Comeback of the Cortina User Workshop

After a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Cortina users and supplier industry partners from all over the world were at last able to revive their annual get-together this year. At the 16th Cortina User Workshop in St. Gallen, Switzerland, they shared experiences on various aspects of the waterless offset printing process. The workshop was, at the same time, an opportunity to bid farewell to Peter Benz, the “father” of this much-loved conference series.

The participants had been asked to contribute their thoughts on current issues and developments in the run-up to the actual workshop. Using this as its basis, Koenig & Bauer prepared a comprehensive and diverse agenda of analyses and news for the two-day event, which was attended by over 100 users and partners.

The topics ranged from recent developments at Koenig & Bauer to new findings from the supplier industry and challenges posed by the market. Many of the presentations triggered lively discussions, underlining once more the importance of face-to-face conferences like this one. In future, a number of round table working groups will also be added to the workshop.

Subjects presented and discussed included predictive maintenance, technical innovations for the Cortina press, energy-saving measures and the development of a new pneumatic distributor roller, alongside insights from experiences with plate peeling problems, long-term tests of anilox rollers and further advances in printing plate technologies. The agenda also offered insights into developments in the paper industry, the challenges faced by ink manufacturers and quality-enhancing processes in newspaper printing as they relate to energy and material costs.

One central understanding to emerge from the two-day workshop was that the benefits of the waterless Cortina press remain as effective as ever today. In cooperation with Q.I. Press Controls, a closed-loop colour control solution was, for example, realised for Cortina user Coldset Printing Partners (CPP) in Paal-Beringen, Belgium. The Cortina press sections at CPP were installed in 2018 and the closed-loop colour control system IDS-3D was commissioned a year later. The conclusion reached in the presentation given by Q.I. Press Controls, namely that no other coldset/heatset press series is better suited for closed-loop control solutions, was met with overwhelming approval at the Cortina User Workshop.

For Peter Benz, the former project manager responsible for the Cortina press at Koenig & Bauer, this was his last user workshop. Dubbed “Mr Cortina” by his industry colleagues, the Swiss national took his well-earned retirement at the end of last year after a career devoted to advancing waterless newspaper printing. ‘The Cortina series is today a highly developed solution which, in my eyes, continues to deliver the optimum combination of economic efficiency, quality and sustainability,’ said Peter Benz during a conversation on the fringes of the workshop.

Responsibility for the Cortina series will now pass from Peter Benz to Georg Zitterbart. And the Cortina User Workshop will also be back again in 2023, this time with Rodi Media from Diemen in the Netherlands as host and partner.