The Finnish media company is the first in the country to implement ECO3’s breakthrough screening innovation, which replaces conventional dots with spiral shapes, saving up to 12% of ink in the process.
Kaleva Media is a broad-reaching media organization providing local content and digital services to the northern Finnish market. Having grown from a single local newspaper founded in 1899, the large company today has 15 publications covering local, regional and national news, along with several digital channels and platforms.
Over 650 staff is employed by Kaleva, which boasts an impressive weekly reach of 82%, touching the lives of most local people and businesses in northern Finland.
Kaleva introduced SPIR@L, ECO3’s patented screening technology, to improve quality even further and take ink reduction to new heights.
“Agfa Offset Solutions, now ECO3, has been a long-time technology partner for Kaleva – not only for plates but also in hardware and software – and the products and solutions have worked very well, enabling us to lead the market with confidence. Over the years, we have taken advantage of many of their innovations with great success, most often as the first customer in Finland, so we had no hesitation in adding SPIR@L to our workflow,” states Janne Koski, Director of Printing and Distribution.
A focus on sustainability
The platemaking operation at Kaleva relies on a duo of ECO3 Advantage N-DL XXT CtP systems combined with two Attiro VHS clean-out units (COUs). These are used to process ECO3’s violet chemistry-free N95-VCF plates. A punch and bending system from Nela with automated plate delivery and sorting system completes the setup. ECO3 Arkitex Production software manages the workflow, with an Arkitex Portal solution providing easy web-based communication with customers.
Concern for the environment plays a big part in Kaleva’s decision-making process. It led them to invest in new technologies, such as Arkitex Enhance OptiInk software (another patented ECO3 solution that offers significant gains in productivity), the eco-friendly Attiro VHS COUs, and now the new SPIR@L screening. These next-generation innovations aim to bring more value to printers in terms of economy, ecology and extra convenience.
All of these ECO3 innovations give us more value on several levels and support our green ethos, helping us protect the environment and our beautiful arctic nature. SPIR@L screening continues that strategy by allowing us to save even more ink and energy as another part of our continued sustainability drive.Janne Koski
Ink optimization and quality enhancement
ECO3’s SPIR@L screening solution is a straightforward but highly innovative concept developed for cold-set and heat-set offset web printers, as well as packaging offset sheetfed operations. In a nutshell, it works by replacing the standard round or elliptical AM ink dots in the halftones with spiral shapes that are not visible to the naked eye or even a standard loupe.
As a result, less ink is required on press to fill the same area of color, while the print quality is maintained and even enhanced. This method can reduce ink consumption by up to 12%, and when combined with Arkitex Enhance OptiInk for newspaper printing, these savings can go as high as 30% of total ink volume. Furthermore, the thinner ink layer requires shorter drying times meaning savings in energy costs.
Kaleva is constantly striving to improve quality and efficiency in production. We have successfully used the OptiInk solution since 2007 and seen first-hand the savings it brought us. So, when the local team presented SPIR@L screening and explained the additional benefits, we were quickly convinced and decided to invest.Janne Koski
Mr. Koski also explained that the implementation had been straightforward. With ECO3’s experience and support, it took just a couple of test runs and a little fine-tuning before SPIR@L was put into full production. Since then, this new methodology has been applied to all of Kaleva’s print products.
Better picture quality and future potential
As well as allowing Kaleva to save on ink, SPIR@L screening has also proven to be an excellent tool for enhancing quality without any major changes needed in the production workflow, according to Koski. He added, “On the editorial side, our photographers quickly noticed the difference, and they are really excited. The images are much sharper, smaller details are more visible, and the colors are more accurate and vibrant. So, the images are now reproduced how they were originally meant to look.”
And there are even more savings to be had in the future as a result of this new technology. By laying down less ink, it also becomes possible to print on thinner and less expensive paper because there is less risk of set-off and shine-through, a feature that Kaleva has already tested. Koski concludes, “We’re not yet taking advantage of the ability to print on thinner papers, but it’s perfectly possible because of the lower ink usage with SPIR@L. This is important because it gives us a wider range of paper choices in the future.”