User Group Takes Production Back to Basics
Posted: 8/14/2013  |  By: Toni McQuilken
This year, Muller Martini decided to move its annual User Group meeting to Allentown, Pa., instead of Chicago where the event had taken place in the past. The location allowed users from across the newspaper production spectrum full access to the company’s equipment, products and even engineers. And the move was a good one – they had more than double the attendance, with more than 20 different newspapers represented.

“We felt our customers would get maximum benefit from having all Muller Martini resources available to them to answer any question or help troubleshoot any issue they may be having,” said Dan Cropley, product management, Newspaper, Muller Martini. “We had access to our inserting equipment and factory personnel.”

The annual gathering is a chance for users to come together to learn from each other, and troubleshoot problems together. This year, the theme was “Back to Basics,” focused on getting the equipment back to the factory baseline settings and running at optimum levels. It was also a return to the hands-on approach to training, using the actual equipment for demonstrations.

It was “a welcomed topic since numerous newspaper consolidations have resulted in mailroom staff needing to relearn how to optimize the equipment’s performance,” said Cropley. “The training included basic setup and tune-up procedures. Moreover, User Group attendees got an opportunity to walk the factory floor and interact with Muller Martini product specialists who could not only help troubleshoot problems, but demonstrate how various upgrades, enhancements, and rebuilds can significantly increase productivity in older machines.”

Beyond the equipment and demonstrations – including a live production of The New York Daily News – a big draw for the event was the networking opportunities. Cropley noted that attendees took the chance to form new connections with their peers, as well as strengthen existing relationships. “User Group participants are always candid, enthusiastic, and insightful, and their feedback is one of the main reasons why Muller continues to develop innovative inserting technology that helps mailrooms compete and thrive,” said Cropley. “What’s more, this annual event gives us an opportunity to share current machine upgrades that users may be unfamiliar with.”

All in all, the event was a success, with one user, Cory Reynard, a machine operator at Gannett, noting, “I learned a great deal and having the conference at the Muller’s Allentown facility was an excellent venue. I had valuable conversations with everyone I met. It was a great success and I think all the other participants would agree.”

Alma Manu: COLORMAN Autoprint Strengthens Market Position

“We are aiming to be the best service provider: in the printing, finishing and distribution of printed products.” That was the message from Managing Director Helvi Liukkaala at the official opening of the Alma Manu print center in Tampere, Finland on May 23. In order to meet this goal, the Finnish company will use a new COLORMAN autoprint from manroland web systems.

In April, the gradual relocation of newspaper production from the old premises was complete. Alma Manu invested 70 million euros into the production complex, which includes a COLORMAN autoprint and other equipment. Printing of the first products started in January, with the company now running around 3.2 million newspapers each week. Titles include Aamulehti, the second largest daily in Finland, as well as Kauppalehti and Iltalehti, both also major Finnish newspapers.  

“Alma Manu was looking for a solution that would optimally meet the requirements of its customers, i.e. its readers, the advertisers and the print customers,” said Klaus Streit, regional sales manager, manroland web systems “The COLORMAN autoprint proved to be ideal for the required printing quality as well as ultra-quick job changes. The comprehensive AUROSYS installation also played an important role.”

AUROSYS manages data logistics and the supply of paper to the COLORMAN autoprint. In autoprint mode, the printing process is fully automatic and manual intervention has been reduced to a minimum. Automation features include AutomaticPlateLoading APL, where all data for the new production is loaded at the same time, making the COLORMAN autoprint immediately ready for the next proof. A number of Inline Control systems automatically control the supply of dampening solution, the web tension, as well as the color register and ink density.

