Winnipeg Free Press saves $213,000 on ink in one year

The Winnipeg Free Press recently added ProImage’s OnColor ECO Ink Optimization Software to reduce ink consumption on its offset press (and thus ink costs) while improving print quality. The Winnipeg Free Press prints over 85,000 newspapers daily as well as multiple commercial jobs. Their main objective was to save on ink – and with the installation of OnColor ECO, the newspaper experienced a 33% reduction of ink usage in 2017 compared to 2016. This relates to an annual saving of over $213,000 (in 2016 they spent $610,000 on ink compared to $397,000 in 2017). The newspaper was able to gauge its ink savings by monitoring its consumables from 2016 versus 2017 and accounting for page-count averages. And with ProImage/AGFA’s new loyalty program, its production costs were also reduced by 55¢ per square foot. OnColor ECO technology partially replaces cyan, magenta and yellow in an image with black, without compromising sharpness or quality. The conversion process reduces the overall ink volume required for printing. Cost reduction is achieved by both reducing the volume of the more expensive colour inks and replacing them with less-expensive black ink.

Basically, the technology is an ink-optimization application that reduces ink consumption on offset presses, while maintaining the highest possible print quality. OnColor ECO automatically analyzes PDF files and determines the exact amount of ink needed to produce the best quality, resulting in an ideal output using less ink. The software automatically converts pages to the right colour space, regardless of whether objects are RGB or CMYK. OnColor ECO automatically converts pages containing both pixel and vector data dynamically to the right colour space, while preserving the original colour appearance. By using an SISR unique algorithm, it ensures a close match between the output and the intended source space, even when it’s unknown. Easy-to-use sliders allow additional fine tuning without having to make new colour profiles. The software normalizes all colour content in both graphics and text (user configurable), while protecting pure colours, spot colours and the grey control bar.

Christine Fehler.
Christine Fehler.

The newspaper had previously used ProImage NewsWay Workflow Software when OnColor ECO was installed – and the new software integrated seamlessly with it. OnColor Eco appears as a device in the NewsWay Production Workflow, and because it receives files from Asura, it hands them off to the RIPs after processing. “It works like other NewsWay devices in that it can be applied or bypassed by a single mouse click right within the browser,” said Christine Fehler, Vice President of Operations at the Winnipeg Free Press. One of the major benefits of ECO for her and her team is the “good balance of ink savings and print quality the default settings provide.” She added that it “required no adjustments.” The newspaper has also reported cleaner press runs and less clogging. Also, the final printed results were more accurate when compared to the digital PDF “than any other solution they evaluated.”


Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.