Combining silky smoothness, a fabulous print finish and great fingertip appeal, UPM Impresse Plus C is a new paper for high-end coldset web offset applications. We take a peek behind the scenes of its ongoing customer-driven development process.
The original idea for Impresse Plus C came from UPM's technical sales teams, who work closely with customers around Europe and pass on their suggestions to mills. They proposed that UPM should test the suitability of its current SC papers for coldset printing.
"We listen carefully to what our customers require, and we're always ready to evaluate all their good ideas here at the mill to match their needs tomorrow," says Olli Juntunen, Product Manager at UPM Jämsä River Mills, where the project began in summer 2015.
"After the initial trials we noticed that our SC paper was giving surprisingly good printing results in coldset applications, too. There were some runnability issues, however, and some initial compatibility issues with inks. Too much ink was building up on the common impression cylinder," reveals Juntunen.
The beauty of trial and error
Using trial and error as the driving force of creativity, the UPM development team kicked off the R&D process in earnest at the end of 2015. The new paper underwent laboratory tests at the UPM R&D centre to analyse the impact of various technical modifications. The product was simultaneously tested by selected customers, who gave immediate feedback.
"The biggest challenge was making the structure of the paper 'open' enough for coldset printing," adds Kimmo Finnilä, Engineer, Development and Technical Customer Service at PM6, which produces the paper.
Smoothness and shine
As often happens in R&D, the project met with its fair share of challenges. "At one stage we almost lost the wow factor – the print finish wasn't looking great anymore. But thanks to our precise and systematic modifications, we were able to return the smoothness and shine," says Finnilä.
UPM Impresse Plus C offers a smooth, luxuriant finish that helps CSWO printed publications truly stand out. This makes it ideal for highend applications such as retail advertisements, special interest newspapers and magazines. It is not necessarily the easiest product to print, however, as it requires extensive knowledge from the printer and optimization on press. But, when the balance is right, the end result is well worth the extra effort.
"I think this paper looks brilliant. We have a great product that truly catches the reader's eye. Next it's up to our sales team and CSWO printers to make this innovation a success," concludes Juntunen.
A brilliant sample of talent-pooling at Jämsä River Mills: (from right) SC expert Kimmo Finnilä joined forces with newsprint specialist Mikko Aho, Product Manager Olli Juntunen and Veli-Pekka Laurila to test SC papers in CSWO printing in summer 2015. (Photo: Pekka Rötkönen)
Where does this product fit into the UPM product range?
UPM Impresse Plus C will enlarge UPM's offering for our coldset customer base. We will be able to offer outstanding print quality with high smoothness, a nice feel and a magazine-style appearance to support our customers' print competitiveness. The product has a high bulk (1.1) and brightness level of 80.
What are your expectations for this product?
We will meet future customer needs by improving the competitiveness of coldset printing. UPM Impresse Plus C will enable our customers to expand their product offering especially in the commercial printing of contractual titles, inserts and value-adding advertising material. On top of this, we offer a competitive advantage to our coldset customers in segments such as special weekend publications and magazine-type products. This will push coldset printing towards higher added-value printing products.
What's the next step?
In the final pre-launch stage, we will work closely with printers with different kinds of printing machines to fine-tune the product's printability and gain enough experience for the commercial launch in the coming months.