Paper with a reduced grammage – a move by retailing towards optimised resource use
Leaflets continue to be an important means of advertising for retailing companies and in the course of a year constitute a large cost item. One possibility for cost optimisation is a slight reduction in paper grammage. Mathias Klee from Laakirchen Papier has noted this market tendency for some time and as a Technical Customer Service, he recently accompanied this type of product development for an international operating food retail chain in Hungary.
An international operating food retail chain in Hungary distributes over 100 million leaflets annually. A few weeks ago, the customer expressed its wish for a reduction in the grammage of the paper used to date. Accordingly, the SC paper GraphoMotion ordered from Laakirchen Papier should have a substance of 43g per square metre, as opposed to 45g in the past. In view of a yearly paper requirement amounting to thousands of tonnes, on the bottom line this weight reduction of 2g would represent resource as well as a cost optimisation. Therefore, in summer 2016, Laakirchen Papier started to work on the product development and among others, Mathias Klee, was involved.
Substance, opacity, gloss
In order to fulfil the retail chain´s request, three parameters consisting of substance, opacity and gloss had to be taken into special account. If the substance is reduced this has an effect on the opacity. Mathias Klee reported: “At Laakirchen Papier we claim to optimise all three parameters in such a way that a 43g magazine paper will retain good opacity and an attractive gloss. As a result, no differences should be discernible between the finished, printed leaflet and the GraphoMotion 45g version used up to now.”
With its enormous experience, the Laakirchen Papier AG’s research and development department knew exactly how it had to modify the recipe of its GraphoMotion 45g in order to attain the desired result. To this end, the paper specifications were adjusted in an initial step. This involved a slight alteration in the fibre mix consisting of chemical pulp, ground wood pulp and recycled paper, as well as the additives employed. Mineral fillers are important for opacity and the desired gloss is achieved through a perfected recipe and good calendering. Accordingly, in the course of the development phase the task was to measure the numerous paper parameters and then gradually optimise them. After only a short time, the 43g GraphoMotion SC paper went into test production and this paper is now waiting to be used in the Budapest printing house.
Two deliveries of super-calendered GraphoMotion 43g magazine paper from Laakirchen Papier stand now ready for processing. They are to be used for the production of some two million leaflets for the food retail chain in Hungary, which in itself is nothing unusual. However, the personnel in the printing house seem a little tense. Mathias Klee from Laakirchen Papier has arrived in order to accompany the production at the press. The trained printing specialist is there to support the team in the Hungarian printing house in his function as a technical customer service, owing to the fact that for the first time paper with a 2g-substance reduction is to be employed. Moreover, in spite of the new paper the leaflets are to retain their usual printing quality. It is these challenges that have to be jointly mastered.
Paper, printing machine, printer
The printers fed the first paper reel into the printing machine with a successful start-up. However, despite the delivery of the paper and the start of printing, the development project was far from over for Laakirchen Papier. Indeed, it was precisely at this point that Mathias Klee’s printing expertise came into play. He himself had long worked in the printing sector prior to becoming a technical customer service at Laakirchen Papier in 2008. Mathias Klee: “When I am on the spot, I can see the circumstances in which the paper is processed and how fast or slowly the printing machine runs as well as how the conditions of the printing process are. The personal contact with the printers means that open questions can be quickly answered and I am able to assist should my support be needed. For me, it is important that together we achieve an ideal printing process and a perfect printing result.”
Runnability is important
If for large retail companies price is an important paper purchasing criterion, as Mathias Klee knows only too well the runnability of the paper is the main concern of the printing houses: “Our paper simply has to run in the printing machine. The reels should not tear, have holes or present profile problems. As paper producers, we are aware that today no printing house can afford production losses and our claim to quality is based on this fact.”
From the outset, the newly developed GraphoMotion with its 43g substance ran smoothly in the Hungarian printing machine. Moreover, with a few correct adjustments, the printers achieved a perfect result with a very brief setting time. The international operating food retail chain and its advertising agency were most satisfied with the printing result and no consumer will notice the lighter paper when thumbing through the latest offers. Indeed, the leaflets feel the same and the printing result appears to be identical.
Mathias Klee is clearly happy with the successful conclusion of the project: “Paper is a natural product and we see this during every development process. However, from experience we know how to find the perfect solution for the customer.”