Digital Print and Newspapers

High-speed continuous inkjet printers have made a huge impact across a variety of printing markets. From transactional to direct mail, to book production and commercial printing. Hundreds of inkjet units have been installed, along with accompanying finishing systems. But one market has seen little adoption of high-speed inkjet. Newspapers.


Many reasons. It’s not for lack of attention from the continuous web inkjet printer manufacturers. Both Oce’ and Kodak appointed special sales representatives for the newspaper industry some years ago. No one expects newspapers to replace their offset presses with inkjet for their daily production. The print volumes and production time window exceed inkjet’s capabilities. The current New York Times weekday daily circulation exceeds 1,110,000 copies. Much of it printed within an eight-hour window. So, there is no threat of offset displacement by digital anytime soon.

The few inkjet installs in the newspaper environment have been successfully used to print products that (by nature of their short runs) are not well-suited for an offset web press. There are units printing very short runs of foreign news dailies (or weeklies) in the New York metro area, and systems printing both short-run commercial work and tabloids in the Chicago metro area. Most of these runs are under 2,000 copies.

The finishing solutions for inkjet production are there. TKS, a major Japanese manufacturer of offset presses for the newspaper industry introduced its Jetleader 1500 21.5″ continuous web inkjet press a few years ago. The press incorporates web folding and cutting technology to enable the press to deliver a multi-page, completed newspaper product. Hunkeler of Switzerland has had an automated star-wheel collating system for automated newspaper production off the back of an inkjet, or toner continuous press. IBIS Bindery Systems recently announced that its “X” model Smart-binder can stitch (or glue) and three-side trim a tabloid-size product inline with a continuous inkjet press.

Don has worked in technical support, sales, engineering, and management during a career in both the commercial offset and digital finishing sectors. He is the North American representative for IBIS Bindery Systems, Ltd. of The United Kingdom.
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  • Werner Rebsamen

    Don – it’s a fact on every cruise ship, at many resorts in Mexico ….

  • Brian Rothschild

    Not only is it going to… It is. The speeds are not there yet… There coming. I’ve already posted about entire shops that run on nothing but a barcode. That carries enough VDP, PDF, inline, flexo info that it puts W2P to shame.

    It’s flexible, interactive and code is being written as fast as your reading this. I know… It’s crazy. Those people… The ones who are crazy enough to try to change the world….

    …are usually the ones who do.

  • Mark Hunt, Standard Finishing

    Quick correction, Don. The Hunkeler Newspaper Solution uses a drum collator (not a star wheel) to accumulate individual sheets into sections prior to folding. More information here