The new center represents the strategy set out by Alma Manu: to invest in a profitable publishing business while at the same time further developing its digital offering. Furthermore, these new facilities have drawn new print and publishing clients into the Alma Media Group fold. With this investment, Alma Manu has taken up a competitive position compared to those with more outdated machinery, as Helvi Liukkaala, managing director, Alma Manu, explained, “Printing companies with machines that are 25 to 30 years old will need to make investments soon. We’ve just done it. In our opinion, not all printing companies will modernize and expand their capacity, but will outsource printed products to other businesses instead. We are ready and willing to take on these tasks with our superb production technology in rotary printing and finishing.”

Agfa Pitman E-Store Launches in the United States
 
With the launch of the new Agfa Pitman E-Store, replenishing printing equipment and consumables is fast and easy. The site (shop.agfapitman.com), built in response to feedback from customers asking for a more robust online shopping experience, provides customer-focused features and functionality that are unique to the graphic communications industry. Thousands of different items from Agfa Pitman and partners such as 3M, DuPont, Epson, HP and more can be purchased from the store.

“The new E-Store's unique navigation and search tools provide an intuitive shopping experience for customers. We are the first graphic communications company to launch an e-commerce site that has this level of innovation and functionality for the customer,” said Deborah Hutcheson, director of marketing, Agfa Pitman. “Customers can shop online 24/7, view inventory levels, search by manufacturer, color, size or product type and order their graphic communications supplies all from one source.”

The Agfa Pitman E-Store allows customers to securely save their profile so shipping information automatically populates for new orders. Registered users can review orders, view the status of invoices and reorder quickly since order history is accessible.

“We're leveraging new e-commerce technologies so products can be found intuitively and with just one click. The E-Store is easily searchable by item number, purchase order number, by keyword or by attribute, such as manufacturer. Customers can, of course, also continue to access their Agfa Pitman sales representatives if they choose,” Hutcheson added.

The Agfa-Pitman E-Store services customers in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii.

ppi's Open Days 2013: Increasing the Value of the Newspaper On All Media Channels

From startups through agencies to media enterprises, and from Berlin through Chicago to Bangkok, as varied as the background of the presenters at ppi’s 13th Open Days – which took place in Kiel, Germany from June 10-11 – was, all were united by a common goal: to secure a strong market position for the newspaper on all media channels.

How, when and where do a publisher’s products reach people’s fragmented attention? The answer came from Prof. Dr. Friederike Schultz, creative director, exozet group gmbH & Co. KG, and was quite clear: “anytime, anywhere, anyhow and anyline.” Readers like to consume news exactly when they have time, irrespective of where they are, so it must be possible to access the publishers’ offers anytime, anywhere. This was also what Chiratas Nivatpumin, the editor-in-chief at the Bangkok Post, recommended, noting he deliberately chooses cross-media solutions for the ad and editorial departments. A reliable tool is absolutely essential for a good story, which in turn is a prerequisite for an interesting newspaper, irrespective of which output channel it is intended for.

The trend towards media-neutral software is evident in nearly all publishing houses. The new software often optimizes a large number of worksteps, as Dirk Frädrich, head of CRM Ad Services, SÜDKURIER GmbH Medienhaus, demonstrated, using booking processes for online banners as an example. Whereas this process lasted about 40 minutes prior to AdX, the entire process from order entry to booking in SAP IS-M/AM has been reduced to 10 minutes.

Just how important diversity is for media companies was illustrated not only by Markus Feldenkirchen, CEO, ppi Media US Inc., in his presentation on the strategies and approaches of American publishers, but also by Jens Nicolaisen, digital director, Jyllands-Posten, who presented the mobile strategy of Denmark’s largest publisher, JP/Politikens Hus. A central issue is change management, which focuses on adjusting to customer needs and preferences. The central issue that all publishers should ask themselves is, how well do we know our readers and what do they want?

The presentation given by Vincent Peyrègne, CEO, WAN-IFRA, showed how measurable a media company’s success is. He presented an extract from the World Press Trends for 2013, a collection of reliable data on over 70 countries which make up more than 90 percent of the market figures. Peyrègne also stressed the importance of change: “The future of the news industry depends on how people become involved and participate in society.” According to Peyrègne, the participation of advertising firms is becoming increasingly important for the news industry." It is of fundamental importance to create attractive offers for everyone.

