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TECHNOLOGY

How the wrong washing agent


can ruin the printed result
AN EXPERT REPORTS FROM THE COAL FACE. In the pres-
Problems in the
ent instance, a sheet-fed printer was in need of an expert opin- graphics industry
ion. A producer of relatively short run, high quality printed DD Series Dr. Colin
products, it was experiencing high levels of wastage due to ex- Sailer, a publicly ap-
pointed sworn expert for
cessive tonal value increase. For example, out of a run of 8,000 presses, offset and
sheets, 4,000 might be waste. The printer commissioned the gravure printing, reports
from real life. He has an
expert to establish the cause. engineering and expert
investigation practice in
Munich
(Tel.: +49 (0)89/69 Dr. Colin Sailer
For the accurate reproduction of colour measures the dot areas for a range of 38 85 94;
in offset printed halftone images, the halftones and plots Ap on a graph against web: www.print-und-maschinenbau.de).
magnitude of the change in the diameter Af, the result is the characteristic printing
of the halftone dot is a critical value in the curve and an indication of the tonal val- Part 8 A printer is completely crippled
transfer of the image from prepress (com- ue increase of the halftone dot from pre- DD 18
puter) via the plate to the finished, print- press to printed sheet. Figure 2 shows Part 9 When a matt varnish takes the
ed sheet. The printed dot area is one of such a characteristic curve. gloss of a press DD 20
the most important values to be meas- Part 10 The impact of the wrong
ured and monitored over the entire print- TONAL VALUE INCREASE. From washing agent DD 22
ing process. prepress - that is screening on the com-
puter - to the printing of the finished
sheet, the halftone dot has a long road to
travel. crease falling within allowable limits.
Tonal value increase can depend on the
process and the: INFLUENCES. All the factors known
plates, to influence tonal value increase (see
blankets, above) were investigated and systemati-
inks, cally altered or swapped.
damping solution additive,
plate to blanket cylinder pressure,
blanket to impression cylinder pres-
sure.
Tonal value is always positive, which
means that from computer screening
Figure 1: Control strips for the measurement (previously film) to the printed dot the
of dot area. halftone dot only ever gets bigger.
TONAL VALUE BEHAVIOUR
MEASURING THE DOT AREA. DURING PRINTING. Usually one
During printing, the dot area is measured corrects tonal value increase by reducing
by means of control strips printed on the the size of the halftone dot during pre-
sheet (see figure 1). For example, the dot press so as to end up with the ideal
areas of cyan halftones with known dot halftone values as a result of the subse-
areas Af (the f subscript stands historical- quent tonal value increase. However, in
ly for film) of 40% or 80% are measured this case it was not possible, since the
from the solid and halftone control tonal value increase changed and became
patches. Measurements of the print yield smaller as printing proceeded.
dot areas Ap (P stands for print) of 55 % For the first 4,000 sheets the tonal value
or 90 %. increase was too high for a high quality
The tonal value increase TVI [%] = Ap print and they had to be discarded as
[%] Af [%] and in this case is therefore waste. It was only after 4,000 sheets that
15 % (for the Af = 40 % halftone) or one could talk of a flawless, saleable Figure 2: Ideal and actual characteristic
10 % (for the Af = 80 % halftone). If one printed product, with the tonal value in- curves.

16 Deutscher Drucker No. 22/12.7.2007


TECHNOLOGY

None of this had any impact on the re- analysing mixtures of substances and it ed 2,000 sheets showed clear peaks deriv-
sult. allows the individual components of ing from the oil-based blanket cleaner
even complex mixtures to be separated that had been used but the residues from
BLANKET IN THE LABORATORY. out. Combined with a mass spectrome- the blanket that had printed 6,000 sheets
After 2,000 sheets the blanket from the ter, the so-called GC/MS combination, no longer showed these peaks.
cyan unit was carefully removed and the it is possible to detect even very small The situation has been cleared up. The
same was done with another blanket af- quantities of substances and at the same residues of oil-based washing agents left
ter 6,000 sheets. The blanket surfaces time to determine their structures. The on the blankets after their washing ex-
were preserved and then investigated by integral of the peak in the results graphs pand the halftone dot as soon as it is
the expert in the laboratory. Before print- plotted for a particular substance is a transferred to the blanket, and this con-
ing began both blankets had been new measure of the proportion by mass of the tinues until the blanket surfaces are com-
and supplied by the same manufacturer. substance in the sample. pletely free of the washing agent residues.
The marginal printing conditions were Gas chromatography is a very important The only remedy for this would be alter-
identical and the two printing trials were tool in the analysis of organic com- native cleaning agents that prevented the
carried out one after the other with the pounds and is ideally suited to the analy- unwanted halftone dot enlargements and
same press and temperature relation- sis of the residues on the two blankets. the associated tonal value increases. The
ships. search for these is continuing and as soon
The residues (ink, damping solution, THE LABORATORY RESULTS. as there is a result news of it will be re-
etc.) on the surfaces of the two blankets The first series of measurements provid- ported in a future instalment of this se-
were analysed using gas chromatogra- ed a clear result. The residues on the sur- ries.
phy. This is a very sensitive method for face of the offset blanket that had print-

H.-H. Schmedt GmbH: new building for fortieth birthday

Photo albums the new challenge


H.-H. Schmedt GmbH celebrated its ceptable for us. Currently 17 staff work
fortieth anniversary in its new manufac- in Bienenbttel and most of these have
turing facility in Bienenbttel, which been with the company for over ten
has a floor area of around 1400 m2. Car- years.
rying out a high proportion of the man- In the early 60s the firms founder,
ufacture itself, the company produces Hanns-Heinrich Schmedt, established a
binding machines that, in its own words, wholesaler for bookbinding supplies and
cover the whole process of book produc- in 1967 he expanded into manufactur-
tion apart from printing. ing with the launch of his first joint lever
In his address at the open house, one of blocking press, the Pr-Gnant. Accord-
the owners, Hans-Hinnark, explained ing to the company, there are now near-
the investment in Germany in the fol- ly 4,000 of these presses in use around Two generations of a family company: founder
lowing terms, Shifting production to a the world and the Pr family now con- Hanns-Heinrich Schmedt (centre) and his
cheaper location abroad would have en- tains over 20 different machines that are sons Hans-Hinnark (2nd left) and Jrn
tailed a loss of know how and reduced mainly employed in the craft binding Schmedt (right), with their wives.
control, which would not have been ac- sector. According to Hans-Hinnark, the
current best seller is the Pr-Leg casing- increase output. The new building, ac-
in machine. cording to Schmedt,opens up options
By Drupa 2004 the growing trend to for us to do so.
digital book production and very short
runs down to single copies had already
become clear to the company, and this
opened up a new market for Schmedts
existing product portfolio. Then, about
a year ago, the ongoing development of
digital book production presented the
company with new challenges in the
form of the photo album, according to
Schmedt. It is highly likely that such
photo albums with a hard cover and
printed title on the front page and spine
will have been produced using the Przi-
Case, Pr-Leg and Pr-Form machines.
Production at Schmedt has been run-
ning at full capacity for the last two to
Dr. Claus Maywald (left), Curator of the three years, resulting in long delivery
Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, talking to the times. However, efforts are being made An untranslatable pun, the Men in Blech,
company head Hanns-Heinrich Schmedt. to improve the situation and to further provided entertainment at the open house.

Deutscher Drucker No. 22/12.7.2007 17