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Coldset Web Presses -- Newspapers Staying Cool

June 2004
by chris bauer

Managing Editor

As printed media, especially newspapers, battle outside competition from a growing number of digital sources, non-heatset web press manufacturers have to keep up with the technology that will help newspapers compete and survive. More color, faster speeds, and versatile and automated presses are now needed in most newspaper pressrooms.

"Coldset printing—particularly newspapers and semi-commercial newspaper supplements—remains an extremely effective, economical and accepted medium for delivering advertising and editorial content," points out Greg Norris, marketing manager for Heidelberg Web Systems. "Advertisers will continue to demand more color and higher print quality. Newspapers and coldset printing specialists will continue to respond by investing in press technology that allows them to meet these demands."

Presses are a long-term investment, Norris admits, so the recent short-term economic climate may have forced some operations to delay or scale back press investments. However, the pressures to increase color capacity, productivity and efficiency in order to compete with other media for advertising revenues and readership are compelling, he says.

Gapless Technology

The 1x4 Heidelberg Mainstream with gapless blanket technology allows publishers to print high-quality newspapers faster, more economically and with increased versatility. This double-wide press delivers premium print quality at up to 80,000 copies per hour (cph), matching the output of a 2x4 press, while reducing plate requirements by 50 percent.

Mainstream presses are now in operation at The Roanoke Times in Virginia and Transcontinental Printing in Montreal, as well as several sites in Europe.

Of course any talk of Heidelberg Web Systems brings thoughts of Goss International, which intends to acquire Heidelberg's web offset division. As of press time, it is expected that this impending transaction will include Heidelberg's commercial web and newspaper press activities, as well as the web finishing business in the United States.

"We offer a wide range of new press systems plus a full range of enhancement products to benefit and provide the most cost-effective solutions to today's publishing challenges," says David Stamp, global director of marketing for Goss International.

Goss Community presses are now available in web widths up to the new 40˝ size, providing maximum flexibility for regional titles and contract printers. The Community press is rated at up to 35,000 cph, while the Magnum press can operate at speeds up to 40,000 cph. Both have the latest in automation features, folders and control consoles.

"The Goss Community press has continued to show great success worldwide," Stamp adds. "Its new web width makes it even more flexible and its ease of upgrade makes it ideal for both new press investments, as well as for tower additions to existing presses, including competitor presses."


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