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German Presses and Fogra

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  • German Presses and Fogra

    In the USA if we buy a German made press we are required to use Fogra certified chemistry to be in compliance with warranties.

    The Japanese presses do not require Fogra certifed chemistry.

    What are the practices in other countries concerning Fogra and German made presses?

    Thank you

    Pat Berger

    Mercer Color

    Edited by: Pat Berger on Jan 17, 2008 12:23 PM

  • #2
    Re: German Presses and Fogra

    I have bought about 25 presses in the last 30 years and have never heard that happens in the UK



    • #3
      Re: German Presses and Fogra

      This started in the European mainland where there were 20 countries and 500 brands of fountain solution, lubricants, and cleaning solutions. Some of these chemicals were very corrosive and flammable and destroyed cylinders and rubber gaskets. Without the Fogra seal of approval for these various chemicals, the warranty for the press was void. Sort of makes sense, since it must have been costing Heidelberg a ton of Deutschmarks. The onus is on the suppliers of the chemicals to get the approval, not the printers.
      Now it's filtering over the pond, where the state of chemical anarchy is not as great. The first emphasis that I remember was to minimize corrosion of cylinder jackets, and involved using fountain solution that had a pH about 5, more like Europe. By now, I think such products have been formulated, but ask Prisco.
      I don't think they tell you what to use, they give a list to choose from of approved products. Surely it is for the good of the investment.
      John Lind
      Cranberry Township PA


      • #4
        Re: German Presses and Fogra

        I always go with what they say anyway (but bever knew it was a requirement) - when there are problems in the early stages it just takes away the chemistry variable.

        Its like when you have a Xerox machine you always have Xerox paper in the machine when th engineer arrives :-)



        • #5
          Re: German Presses and Fogra

          Fogra did a lot of research on supplies.
          They have a huge library of research documents and suggestions to improve the printing process.
          Some of them are free, some reports are sold. Some are in the German language, some are translated in English.
          They also provide certification for proofers and proof supplies such as substrates.
          Some proofing system vendors (even from the US) insist on the Fogra calibration of their systems installed in Germany and other German speaking countries. At that moment the Fogra certified substrate is the basic paper for the calibration process.
          We would save some money if the PIA/GATF could use this documentation for their members.
          PIA/GATF just started to sell the quality control tools of UGRA (Swiss Grahic Arts Research) and Fogra (German Graphic Arts Research).
          Perhaps PIA/GATF could extend this cooperation by providing more of this knowledge.
          The German vendors could then refer to GATF documents instead of Fogra and UGRA.


          • #6
            Re: German Presses and Fogra

            I have decided NOT to purchase any new presses made in Germany so I won't be restricted to using chemistry that is not Coneg certified.
            To the best of my knowledge there is not a single item on any Fogra list that has been Coneg certified.
            If I am wrong on this please let me know.
            Fogra's chemicals list are for corrosive properties to metal, plastics and rubber components of the printing machines.

            Thank you

            Pat Berger


            • #7
              Re: German Presses and Fogra

              This is a translated extract from today's Deutscher Drucker
              Druckforum is an event currently taking place in Stuttgart
              The agreement referred to below is a follow up to one signed earlier by Heidelberg and KBA
              In both cases the certification of the materials is to be carried out by Fogra
              I imagine it is agreements such as this one that are at the root of the situation you are now experiencing

              "The UV printing working group at Druckforum: A highlight of the evening was the signing of a joint letter of intent by Heidelberger Druckmaschinen, KBA and now MAN Roland on the development and introduction of generally applicable standards for the certification of UV and hybrid printing materials.."


              • #8
                Re: German Presses and Fogra

                I am curious how this will translate into the US market. Especially in southern California where there is a much more stringent requirement for press chemistries. The only low VOC wash (under 100gr/lt.) that is Fogra certified to my knowledge is from a Germany manufacture, interesting. There is a low VOC wash that is out there, that is manufactured by a US company, that I have heard form those that have used both washes say the US product is much better and can be used with conventional and UV inks. The Germany one is only for conventional inks. I can't imagine the US market being forced into using sub par products just because they are Fogra certified. As Pat B. has stated, he is at least one printer who has chosen not to buy a Germany press just for this issue.


                • #9
                  Re: German Presses and Fogra

                  As I understand it, the point of the certification procedures agreed between the German press manufacturers and Fogra is to provide a framework for the testing of products in relation to their various properties and in the specific case of voiding warranties their corrosive properties.
                  They do not say you must buy product X or product Y, that you must buy a German product or a US product, they do not say you must buy a product I or one of my cat's paws produces. They say you are free to buy any product on this list.

