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Newspaper Presses -- Making Headlines

June 2003
by chris bauer


Read all about it: The latest generation of newspaper presses are more than black-and-white machines churning out The Daily Rag. Color is here to stay—and newspaper press manufacturers are providing a column's worth of features and automated functions to advance newspaper printing beyond its traditional role.

"Ever increasing color expansion is an ongoing trend in the American and global newspaper market," says David Stamp, global director of marketing for Goss International. "This drives four-high tower addition projects to existing installed presses—a very topical subject in the United States in 2003."

Stamp sees many of his customers investing in press enhancements to extend current press life (i.e., digital inker upgrades for reduced waste and more accurate RIP pre-setting, paper width changes for material cost savings, etc.) and increasing press flexibility and daily running hours. News-paper presses can produce a wide range of commercial, as well as newspaper products, he points out, noting that Goss has some news-paper publisher customers running up to 24/7 production.

"Clients are looking for more flexibility from press designs, such as variable web width, alternating productions (multiple products from a common press), higher speeds, improved color registration, maximum utilization of color, and ergonomically sensible solutions for plating, maintenance and general operating parameters," adds Gary Owen, director of marketing and newspaper sales for KBA North America, Web Press Div.

When it comes to multiple web widths, KBA user Metroland in Toronto is a classic example, Owen contends. Metroland has the capability to allow a "double-wide" press to run anywhere from a 44˝ to 64˝ web width, he reveals.

On another front, the addition of color units continues to be a theme for many newspapers.

"We continue to see newspapers adding color capacity," observes Greg Norris, manager of marketing communications for Heidelberg. "The Roanoke Times, which is now installing the first Mainstream press in the United States, is a good example. When the new press goes on edition in the fall, the paper intends to print color on every page."

There is good reason for this move to color, Norris explains. "An increasing number of newspapers (especially smaller papers) are seeking to print additional jobs, such as semi-commercial work. This is a good way to maximize their return on investment. Consequently, these newspapers are increasingly interested in the versatility of the press system."

While the newest bells and whistles are often lauded, Norris suggests that project management and a partnership can be just as critical as technology. Newspapers are placing high value on a press supplier's ability to work with them to custom design a complete production solution—integrating the press with prepress, postpress and auxiliary components from multiple suppliers, he asserts.
 

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