WPS: How 3D delivered parts and masks, if not perpetual motion

Perspectives from printed parts to perpetual motion were canvassed during yesterday's second day of WAN-Ifra's World Printers Summit.

It was the advice of power quality consultant Bansidhar Kushar that prompted a delegate question about perpetual motion - could useful energy be made by connecting a generator to a printing press - and sadly the answer is still 'no'.

What can be made however, is the maintenance parts needed to keep presses running, seemingly forever.

Elias Merklinghaus - competence centre manager at Süddeutscher Zeitung - told how a lateral approach to problem solving got the company into 3D printing.

Having already learned to design and manufacture printed circuit boards inhouse, the company tackled the issue of papers being delivered late because of worn out labeller printheads. Making a small component solved a big problem, and the team went on to make cases to protect electronic components - avoiding replacement of a much larger part - and of course, face masks (above) and protection equipment.

Making hard-to-get circuit boards cost a fraction of the cost of new ones, and in one case, solved a set-up problem when the press could not be turned at its proper speed.

Merklinghaus (pictured) said the skills to scan, draw and print parts were now used for many applications, sometimes saving the cost of a larger assembly.

The Munich-based print operation produces 250,000 copies daily on six manroland Colorman presses and five Ferag lines, installed in 1987 and updated between 2000-2002.

He said that while the life-cycle of products became progressively shorter, production equipment needed to last significantly longer than the 15-20 years originally planned for.

With standardised processes, and the resources of a quality lab, SVZ looked to learn from failures, understanding correlations rather than just symptoms.

Electrical power quality consultant Bansidhar Kushar outlined the journey to cost reduction through energy and power quality management, urging the importance of efficient and "competitive" use of energy, and "healthy" equipment.

Understanding the effect of age on equipment efficiency - citing the 30-year-old pump - and the multiple cost centres at a printing plant was part of a holistic approach to energy management.

Systems for chilled water and compressed air were also ripe for analysis, Kushar demonstrating the savings achievable from new systems and modern variable speed motors, as well as a review of the work they were doing.

His focus on power quality - "the way to bring sustainability in the news printing industry" - won the approval of moderator and technical director of Bennett & Coleman, India, Snehasis Roy, who pointed to the need for attention when presses were not running because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Questions centred around the use of "waste" energy - with Roy emphasising that despite the heat created, they didn't turn the UV on to boil a kettle - with a discussion of the benefits of LED curing over UV.

The conference had opened quietly and on a somewhat negative note: Olivier Derville, now purchasing director for Grammeo, talked about a newsprint industry in reverse, while managing director of the UK unit of Two Sides Jonathan Tame told what the group was doing - perhaps belatedly - to promote the benefits of printed products over digital.

One of two 'perspectives' from platinum conference sponsor UPM on the European and global newsprint paper business came from newsprint senior vice president Anu Ahola, and was followed by a "deep dive" into optimisation of the paper supply chain with moderator Erik Ohls, Martin Gercke (Stora Enso), Mike Elmore (Cascade), Martin Schorn (UPM) and Nigel Wells (icmPrint/Ecograf). Later UPM sustainability manager Stefanie Eichiner had a slot to present the company's perspective on climate action and how publishers might tackle it.

An afternoon session discussed issues on optimising prepress with a focus on modern CTP systems and contributions from Interpress production directorDavid Wilson, and Times of India prepress managers Amol Pitale and Vijaykumar Bichakal.

The conference - which is on Central European Time - concludes today (Thursday) starting at 10 am. CET. Speakers include Tobias Köngeter of WirbelWild on the use of AI in page assembly, and Kathleen Zink and Nina Hauk of interior design company Vedacon; and industrial engineering media professor Detlef Hartmann on Industry 4.0. Finally, in a session on new business models, contributions from Styli Charalambous of Daily Maverick and John Garrett of US-based Community Impact Newspaper are expected to be highlights.

Peter Coleman

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