Nonheatset Printers — Cold Webs Commercial
FOR SOME, it’s a matter of survival and, fortunately, given the state of the newspaper industry, for others, it’s a matter of growth. In either case, newspaper/publication printers running coldset web offset presses are expanding their product ranges or delivering greater value to existing customers. Through increased automation, newer technologies (like UV inks), new presses, new publication configurations, or some combination of these options, printers are offering both internal and external clients production efficiencies and the opportunity to upgrade to color quality levels that have greater appeal to advertisers.
Ron Magee, pressroom manager at the Carroll County Times, Westminster, MD, reports that last summer his company purchased its new Manugraph DGM 440, equipped with a Prime UV system, a Graphics Microsystems ink key control system with CIP3 Interpreter digital presetting, and a QuadTech Register Guidance System. Thus, workflow with automated ink settings determined in prepress allows them to come up to color quickly. The UV inks allow a coldset press to print on glossy stock.
Landmark Community Newspapers (LCNI), a subsidiary of Landmark Communications, owns the Carroll County Times. Among its numerous media properties, Landmark Communications owns the Weather Channel Networks. In addition to LCNI, it also has a number of metro dailies. LCNI alone publishes more than 100 newspapers, shoppers, college sports publications and special interest publications around the country.
Not Just Newspapers
Magee says that in addition to the daily newspaper, they print dozens of real estate magazines per month, as well as special sections and mailers, so that 85 percent of their work is internal. Special sections are typically seasonal, but might also include area, wedding and home improvement guides. The remaining 15 percent of external commercial work consists of weekly tabloids from other areas in Maryland, plus weekly and biweekly newspapers and any of their special sections.
“We found it necessary to start printing our real estate books with glossy covers,” Magee adds. “We also see increased revenue opportunities from expanding our special sections. Before, we had glossy covers on our special sections, but they were printed outside on a heatset web. Now, not having to go outside also gives us more sales time.”
“Coated stock sections or sections with coated covers are worth more to advertisers,” notes Michael Gehring, general manager of Eagle Web Press, Salem, OR. Eagle Web’s 4-high Goss Community S/SC units were equipped with Prime UV lamps three years ago.
“The first year, UV work represented 2 percent of our business; the second year it was 5 percent. We’re expecting 8 percent this year and 10-12 percent next year,” he reveals.
Although Eagle Web was built on printing weekly newspapers, today, catalogs, brochures, saddlestitched books, telephone books, college class schedules and magazines comprise about 80 percent of its work. The company also owns four publications directed to senior citizens. Most of these products benefit from the color and stock options made possible by UV.
“Since our sales are growing at 4-5 percent a year, we’re considering converting another 4-high to UV. That would make us even more competitive because we could run two webs of UV simultaneously,” contends Mike Schmidt, pressroom superintendent.
Remaining competitive was the motivation for installing a UV system at the Penny Saver’s, Vista, CA, plant—one of four plants in the state. Owner Harte-Hanks, of San Antonio, TX, is North America’s largest producer of shopper publications, with shoppers that are zoned into more than 900 separate editions, reaching in excess of 11 million households in California and Florida each week.
The Penny Saver, a 7x10˝ newsprint publication, has a weekly press run of 2 million copies, comprised of 160 individual publications. The Vista plant also runs a half-size monthly publication for the same circulation base.
“Our sales representatives were dealing with significant competition,” says Emmet Rixford, press director at Penny Saver. “They felt we had to offer four-color printing on glossy stock to compete. We considered heatset equipment, but were reluctant because of both cost and space limitations. When Flint Ink came out with its UV ink at a reasonable cost per pound, we decided to install a system from Prime UV on our Goss Magnum press in 2005.”
In addition, they changed the publication format to create larger sections of more consecutive color. Currently, they run 16 pages of color, four in front and back, and an eight-page middle section. “The UV did exactly what we wanted, but sales haven’t taken off the way we wanted yet,” Rixford admits.
Unlike other cold web printers, Rixford says Penny Saver rarely prints for their customers, but will send out inserts for heatset printing. He cites efficiency as the reason they stick to one or two products.
Rixford notes, however, that their marketing department partners with communities to promote local festivals and events. “We’ll print their programs because we’re very conscious about Penny Saver participating in its communities. It’s value-added for our customers.”
New and Improved Color
Citing a different market picture, early last month the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle (WTE) announced a $14 million expansion of its headquarters and production center in Cheyenne. The expansion includes a new Uniset 75 press from MAN Roland to be installed next winter.
According to Scott Walker, vice president of marketing operations, advertiser demand for more and improved color was one of the main reasons behind the purchase. With 24 printing couples arranged in three 4-high towers, the three-pages-across, two-around Uniset will be able to print a 36-page paper with color on all pages, as opposed to today’s limit of eight color pages.
The company also expects the new press to increase commercial printing opportunities at WTE.
“We produce weekly shoppers for various areas now,” explains Jim Thompson, production director. “We also do a lot of printing of course books and other materials for the local community college. The Uniset will let us handle that work and expand into new business with the additional productivity.”
Walker adds that the new press will allow WTE to both pursue new commercial jobs and expand some of their current special sections. “One that comes to mind is the Home Builders Association’s Parade of Homes. Because of color limitations, we have never been able to do justice to the quality and beauty of the homes. The section, from the reproduction and quality standpoint, has always been somewhat of a disappointment to me. Also, in the past, we haven’t pursued more magazine-type projects with a slick sheetfed cover and newsprint inside, but we can now, because the quality and color will allow us to do that.”
WTE’s existing sheetfed department consists of a two-color Heidelberg SORDZ and a two-color Hamada. They plan to upgrade to a four-color press after the Uniset is installed, since most of their sheetfed work is already four-color.
Among its features, the Uniset 75 offers the option of running both heatset and coldset in-line.
“One of the reasons we chose this press was the fact that we can add dryers down the road,” Walker says. “At some point, that will be a secondary move, but our customers don’t have a need for that feature at this time. As sophistication grows, so will we.” PI