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NEWSPAPER PRESSES -- Creating Commercial Niches

June 2002
BY CAROLINE MILLER


Faced with dropping readership, falling advertising revenues and more media outlets, newspaper publishers are looking now more than ever to their in-house production facilities to help them meet the challenges of a volatile business environment.

Increasingly, newspapers with printing capabilities are interested in the ability to bring in commercial work to help boost their profits, contends Craig Simon, director of web sales administration for MAN Roland.

MAN Roland manufactures the four-page Cromoman, the Uniset, the Geoman and its flagship, 16-page newspaper web press—the Colorman—which was shown at IPEX in a 24-page version. Its top speed ranges to 86,000 copies per hour.

"Newspapers are creating a commercial niche and an additional revenue stream for themselves with the production of flyers for discount stores, supermarkets and the like. So the more color and the higher print quality we can give them, the better they like it," reveals Simon.

John Collins, a spokesperson for Goss International, has seen this trend at every level in the market. Goss offers the single-width SSC Community and the single-width Universal series, which comes in both a one-around version and the two-around Universal 70. These presses, he says, combine the practicality of a single-width press with the productivity and automation of today's double-width presses. Goss' double-width portfolio includes the Colorliner press series and the Uniliner press series.

"We've seen a growing desire for newspaper presses that incorporate several of the features of commercial presses. Many of our customers want to be able to take in some outside commercial work to keep press utilization high," he adds.

Commercial Features

These trends have led to commercial-type features on a newspaper press, such as heatset capabilities, more flexibility in web widths, more accurate jaw folders and better inking systems. There has also been a focus on features that improve net throughput and reduce downtime, such as presettable presses and better web tension control.

Even customers who print nothing but their own newspapers are finding they need to become more like a commercial operation. The number of zoned editions has increased greatly, meaning there's a greater emphasis on job turnaround and makeready.

"Readers and advertisers want content that relates to them more personally or is at least more neighborhood-oriented, claims Simon "So the issue of zoning—producing different editions for different zones in a marketplace—is huge. We've perfected a technique called On-the-Fly Changeover, which lets the pressman shut down one printing unit while simultaneously engaging another. The result: a different version of a section of the paper can be produced without ever stopping the press."
 

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