Swiss newspaper becomes first in the world to print 100% digitally using Manroland, HP and Mueller Martini technology

The first copies of the 100% digitally printed Walliser Bote newspaper.
The first copies of the 100% digitally printed Walliser Bote newspaper.

Traditional Swiss offset daily newspaper Walliser Bote made printing history worldwide June 15 when it began production of the world’s first high-speed, 100% digitally printed newspaper.

Walliser Bote delivers the news to the Valais region in Switzerland and is published Monday to Saturday. Current circulation is between 22,000 and 32,000 copies with approximately 24 pages per issue.

Initially, the digital newspaper will be produced in tabloid format with postal fold, as well as a broadsheet product in Berliner format. The Mengis Group (Mengis Druck AG) and Manroland Web Sysems were project managers on the ambitious, unprecedented project.

The flexible folding technology of Manroland Web Systems’ FoldLine offered new production possibilities.
The flexible folding technology of Manroland Web Systems’ FoldLine offered new production possibilities.

“The realization of this project was an example of great teamwork,” said Thomas Knaier, Project Manager at Manroland Web Systems.

“The total integration of the workflow that consisted of an HP T400 Color Inkjet Press, the format and cut-off variable finishing line FoldLine from Manroland Web Systems, and the mail-order house technology from Mueller Martini, was a groundbreaking project that was also a lot of fun. The co-operation of all the involved partners with Mengis Druck AG will be remembered for a long time. The schedule was tight but together, we did it.”

Project Managers from Mengis Group set a milestone in newspaper printing.
Project Managers from Mengis Group set a milestone in newspaper printing.

The main reasons for changing production technology were lower circulations and a required regionalization.  The new production line will also be used to print variable-data products such as digital books, personalized direct mail and print products for targeted, personalized advertising. The folding technology of FoldLine will also allow the newspaper to print its own publications and commercial print products for local customers. “The goal is to change our company to a local, digital printing house in the future,” the newspaper added.

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.