Sentinel’s printing a green, leaner process

The Daily Sentinel’s pressroom recently got a whole lot greener, so to speak, by making the switch to an all-digital thermal plate imager.

What does that mean?

According to press pros at the Sentinel, it means the elimination of harmful chemicals that previously were used to develop a film image of a page that would go in the newspaper. The film image would then be processed onto an aluminum plate, which was then bent and inserted into the press.

Chemical developer and silver were byproducts of the filmmaking process, which was used for years in the printing industry.

“By eliminating the (film) processor, it means there isn’t any chemistry to dispose of,” said Dave Drayer, prepress manager at The Daily Sentinel.

The aluminum printing plate that goes onto the press is now created digitally by the thermal plate imager.

“With a digital product, we can’t overexpose or underexpose the image,” Drayer said. “That makes for clearer and brighter pictures.”

The machine also produces plates at nearly double the rate of the previous process, making printing the newspaper a quicker job.

It’s just one more step that the newspaper is taking to reduce its carbon footprint. The daily paper already is printed using soy-based ink on 100 percent recycled newsprint. The aluminum plates and newsprint waste also are recycled.

“There are only 500 customers worldwide using the new Kodak PF-N nonprocess plate,” Drayer said of the new technology, adding it is state-of-the-art and produces precise images at a quicker pace.

The process also eliminates   the waste of ink and paper in an effort to find the right mix of color for every press run.

“It means we can produce an overall better-quality product,” Daily Sentinel Publisher Jay Seaton said.


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