill.

For many companies, increasing margins by 1% and reducing costs by 1% would mean doubling their after tax profit. Do the maths, marginal gain means big gains in profitability.

The following article is a spin on Risk Mitigation as a competitive advantage.

Risk management as a potential competitive advantage for a printing company.

Article by Tom Hickman.

Risk can be defined as the perceived uncertain future event that could prevent the achievement of the company’s objectives. Risk can come from uncertainty due to internal or external factors such as disruptive technology, unplanned stoppage and waste from inconsistent quality of consumables and others.

Risk management is the process of minimizing or mitigating the risk. It starts with the identification and evaluation of suppliers (equipment and consumables) and resources to monitor and minimize it for optimal use.

Risk terms:
Inherent risk -the risk to the entity before management action to alter the risk’s probability of an event and its size of its consequences.
Residual risk – the remaining risk after management has put in place measure to control the inherent risk.
Risk appetite – the amount of risk an organization is willing to accept in pursuit of value after considering probability and consequence / impact.

In the printing industry the risk appetite is quite low. Risk is measured as a function of the likelihood of an event and its consequences or impact. In the printing industry quality systems and managing risk are of high importance to mitigate uncertain future outcomes.

To gain a competitive advantage we build a strategy around risk prevention, taking into account the outcome of an event and how likely it is. Once you have decided on the risk appetite we identify risks, assess the risks on a scale of 1 to 5 for probability and 1 to 5 on consequence / impact. Where 5×5 is the highest rating and 1 x1 the lowest.
Strategic risks emanate from the choices made by the entity, specifically with regard to whether such choices weaken or strengthen the entity’s ability to perform its mandate. Strategic risk identification should precede the finalization of strategic choice to ensure that potential risk issues are factored into the decision making process for selecting the strategic options.

Warren Buffet on taking risks: “Never test the depth of river with both feet”

The competitive advantage for a business is in the risk response and plans to mitigate and control risk for reward better than the competition. The strategy to take inherent risk to our desired residual risk should be measured and monitored by implementing a risk register as it is impossible to provide transparency of success or failure without performance measurement.

Fogra Cost Benefit

The principle of the “Aggregation of Marginal Gains” seeks to optimise all the variables in a process or system. So even though the consumable spend in a printing company accounts for only 3% of the total cost of production print managers still look to “save” by using cheaper consumables. This is a false sense of economy, just take a look at the data below pertaining to press wash.

When all is fair, paying more upfront will cost you less than the back end costs of cheaper products when it comes to press consumables. The following pertains to evaporation of different classes of press wash over a specific time unit. It’s quiet clear that evaporation alone squashes much of the price advantage that cheaper A1 and A11 Class press washes offer.
A1 Class Wash (cheap) – 5.5Lt /time unit
A11 Class Wash (cheap) – 2,8 LT/time unit
A111 Class Wash (Fogra) – 1.7 Lt / time unit  ( Special Offer)

reduced Dyna Wash LogoThen consider the life of your blankets and rollers when applying the aggressive VOC washes. They harden prematurely and need replacing more frequently.

Highly researched and developed aliphatic hydrocarbon based washes, such as Dyna Wash G60 are better suited to maintain rubber printing blankets and rollers.
Only a small percentage of printers in South Africa have embraced Fogra listed and/or Certified products so it’s really common place to hear of printers using paraffin or white spirits to wash blankets and rollers. This was common 30 years ago but today technology has evolved and ignoring these advances in technology will close down any hope of success in an ever consolidating market space.
It should be noted that Fogra Certified consumables and additives doesn’t address the actual performance of the product, it only advises that the product is safe to use. But Fogra Certification should be the basic minimum requirement when considering consumables and additives.




FOGRA – Materials and Environment

In the Federal Republic of Germany there are more than a hundred industries whose medium sized member companies have banded together to form associations for joint industrial research. The umbrella organisation for these research organisations is the German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AIF) of which Fogra is a founding member.
It is the task of AIF members to investigate questions that might help companies to increase production reliability and quality. Typical German or Swiss attitude…not a bad thing when concerned about efficiency!
Fogra have around 800 members, their budget per annum is Euro 5.5 million. So it stands to reason that they do some good work as they have been in existence since 1951. Their research focuses on the following areas:
Prepress – digital reproduction, control devices and acceptance tests
Printing Techniques – offset, screen and digital printing, tone value increase etc
Print Finishing & ID Cards – bookbinding and finishing, quality properties of ID cards and passports, RFID and other printed security products.
Materials and Environment – For all of the above including Physio-chemical analysis and de-inking
Consumables (paper, ink, varnish, automatic wash cloth)
Additives (fountain solutions, cleaning and washing agents)

Our focus at Printequip is about advancing efficiency by implementing the use of highly researched and developed consumable products which adhere to standards relating to the environment and OEM requirements.

Adhering to the standards laid down by the Fogra institute ensure that the value of the press is maintained into the future and that the production process is cost effective.
Press Room Chemistry is an area that has seen significant development in the area of press care. German press manufacturers are using lightweight high quality alloys which save energy but are more prone to corrosion. So founts and washes with corrosion inhibitors are becoming more popular in Europe as printers seek to reduce long term maintenance costs. There is also a continued trend to reduce VOC’s by reducing IPA and raising the flashpoints of solvents and use aliphatic hydrocarbons instead of aromatic hydrocarbons which evaporate less and are far less hazardous to human being and make them more environmentally friendly.
German press manufacturers Heidelberg, Manroland and KBA are insisting that printers use consumables like roller and blanket washes of a certain performance standard. In the case of fountain solutions the German press manufacturers, the German test institutes (Fogra/MPA Darmstadt), and the most important fountain solutions manufacturers developed a standard for corrosion and swelling properties. Products meeting these demands are listed by the press manufacturers and on the Fogra website.
These press manufacturers are even writing this into their warranties that only these listed (approved) products can be used, a deviation could mean that the press’s warranty is invalidated. At face value this may seem like a clever ploy to keep the ongoing consumables business in the hands of a small circle of players but this couldn’t be further from the truth!
Any manufacturer of consumables or additives for printing presses can submit their products for approval and or certification to Fogra and MPA Darmstadt. As mentioned there are stringent criteria laid down in terms of what is acceptable in terms of raw materials being used with a strong focus on environment and also maintaining the press value in the future.

Standards Matter

We often find printers closing off when we talk about standards and certification.
It seems that there is a perception that consumables and additives that carry certification and adhere to certain standards with regards to the environment, will cost the printing house more a thereby reducing profitability. This is simply not true!
Printing companies can and should benefit from the research and standards that are subsequently established as they relate to processes, consumables and additives used in the offset process. In short – responsibility, sustainability and profitability can all be achieved by adhering to standards!
The most well known of the certification bodies is Fogra, whose standards are set to ensure consistency of quality, real economy and enhanced profitability. For printers looking to attract new customers in packaging, organisations like ISEGA , BRC /IOP and REACH also have a lot to offer.