Waterless printing at the Imprimerie du Nord is an ecological and efficient choice

Reading the press on paper is a pleasure that a majority of us still enjoy. It allows us to both leaf through the paper and enjoy a more in-depth reading than on a screen. In terms of ecological impact, a newspaper is on average on par with its digital version, but some optimizations are available. This is the reason why we implemented waterless printing in our printing plant, L’Imprimerie du Nord, near Paris.



An environmental and technological innovation


In addition to using a more environmentally friendly printing technology – it is the only waterless printing plant in France - L'imprimerie du Nord has been entirely designed to minimize its environmental impact.

First, it is located close to major airports and highways in order to minimize the carbon footprint associated with transportation. Then, the facility features large bay windows that allow work to be carried out in daylight, thus reducing electricity consumption. It is also Imprim'Vert, PEFC and Print Environnement certified.


The environmental benefits of waterless printing

Water has long been part of professional printing techniques. In conventional offset printing, we use the antagonistic properties of water and oil to delineate the printed and the blank areas. The offset plate thus consists of two layers: a lipophilic layer to which the oil-based ink will adhere (image area) and a hydrophilic layer that will be wetted so that the ink does not adhere (non-image area).


Today, with the waterless printing process, the non-image areas of the offset plates are covered with a thin layer of silicone that will prevent the ink from adhering. The removal of water not only reduces water consumption, but also brings other environmental benefits:

  • The waste volume (discarded copies) is divided by 8, thanks to a much easier calibration process

  • Gas consumption is reduced by 60%, since it is no longer necessary to dry the printed paper

  • No need for chemical additives

  • No need for detergents to clean the press

  • VOC emissions are reduced

At L’Imprimerie du Nord, energy consumption is further optimized, thanks to a closed-circuit temperature control system, which prevents water and gas wastage.


The advantages of waterless offset compared to traditional offset


In addition to offering environmental advantages, waterless printing features interesting performances. The presses have a higher printing speed than traditional ones and can be started up faster thanks to the absence of water. For the same reason, the print quality is also significantly higher - with a density of 150-177 lines per inch compared to 133 for conventional offset.


The colors are also denser, as the inks used are without emulsion. They come out much brighter with an almost photographic rendering, allowing specific prints such as luxury books, wine or perfume labels, medicine leaflets, etc..






L'Imprimerie du Nord is a fully optimized printing plant


In a declining industry, at Riccobono Imprimeurs, we had to optimize our production tool, in order to continue our activity. The two waterless presses allow a high level of flexibility. They are able to print daily press as well as a wide range of products, in low or high volume, personalized or not, with high quality and minimum interruption between two runs.


From the paper reel to the truck, a fully automated printing line


Both lines are independent from one another and thus can handle different printing jobs simultaneously. The entire process is managed automatically, from reel loading to filming, with as few interruptions as possible. For each line, a technician monitors the process from a monitoring deck equipped with screens connected to HD cameras located at the end of each line.



Printing is done in recto-verso full color in a single pass. The presses also automatically handle the composition of the signatures, folding and stapling. The printed products are then sent to a finishing room at the end of the line for inserting, stitching and die-cutting.


Newspapers and magazines can thus be managed on site from A to Z, saving time and avoiding the need to transport semi-finished products from one service provider to another.


Flexible equipment for multiple formats


There are many options offered by waterless printing:

  • Uncoated paper ranging from 42 gr for a daily newspaper, up to 80 gr for a magazine

  • Addition of a coated paper cover at the end of the line

  • All degrees of whiteness supported

  • Prints from 8 to 240 pages

  • Berlin format or eco-magazine

The waterless printing facility can also provide automated personalization services, even for small runs. For example, for the various local or regional editions of national titles, personalization are handled in the same run with little interruption, since it only takes 100 seconds to change a printing plate. The finishing room is also equipped for services such as adding memo stickers, inserting advertising sheets or flat objects, filming and routing.


Why choose waterless printing for your newspapers and magazines?


If many major national dailies (Le Figaro, Les Echos, Le Monde) have chosen waterless printing for their daily editions, it is for three reasons: to control of their ecological footprint, to offer high quality printing to their advertisers and to reduce printing lead time.


Printing a national daily newspaper in 2 hours


News journalism is a race against the clock, especially in the digital age. Now more than ever, newspapers must offer information that is as close to real time as possible and with an added value. The shorter the manufacturing and delivery lead times, the longer the editorial team has to complete its issue.


Printing and finishing are done in the same place and on the same line, even in when there is some sort of personalization. This avoids wasting time in transport and further reduces the ecological footprint.


If we take the example of Le Figaro. The printing files of the next day's edition are received at 9 pm. Half an hour later, the first copy comes out of the line and the subsequent copies are printed a rate of 20 per second. The last truck leaves the loading bay at 11 p.m. At this rate, 3 million copies are delivered every week in the northern half of France.




You too can benefit from the advantages of waterless printing


Print your professional magazines, advertising newspapers, local authority magazines, consumer magazines or corporate press in a responsible way : choose a printing plant recognized for its environmental quality. Your readers and advertisers will appreciate your commitment and the excellent quality of the printing.

Want to know more? Contact us!