Queen Mary 2 — Staying Ship Shape

By Mark Michelson


Printer William Neugebauer plans out his print shop’s workload—and the required paper and consumables needed—well in advance. Four months in advance, to be precise. As chief printer in charge of the printing operation on board the new Queen Mary 2 ocean liner, the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) graduate carefully coordinates the shipment of supplies to faraway ports where the vessel docks.

“A ship is not very ideal for printing,” he notes. Aside from ascertaining such unusual things as the optimum level for chemicals sloshing around in the plate processor while the Queen Mary 2 is at sea, Neugebauer says that paper handling can also be a real problem. A moist, tropical environment may be great for a vacationer, but it can cause havoc when the paper stock is then used in the much cooler and dryer print shop located deep in the bowels of the ship.

No Service Calls at Sea

William Neugebauer stands at ease among an assortment of new Heidelberg equipment in the print shop he runs aboard the new ocean liner, the Queen Mary 2. The shop prints jobs such as menus and newspapers.

His second biggest fear? Equipment breakdowns. “We run extremely tight deadlines with limited manpower and equipment,” explains Neugebauer. Armed with a two-color Printmaster QM 46-2 press, a Quicksetter CTP device for outputting polyester plates, a Polar 66 cutter and a Quickfolder T 34, the all-Heidelberg facility cannot afford any downtime. As such, a Riso duplicator is also kept on board for the sake of redundancy.

All of the shop’s printing equipment was ordered new through Heidelberg USA and was shipped to France, where the Queen Mary 2 was built. “They had to disassemble some of the machinery just to get everything on board,” Neugebauer recalls. “Weighing 11,000 kilos, the Printmaster had to be stripped of all its covers, control panel and second printing unit.”

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