                  By compiling an approved list of chemicals that have been checked for corrosive properties the manufacturers are of course seeking to control their warranty exposure, but not unreasonably. If you bought a diesel car, filled it with petrol and blew the engine would you expect it to be covered by warranty?
                  However, they are also developing a scheme that protects you. If you use a product that corrodes your press it costs you time and money even if the warranty covers the repair.
                  Wouldn't it be better not to corrode the press in the first place?

                  One of the points of the German press manufacturers jointly agreeing on certification procedures and using Fogra to do the certification is that it makes it neutral.

                  Since three of the world's largest press manufacturers happen to be German, are headquartered there and carry out the bulk of their R&D and manufacturing there and Fogra is the local research institute it is natural for them to turn to Fogra as the certifying body.

                  However, the Fogra list or lists is/are not written in stone. Any company from any country can submit its products for certification and products can be added to the lists at any time. There is nothing to stop the US manufacturer of low VOC wash you refer to from submitting it to Fogra for certification.

                  Now you might say this is all very well but in practice it costs time and money and whatever they say 'publicly' it's all just a cosy little German cartel. To which I would respond
                  1/ The best way of ensuring it is a cosy German cartel is by refusing to engage with it.
                  2/ Yes certification will take time and money - so does any certification procedure not just Fogra, think quality assurance, environmental management, process standard offset and all those ISO numbers people increasingly brandish; but at the end of the day you have an objectively certified product and you can use the certification as a marketing tool or as a means of entering markets that are currently closed to you.
                  If your US manufacturer of low VOC wash really does have a product that is much better than its German competitor then Fogra certification would allow it to wipe the floor in the German market - a market which at present is presumably closed to it.

                  You might say that by trying to insist on the use of Fogra certified products, which, whatever the theoretical position, in practice gives German consumables manufacturers a head start, the German manufacturers are excluding many perfectly good products from the US, for example; that many of these match or exceed the properties of the certified products but whose manufacturers have not certified them with Fogra because of the time, expense, funny language (everybody I know at Fogra speaks English), low profile in the US.... whatever.

                  Leaving aside the fact that there is no inherent bar to a US manufacturer having its products certified by Fogra, there is no absolute reason why Fogra has to be the certifying body The current agreements between the manufacturers are with Fogra but that is really for historical and geographical reasons. What Fogra brings to the party is its expertise and neutrality. There is no intrinsic reason why some other body, let us call it the Californian Institute of Green Printing, with the same level of expertise and neutrality couldn't serve as a local certifying body. Of course agreements would have to be reached between it and the manufacturers, ideally between it and the other certifying authorities to ensure they are all singing from the same hymn sheet; but in theory it could be done.

                  If there are lots of good US products, If US printers want to buy them, if there is the expertise to set up a certification system in the US - and I'm sure you'll answer yes to all of these - then why not set up a local equivalent in the US with the US operations of the German manufacturers; ideally working to the same criteria as the German system so we don't introduce yet another set of competing standards. Then US printers will be able to buy their favoured products, US manufacturers will not be put to the time and expense of gaining some weird foreign certification and the press manufacturer's primary interest of ensuring somebody doesn't try to use hydrofluoric acid to clean their press is protected.

                  There is a somewhat analogous situation with PSO certification in Germany. There is a common national/international standard but most companies are actually certified by their local regional federation - 1 standard overseen by several linked bodies


                  • #10
                    Re: German Presses and Fogra

                    The following link is o Fogra


                    Below is a portion of the pdf

                    F or which printing machines can the
                    technical approval testing be carried
                    At the present time this test is carried
                    out by Fogra on behalf of the following
                    machine manufacturers and washing
                    installation manufacturers:
                    Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG
                    [sheet-fed offset ]
                    MAN Roland Druckmaschinen AG
                    [sheet-fed offset and weboffset]
                    Koenig & Bauer AG [sheet-fed offset
                    and weboffset]
                    Baldwin Germany GmbH
                    Baldwin Oxy-Dry GmbH
                    technotrans AG

                    W hat steps are necessary to arrange
                    for the testing of a washing
                    First of all the “Berufsgenossenschaft
                    Druck und Papierverarbeitung” requires
                    details of the composition in order to
                    assess risks to health. It goes without
                    saying, that this information is treated
                    as highly confidential. Fogra requires a
                    written order, the safety data sheet for
                    the product and a certain quantity of the
                    washing agent. The quantity depends on
                    the type of printing machine for which
                    the test is to be carried out. Furthermore,
                    it is advisable to contact the manufacturer
                    of the printing machine or the
                    washing system in question since some
                    manufacturers also require a practical
                    test to check the washing performance
                    of the washing agent.

