Goss Digital Inkers Cut Waste at ‘Houston Chronicle’

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By: E&P Staff

The Houston Chronicle has reduced its ink waste by 61% after equipping its Goss Metro press with Goss digital inking, as part of a project to improve operations and prepare for future challenges. The retrofit followed a Six Sigma assessment of processes and procedures.

Average weekly ink waste exceeding 12,000 pounds dropped to 4,250 pounds following conversion to digital inking. Waste reduction rates ranged from 68% for black ink to 46% for magenta. Press downtime also fell by 16% as a result of the conversion, and the number of paper rolls per web break rose by 23%.

Analysis of data provided by Six Sigma showed that more accurate control of ink input could improve print density, ink/water balance and waste levels, according to Goss International Quality Director Ragy Isaac.

“Ink may not be the most expensive element in offset printing, but its impact on quality, productivity and waste is immense,”
Printing Director Michael Daniel said in a statement.

The Chronicle’s process-improvement project began in 2005, when General Manager Matt Oliver established formal baselines for newsprint and ink waste, productivity averages, press starts and stops and other variables, and began tracking them more intensely.

Six Sigma was able to “detect critical issues that lead to lost revenue, identify our failures in meeting customer expectations, and expose the ‘hidden factory’ [that] runs in the background of every organization,” said Daniel. “It fixes problems and corrects mistakes but never addresses underlying causes.”

Daniel credited Goss with process focus, an attractive return on investment, a detailed installation plan and assurance that the new equipment would fit with existing prepress and press controls. Ragy, he said, “helped complete the implementation of a closed loop system, which was critical for maintaining tight controls on start-up.”

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