The growing band of waterless newspaper printers were in Eindhoven - home of Philips and the futuristic Evoluon centre - for the 13th Cortina user workshop meeting.
Just short of 90 people - including upcoming users Printing Partners Paal-Beringen in Belgium - represented 34 companies from 13 countries at the meeting hosted by anilox maker Apex International from nearby Hapert.
A two-day of innovations and technology was attended by a number of first-time participants, including Printing Partners' Paul Huybrechts and Pascal Coenen, welcomed by Peter Benz, KBA-Digital & Web Solutions project manager and driving force behind the event.
Guests were also welcomed by Apex chief executive Marian Waterschoot and Koenig & Bauer's head of digital and web service and project management Thomas Potzkai, while a joint presentation by Apex's Jeanine Graat and Joris Cabri followed.
Further presentations addressed topics such as current retrofit packages and service modules, as well as future preventive measures planned by Koenig & Bauer to support the waterless Cortina process. The first day concluded with a tour of production facilities in Hapert, a guided coach tour around Eindhoven and dinner at the Evoluon conference centre.
Technical presentations and experience reports from suppliers and users dominated the second day.
Paul Huybrechts, chief executive of Coldset Printing Partners, spoke about the printroom of the future, changing market conditions and how his company in Belgium was responding to digital transformation.
Last November, it was decided to expand the Beringen location and then close the Brussels plant by 2021, leading to the birth of the 'printroom of the future' project. An existing Commander offset line is to be expanded through the integration of a waterless Cortina of four towers, two folders, a coater and facilities for variable web widths.
Patrick Danninger from the Rheinpfalz Print Centre in Oggersheim, near Ludwigshafen, presented the results of a user satisfaction survey and evaluated results in areas including consumables, the waterless process in general and press technology.
For plate maker Toray, general sales manager Mitsunori Hayashi introduced the new sales organisation of its TTCE graphics division in Prostějov in the Czech Republic, and described how individual markets were served by dealers marks-3zet, Wifac and Schneidler Grafiska (the latter specifically in Scandinavia). He also reported on the two new plate types - Imprima WA and WB - which were launched in the first quarter of this year. Toray would be "working continuously" to offer Cortina users maximum sustainability with regard to its products.
Michael Millea, a consultant to the Heights Group, explained the sectors in which the family-run company is active and presented some of the products - including the TWP 1250 News processor - developed jointly with partners including Toray, Kodak and Fuji.
Yuval Dubois, president and chief executive of Presstek Europe, said that his company would be further strengthening its focus on the Cortina users in the future and had "invested accordingly" in both its sales organisation and technical support. Particular attention was to be paid to the provision of technical advice to customers.
The new Zahara XP Newz plate is an eco-friendly plate which can be washed with water alone, suitable for imaging on all platesetters which are compatible with thermal waterless plates.
From Huber, European web offset product management Thomas Fuss overviewed the group's product portfolio and reorientation of web offset activities in Europe. Focus is a simple basic formula for waterless printing inks, using reliable raw materials and geared to optimised temperature stability.
Freiburger Druck managing director Patrick Zürcher talked about the 'mineral-oil-free inks' project and "extremely positive" results of tests in Freiburg with ink manufacturer KMI and Wifac.
Concluding highlight for participants was a presentation on 'artificial intelligence - dynamics for the economy, chances for humanity' by Reinhard Karger of the German Research Centre on Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) in Saarbrücken.
Next year's Cortina User Workshop will be hosted by Huiber in Munich, from September 26-27.
Pictured: Participants from 34 companies and 13 countries at the Cortina event
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