Pyhäjoki & Neighbourhood

Hannu Salmi, Managing Director of Botnia Print, and Pertti Salonen, Printer of Botnia Print, demonstrate how a dry offset printing press works. Photos by Esa Melametsä

Green printing house turns 10 years old

Fennovoima's stakeholder magazine Fennonen is printed by Botnia Print in Kokkola, where sustainable development is both a fundamental value and a selling point.

When the printing house was established ten years ago, it immediately made a bold move: a dry offset printing press, which is the only one of its kind in Finland, was started in May 2010. Dry offset makes printing clearly more environmentally friendly than traditional printing methods.

Hannu Salmi, the company’s Managing Director, says that other options were considered, but dry offset finally proved to be the most attractive option.

“It was a bold move but a wise one, as we soon found out. It has allowed us to stand out from among the competition,” says Salmi, who became the company’s managing director in 2011.

Salmi says that customers are becoming increasingly eco-conscious.

“Five years ago, they asked about environmental issues, but ultimately made their decision based on the price. You can see that they put much more emphasis on ecological sustainability now,” he says.

High quality – in a sustainable manner  

Dry offset printing allows for much more precise print quality than traditional offset printing, as well as clear, crisp colors that do not smear. The waterless printing process is also extremely environmentally friendly, because no chemicals or oils are needed – and the paper is recycled too.

However, the key sustainability benefit of dry offset is the fact that it generates much less waste or maculature than the offset method. There may be hundreds or thousands of scrap copies when printing a newspaper using the traditional methods, while the situation is completely different when using dry offset.

“At worst, we may generate a couple of dozen scrap copies,” Salmi says. Botnia Print used approximately 5,500 metric tons of paper in 2018.

Despite the excellent accuracy, dry offset is – at least for the time being – a rare printing method, even globally. Salmi says that there are only a little over twenty similar newspaper printing houses around the world.

“There is a dry offset cluster in Central Europe, and the closest ones from our perspective are in Sweden and Denmark,” he says.

According to Hannu Salmi, customers are becoming increasingly eco-conscious.

Shared goal

The seasoned newspaper printing house prints all kinds of products, but the newspapers of its principal owners, KPK Yhtiöt Oyj and HSS Media Ltd – such as Keski-Pohjanmaa and Vasabladet – create the core of its business.

“We print more and more magazine-type products and direct mail letters.”

The Fennonen magazine joined the “ranks” of Botnia Print in 2014. Fennovoima was attracted by the printing house’s strong emphasis on environmental issues, as well as the high quality.

"A local approach to improve vitality of the region is also tremendously important for us."   

In addition to the printing process itself being environmentally friendly, the paper used for Fennonen has been sustainably manufactured. This means, for instance, that three new trees are planted to replace each tree felled to make the paper.

Hannu Salmi says that the collaboration with Fennovoima has been extremely productive: the companies have established good communication, and they have been able to resolve all challenges met along the way.

“We are very satisfied with the cooperation, and based on the feedback we have received, the customer is satisfied too,” Salmi says.

Investing in the future

As Botnia Print celebrates its tenth anniversary in May, it is clear that the company has other trump cards in addition to the commitment in the principles of sustainable development. Salmi points out that having stable finances – i.e., running a profitable business – is naturally important, now and in the future.

“A local approach to improve vitality of the region is also tremendously important for us.”

The company has prepared for the future with a variety of investments, the latest of them being a new Ferag SNT-50 cutter, the second one of its kind for the printing house.  The cutter, which was commissioned in November 2019, has renewed the newspaper bundle transport and palletizer line.

Salmi says that the investment significantly shortened the turnaround time of cut products, which also increased the available capacity. The investment is also part of the company’s risk management: there are now two cutters instead of just one.

“The first Ferag cutter that we acquired in 2014 was actually out of operation for a couple of days in early January – but this did not influence our production volume at all, thanks to the new cutter,” Salmi reveals.

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