NEWSPAPER PRESSES -- Creating Commercial Niches
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."
To answer the demand for zoned editions, MAN Roland developed the Regioman. With its four-across and one-around configuration, the Regioman is well-suited to producing different pagination counts. So, if the majority of the advertisers want to get into a certain section on any given day, the Regioman lets the printer increase the size of that section to accommodate them.
Versatility is also a key factor for newspaper printing operations, and the design of the Heidelberg Mainstream press meets that growing requirement, according to Greg Norris, manager of marketing communications for Heidelberg Web Systems.
"The one-page around, four-page across (1x4) format is becoming an appealing option for an increasing number of papers due to advantages aligned with modern production demands for more economy and more versatility," he notes. "In the two years since we introduced the Mainstream, we estimate that 1x4 presses have gained approximately a 20 percent share of the double-width market that was previously dominated exclusively by 2x4 presses."
In addition to versatility, this press format also offers its users lower costs and faster makereadies. Straight printing with a 1x4 press requires 50 percent fewer plates than straight printing with a 2x4 press, adds Norris. That can cut the cost of plates, as well as the time necessary to make and mount them, in half. It also reduces prepress equipment requirements, making computer-to-plate a more financially viable option. The Heidelberg Mainstream and the MAN Roland Regioman are reportedly the only 1x4 presses sold to date.