Amar Ujala’s green drive includes solar power, chemistry free plates, ink saving, recycling ...

One of the top Hindi dailies in North India with 19 editions and 18 printing centres, Amar Ujala is very clear about its green agenda.

Pradeep A Unny, associate vice-president, production and Atul Kumar Goel, DGM, production, Amar Ujala Publications, share the details with Rahul Kumar

11 Oct 2017 | By Rahul Kumar

With its headquarters in Noida, Amar Ujala is circulated in seven states and one union territory, covering 179 districts. According to latest ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulation) data, the paper boasts a circulation number of 2,938,173 copies per day. With Amar Ujala Publication, going from strength to strength, you can attribute one aspect of this strength to the company’s vision of using available technology and resources to save on waste and spending. 
Printing plates 
Amar Ujala Publications has 18 printing centres and 39 platestters. It was the among few newspaper publication houses which used thermal printing plates. Now, 30% of the total plate consumption is violet and rest 70% is thermal. Of these, 20% of violet plates are green plates (viogreen) that run on neutral chemistry. In June 2017, Amar Ujala consumed 135,000 plates (576x800mm) which converts to approximately 45,000 sq/m plates. 
“We are using neutral chemistry plates from TechNova. Kodak process-free plates are under trial,” Pradeep A Unny, associate vice-president, production, Amar Ujala Publications, said, adding, “Earlier, printing plates were highly alkaline and draining of those plates was hazardous for the production staff as well as the environment.”
On the possibility of using Kodak process-free plates in the future, Unny said, “We are testing these plates. If we decide to use these plates, they will remove the processor from plate production. Technology is moving towards this goal. Sooner or later, printing plates will be process-free.”
He said since there will be no temperature control and chemical change, quality of the plates will improve, as opposed to manual intervention, which disturbs the quality of plates.
Initially, the company opted for violet plates to meet the rising demand for print orders. “Right now, we print more than 3,300,000 copies daily,” he added. 
Currently, Amar Ujala is using neutral chemistry plates at its four centres, Kanpur, Lucknow, Varanasi and Agra (which has been fully converted into neutral chemistry).
“Neutral chemistry plates are good for employees. There is no danger for skin and eyes. Since there is no fume, there is also no danger in inhaling the air during production. With this, the life of electrical appliances has increased, along with increased print length,” Unny added.
Countering the argument that green measures are expensive, he said while the quality of the plates is the same, TechNova has also helped with concession price.
Spray dampening 
The newspaper publication house recently invested in five new printing presses – two (Lucknow and Kanpur) have been installed and three (Varanasi, Agra and Dehradun) are yet to be installed. It has opted for spray dampening systems for all the new printing presses. 
With this, Goel said, water consumption has been reduced up to 30%. It is also working on ROI for implementation of the spray dampening on existing printing presses. 
“We have installed spray dampening system from Shree Refrigeration. Spray dampening does not waste water and it works on demand format. Wherever you require dampening, the nozzles can be operated accordingly. No extra water means nothing to recycle,” Goel said. With this, the company is saving an average of 500 litres of water and 10 litres of chemicals for dampening.
Ink saving software 
Amar Ujala recently installed inks saving software ArkitexOptiInk from Agfa. TechNova represents Agfa in India. “We have purchased one license and two are in process. Presently, it is implemented in the Noida centre,” Unny said.
Because of the software, the company could save around 10% printing ink in the first month of installation. “Our total consumption of printing inks in the Noida plant is 24 tonne per month (15-tonne colour cyan, magenta and yellow, and nine-tonne black). Our colour ink consumption went down to 13.5 tonne and consumption of black increased a little, which is manageable. We could save around Rs seven lakh in one month,” Unny added.
Recycled newsprint 
The company’s maximum consumption of newsprint is recycled, which comes to around 90%. “It means, we do not promote trees cutting,” Goel said. The company’s total consumption of newsprint is 8,500 tonnes. 
Waste treatment  
Each printing plant of Amar Ujala is equipped with water harvesting system.”Now, we are planning for STP (sewage treatment plant) and chemical treatment plant at all printing centres,” Goel concluded.
Solar power 
In 2015, Amar Ujala Publication installed a solar power system at its Agra plant, where the newspaper was founded in 1948. The capacity of the solar power plant is 100kw. The solar power plant is directly linked with the grid, so whenever the plant has excess power, it is transferred to the local power house. 
According to Atul Kumar Goel, DGM, production, Amar Ujala Publications, the power from the solar plant has helped reduce electricity bills. “Right now, the solar power has not been directly helpful in production (especially running the press), but in future, it may be possible. We have plans to use solar power for all official usage,” Goel said.
Next, the company is setting up similar plants in Rohtak (50kw), Meerut (50kw) and Jhansi (50kw).

TechNova’s green technologies

TechNova Imaging Systems has been at the forefront of promoting green print technologies in India. Amit Khurana, COO, newspaper group, TechNova, sheds some highlights into the company’s activities

VioGreen chem-free violet photopolymer CTP plates:
Launched in 2009, these plates eliminate the use of water and chemistry. Since its launch, newspapers and commercial printers have both shown tremendous interest in these plates.
Azura chem-free thermal CTP plates:
It is designed for use by commercial printers as well as newspapers, promoted by TechNova, from Agfa.
It is the world’s lowest cost-in-use, chemistry-free CTP solution. The SmartJet inkjet platesetter can image GreenJet, as well as PoliJet, the world’s first and only no-process polyester inkjet CTP plate.
Spray Damp Systems:
TechNova offers Spray Damp Systems from Inventor Graphic System Sweden and Shree Refrigeration.
TechNova promotes various software like such as ink saving, special screenings DM and FM, colour correction, etc.
Fountain solutions:
TechNova offers a green range of fountain solutions that has zero VOC dampening additives.

Industry reception
As in other parts of the world, the Indian printing industry has now understood the adverse effects of pollution generated by the industry. The new generation of technocrats within the industry are eager for a green alternative. They understand that while the progress may be a little slow, every small step will result in substantial benefits in the future.

Big Green Initiators
The biggest traction towards green solutions in India is clearly seen in financially sound, large publishing houses since most of them have specific budget allocations for their environmental initiatives.
BCCL, Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhaskar, ABP, Sakal, Lokmat, RPL, Indian Express, Hind Samachar, Jagati Publications, Prabhat Khabar, Amar Ujala, Printers Mysore are some of the names that have taken a lead in opting for green solutions in India.

India vs the world
India is currently the fifth largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world. However, since we have one sixth of the world’s population, our emissions per capita are currently low. Thankfully, Indian printers have recognised the impact of the printing industry on the environment, and are positive about taking steps to reduce their impact on the environment.