                    What happens when the work has
                    been commissioned?
                    When the order has been received, Fogra
                    sends you a confirmation of the order
                    which contains all the information concerning
                    the time required for the test,
                    the person in charge and the price. The
                    time required for testing is, as a rule,
                    about 8 to 10 weeks. The test criteria
                    depend on the machine manufacturer’s
                    requirements and are specifically agreed
                    with the relevant manufacturer.
                    Although the machine manufacturers
                    co-operate in activities whose aim is
                    to reduce emissions, they are still competitors
                    with regard to the sale of new
                    machines. Therefore it has been agreed
                    between the machine manufacturers
                    and Fogra that, detailed information
                    with regard to specific test materials
                    must not be revealed to third parties by
                    When the tests have been completed,
                    Fogra sends all the results to the
                    machine manufacture concerned in the
                    form of a final report. On the basis of
                    the test results, the manufacturer then
                    decides whether or not the product can
                    be recommended for application to its
                    printing press or washing system. If the
                    test is successful, Fogra will be authorised
                    by the relevant machine manufacturer
                    to issue the approval certificate.

                    Fogra also helps with the marketing!
                    All products which have been tested and
                    approved are included in a list which is
                    continuously updated by Fogra. The
                    most up to date form of the list is given
                    on the Fogra home page.

                    The testing carried out by Fogra is not
                    only established in Germany. At the
                    end of 2006 no less than 441 products
                    from 120 international manufacturers
                    were certified. As a result, these certified
                    products are now more and more
                    available worldwide since many manufacturers
                    also sell their washing agents
                    through foreign subsidiaries.
                    Everything has its price!
                    We have summarised the costs to suppliers
                    of washing agents in order to provide
                    a rapid overview of current prices
                    for the testing of washing agents.
                    If you are interested in having your
                    product tested for more than one press
                    manufacturer, we will be glad to submit
                    our quotation. Please do not hesitate to
                    direct your inquiry to us.

                    Members of Fogra generally receive a
                    30% discount on expert reports and
                    advice – it pays to be a member of

                    And if the product does not satisfy
                    the requirements?
                    If it becomes evident during a test that
                    the product does not satisfy a specified
                    condition or meet a specified limit,
                    then the manufacturer is immediately
                    informed in detail and testing is temporarily
                    halted. The manufacture is also
                    told which limit or condition has not
                    been met. This should enable the manufacturer
                    to modify the product to satisfy
                    the required conditions.


                    • #11
                      Re: German Presses and Fogra

                      Any wash manufacturer can submit their product[s] to Fogra for testing and, according to the Fogra pdf 120 have done so and passed the procedure. If you have a supplier of a good but uncertified product, why not suggest they consider the possibility of having it certified?


                      • #12
                        Re: German Presses and Fogra

                        The test are performed by Fogra. The test are submitted to the press manufacturer. The press manufacturer has to give the OK if the product is to be certified. Fogra only issues a certificate when OK"ED by the press manufacturer.

                        The press manufacturers do have the ability to OK a product or products without Fogra testing. The product could be press manufacturer approved. There is nothing stopping the press manufacturers from saying a product is Ok to use.


                        • #13
                          Re: German Presses and Fogra

                          As I understand it, the press manufacturer decides whether or not to accept the Fogra report.
                          Fogra cannot force manufacturer X to accept product Y
                          A press manufacturer can approve any product it likes for use on its presses but, as far as I know, if that product has not been tested by Fogra and passed Fogra's tests it can't say that it is Fogra approved.

                          If you like, I can ask people I know at Fogra to clarify the exact procedure


                          • #14
                            Re: German Presses and Fogra

                            The following link is the test procedures for testing washes.


                            I was incorrect about corrosive test on washes.

                            There are no test for corrosiveness on washes.

                            Pat Berger


                            • #15
                              Re: German Presses and Fogra

                              Dear Mr. Berger,

                              Here are some more information about the Fogra tests of chemicals directly from Fogra.

                              The main idea of the Fogra tests comes from investigations into the health and safety aspects of press room chemicals. In the early 90s we found a lot of substances in press room chemicals which had a high risk to the health and safety of printers. Together with the German Berufsgenossenschaft Druck (The German institution for statutory accident insurance and prevention in the printing and paper processing industry) we looked at possibilities of bannig these dangerous chemicals from the press rooms.

                              As a result of these activities, the press manufacturers and Fogra installed the certification process at Fogra. If you use certified press room chemicals you can be sure that you use chemicals which are of minimized risk to the health and safety of your printers and the environment and which also protect your presses from damages.

                              The system is open to everybody all over the world. Every manufacturer of pressroom chemicals can send us his products. If he fails some test criteria we will help him to fulfil the criteria in the next step so that he will still have a chance to get his (high-performing) product on our and the press manufacturers list of recommended chemicals.

                              If you have further questions please contact us directly.

                              Dr. Wolfgang Rauh

                              Head of the environment and chemistry department
                              Fogra Institut


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