"Alcohol on the press disguises problems"

Updated: Jun 16

Head of Production Henry Smit at Royal Hoitsema in Groningen (NL) has a lot of experience with alcohol-free printing. "It's better for the operators and for the environment. So why would you want to print with toxic alcohol?"


Henry Smit works at the oldest, still active printing company in the Netherlands. The history of Royal Hoitsema Labels goes back to 1624. Smit himself has been active in the graphic industry for 34 years.


“Producing paper labels or cardboard packaging can be done in many ways, using different materials. Our motto here is 'Design to be sustainable' and make use of the possibilities that exist', you can read on Hoitsema's website.


Henry Smit: "Alcohol on the press disguises problems. You increase your margins and your settings are less critical. Still, that's not a good reason to print with alcohol. We have three MAN Roland presses here, two type 706 and one type 708. Over a year ago, Wifac advised us to test with Tower's Millennium 1000. I have a lot of experience with non-alcoholic printing. The claim that this would run without any problems, I took with a grain of salt. However, the transition went, as promised, wrinkle-free.


Still, after some time in production we ran into some issues: we got problems with too much moisture. So we switched to Tower's Millennium HSW-200EU fountain solution and now the operators don't want it any other way".


Best of the best

"For the operators, running without alcohol at first takes some getting used to. Everyone, especially the operators, has to stand behind it. After a while, there is also understanding for the reasons: better for health, the press is by definition better adjusted and the quality of the printed matter improves. We want to produce as good, as clean and as environmentally friendly as possible. Not because customers demand it necessarily now, but simply because it's better for everyone. At Hoitsema, we want the best of the best".


"In April this year, our third press is scheduled for major maintenance. After that we will also switch to Tower Millennium HSW-200EU on this last press. Than we have banned all alcohol from the company."