FOGRA – Materials and Environment
In the Federal Republic of Germany there are more than a hundred industries whose medium sized member companies have banded together to form associations for joint industrial research. The umbrella organisation for these research organisations is the German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AIF) of which Fogra is a founding member.
It is the task of AIF members to investigate questions that might help companies to increase production reliability and quality. Typical German or Swiss attitude…not a bad thing when concerned about efficiency!
Fogra have around 800 members, their budget per annum is Euro 5.5 million. So it stands to reason that they do some good work as they have been in existence since 1951. Their research focuses on the following areas:
Prepress – digital reproduction, control devices and acceptance tests
Printing Techniques – offset, screen and digital printing, tone value increase etc
Print Finishing & ID Cards – bookbinding and finishing, quality properties of ID cards and passports, RFID and other printed security products.
Materials and Environment – For all of the above including Physio-chemical analysis and de-inking
Consumables (paper, ink, varnish, automatic wash cloth)
Additives (fountain solutions, cleaning and washing agents)
Our focus at Printequip is about advancing efficiency by implementing the use of highly researched and developed consumable products which adhere to standards relating to the environment and OEM requirements.
Adhering to the standards laid down by the Fogra institute ensure that the value of the press is maintained into the future and that the production process is cost effective.
Press Room Chemistry is an area that has seen significant development in the area of press care. German press manufacturers are using lightweight high quality alloys which save energy but are more prone to corrosion. So founts and washes with corrosion inhibitors are becoming more popular in Europe as printers seek to reduce long term maintenance costs. There is also a continued trend to reduce VOC’s by reducing IPA and raising the flashpoints of solvents and use aliphatic hydrocarbons instead of aromatic hydrocarbons which evaporate less and are far less hazardous to human being and make them more environmentally friendly.
German press manufacturers Heidelberg, Manroland and KBA are insisting that printers use consumables like roller and blanket washes of a certain performance standard. In the case of fountain solutions the German press manufacturers, the German test institutes (Fogra/MPA Darmstadt), and the most important fountain solutions manufacturers developed a standard for corrosion and swelling properties. Products meeting these demands are listed by the press manufacturers and on the Fogra website.
These press manufacturers are even writing this into their warranties that only these listed (approved) products can be used, a deviation could mean that the press’s warranty is invalidated. At face value this may seem like a clever ploy to keep the ongoing consumables business in the hands of a small circle of players but this couldn’t be further from the truth!
Any manufacturer of consumables or additives for printing presses can submit their products for approval and or certification to Fogra and MPA Darmstadt. As mentioned there are stringent criteria laid down in terms of what is acceptable in terms of raw materials being used with a strong focus on environment and also maintaining the press value in the future.