It's always a pleasure to show visitors the different parts of our newspaper operation. Please step this way. Here you see our printing presses, and you probably notice the smell of the printer's ink. This is where the paper is printed.
Printing is a really messy process because of the black, oil-based ink we use. You've read newspapers and come away with the black ink all over your hands, and then probably gotten it on your clothes or on the woodwork at home, right? That may change soon, with the use of a different type of ink. Several major daily newspapers are now trying out a new printing process called flexography. This process produces smear-free pages use water-based inks that dry quickly, not like the standard oil-based inks that take much longer to dry. The new flexography inking process is also simpler and faster than the standard method. There's one major problem, though. The ink may dry too quickly, and thereby gum up the machine. It could obstruct the presses, so that they won't work right, or it might cause them to break down altogether. If the machines clog too easily, the process will have to be changed and retested. There's a possibility our newspaper will convert to the flexography process sometime soon. In any case, our readers have already expressed a definite preference for the new smudgeless paper ... and clean hands.