As web offset machines have become faster over the years, newspaper and book printers are looking at ancillary devices to further boost productivity levels. In that sense the MonoSpray system designed and manufactured by Shree Refrigerations and marketed by TechNova addresses the challenge to achieve an optimum ink-water balance on the high-speed presses.
“This is especially beneficial in the Indian market where local Indian newsprint and economical inks are used to achieve better competitiveness,” says Abhijit Saoji, vice president, Shree Refrigerations.
The MonoSpray system has an upper hand over the conventional brush dampening systems that have been widely used in the industry. In the brush dampening system the brush bristles continuously spray droplets of the fountain solution on the printing plates.
“However, there are inherent inefficiencies and limitations of brush dampening systems such as lack of fine control on spraying, wastage of water, accumulation of ink, oil, paper fluff, algae formation in the chiller and pipes, and higher power consumption,” highlights Saoji.
Shree Refrigerations’ new spray dampening system comprises of nozzles, pressurised tank, doser, PLC, touch screen PC and software. The electronically-controlled nozzles and non-recirculating system, wherein a fresh fountain solution is sprayed through individually controlled nozzles to supply different amount of fountain solution based on an ink coverage on different areas of a plate.
Saoji says, “The spray nozzle technology is from Sweden-based Inventor Graphics which is a world leader in spray dampening technology for offset printing. Shree’s craftsmanship and TechNova’s network, relationship and expertise make it a perfect package for customers.”
When asked how is the new system different from the dampening systems available in the market, Saoji says, “There’s an air pressurised seal tank which gives constant pressure to the spray bar as against the high-pressure pump being used by other competing systems, to maintain constant pressure.”
“The biggest advantage,” Saoji says, “comes with an inbuilt low capacity chiller – two tonne of refrigeration for up to 6x4 Hi and three tonnes of refrigeration for up to 8x4 Hi – which helps to save power.”
Saoji explains, “This is achieved by using a pneumatically pressurised close tank for fountain solution. When a spray bar is not spraying, there is no delivery from the pressure tank unlike the other systems which use a high pressure pump to continuously circulate fountain solution at high pressure to the spray bars and back to tank. This unnecessary circulation heats up the fountain thereby requiring a separate chiller.”
The added advantage of the closed tank is that it prevents evaporation of chemicals from the fountain solution thereby eliminating the requirement of a chiller even in hostile Indian summer.
According to TechNova’s COO for newspaper business, Amit Khurana, this has been proven at many installations. TechNova and Shree Refrigerations have installed more than hundred spray dampening systems since the collaboration. These include marquee names like Eenadu, Dainik Bhaskar, Amar Ujala, Matrubhoomi, Lokmat, and Daily Thanthi.
Khurana says, “The system offers huge benefits to customers such as better print quality, reduction in waste disposal, zero contamination, and no fear of algae and bacteria formation among others. The return on investment is quick thanks to reduction in paper waste, electricity consumption, fount, water and ink savings and much lower maintenance costs.”
Emphasising the versatility of the system, Kurana says, “The system can be installed on all kinds of coldset and heatset machines. It can be factory fitted in the new machines as well as retrofitted on machines having brush dampening sytems.”
Substantiating the manufacturer’s claims, Pradeep A Unny, associate vice-president production and commercial, Amar Ujala, says, “The new spray dampening for us was not just another enhancement in our machinery. It has given us huge savings in water, fount, ink, electricity and machine downtime. TechNova helped us with a cost effective and customised spray dampening solution that has enhanced the overall efficiency of our shopfloor.”
This also means that lesser maintenance, lesser moving parts such as pumps, compressors, and fans, etc and also lesser space on shopfloor. Also, when we look at the fountain solution tank, we observe that the capacity is small, just 16 litres as opposed to commonly used 400 litres capacity. Saoji explains that this ensures fountain solution is prepared just few minutes before consumption, and fresh solution is made only after the first mix is consumed. “Thus we can eliminate the need to drain the tank full of fountain solution on a weekly basis due to bacteria growth and loss of mix quality.”
D Ranganathan, assistant general manager – production at Daily Thanthi, says, “The spray dampening ensures that your fountain solution always remains fresh. For us this not only means cost savings but also hassle-free working environment, no more laborious cleaning of dirty chillers resulting in lower maintenance and reduction in use of chemicals.”
When it comes to spray dampening system, valves are critical components. It is valves that operate at very high on-off frequency (very short cycle time), to give a consistent performance across a wider input water pressure, to deliver a spray with shortest open time, consistent performance over a longer period of time and reliability. Saoji says, “These are ensured by a valve with teflon plunger seal, light plunger and strong spring operated by a powerful coil. These valves are rated to perform even when submerged in water.”
The plunger seal made of teflon enables instantaneous open-close action of the valve. “This also means consistent performance over the life as teflon seats do not change their characteristics like rubber seats, hence minimal wear and tear,” says Saoji.
Talking about pricing, Khurana says, “It’s a completely customisable solution as per width of press, number of units, number of towers and make or type of machine. Our pricing is quite competitive and practical in today’s competitive scenario moreover so far we have successfully demonstrated quicker ROIs through significant value from money savings and other tangible and intangible benefits.”
3.5 - 4.5 bar
Valve open time
TechNova Imaging Systems