Next year’s Open Days will be held June 23-24, 2014.

Goss Magnum Compact Press Debuts at China Print 2013
 
While its low height is a key feature, the world’s first single-width press with fully automated plate changing debuted at the China Print Show. One of the main attractions on the Goss booth, a four-color print module from the Magnum Compact press received considerable attention from printers, publishers and print commentators. Goss International showcased automation, operability and cost advantages for newspaper, book and semi-commercial production through daily demonstrations to large crowds.

The Goss Magnum Compact press meets today’s growing demands for shorter runs, faster changeovers, lower production costs and high print quality, according to Goss Marketing Director Eric Bell. Autoplate fully automatic plate changing is standard, enabling extremely fast plate changes (30 seconds) at the press of a button. “Additional automation and ease-of-use features can bring a new level of cost competitiveness to multi-product business models and allow the press to excel at traditional offset run lengths as well as ultra-short runs,” Bell said. “Compact four-color print modules that are just over two meters tall improve print quality and allow for installation into smaller buildings.”

Court Approves Kodak’s Settlement With U.K. Pension Plan
 
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York approved Kodak’s settlement agreement with the UK Kodak Pension Plan (KPP), the company’s largest single creditor with respect to its Chapter 11 plan of reorganization. In approving the agreement, the court described it as “a critical step forward in Kodak’s effort to consummate its plan of reorganization.” With the agreement, first announced on April 29, Kodak’s Personalized Imaging (PI) and Document Imaging (DI) businesses will be spun off under the ownership of KPP.

“We have been working in close cooperation with KPP to achieve a smooth transition for our PI and DI employees and customers to a new owner – one who clearly recognizes the value of these businesses and intends to help them grow and succeed,” said Antonio M. Perez, Kodak chairman and CEO. “We look forward now to completing our reorganization and emerging as a company focused on Commercial Imaging.”

Steven Ross, independent chairman of the Kodak Pension Plan, said, “I am delighted that the court has approved the settlement involving the transfer of the PI and DI businesses to KPP. This is by far the best option available for KPP, which is acquiring two profitable businesses that will provide substantial ongoing income to the fund. The income that these two businesses generate will enable KPP to remain outside of the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) and to offer our members a new pension plan that will provide all of them with better benefits than they would have received in the PPF. I am pleased to say that the feedback the trustees are receiving from members at presentations currently being held around the UK is highly encouraging. I look forward to working alongside the management and staff of the PI and DI businesses - who have remained loyal and focused during this process – as we build a firm future for them and for our members.”

Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. Regional Production Hub Expands PuzzleFlow System
 
Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. (CNHI) newspaper group’s regional production hub in Valdosta, Ga., expanded its PuzzleFlow system to include a dedicated Automator ad processing system.

PuzzleFlow Automator software uses the PuzzleFlow PDF library to perform Ghent v4 certified PDF preflighting on incoming ads, checking over 150 specific items in each file, and verifying stability and quality. Automator also checks and automatically corrects ad sizes and colors against data gleaned from CNHI's various ad booking systems. The new CNHI Valdosta regional production Automator system checks, corrects and distributes, on average, 1,200 ads per week with peaks of over 3,500 ads per week, for CNHI sites in throughout the South East.

CNHI Valdosta dedicated its new system to ad processing, and with PuzzleFlow's WebPairer system (also installed at Valdosta), the PuzzleFlow systems at CNHI Valdosta are a complete prepress workflow performing ad pre-processing, ad and page preflight and auto-correction, creation of paired/imposed pages, and management of final output.

Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. is based in Montgomery, Ala. and publishes more than 70 daily newspapers and 120 total publications nationwide.

Heider Verlag Installs Register System From Q.I. Press Controls
 
Johannes Heider Verlag GmbH, a publisher in Bergisch Gladbach (Germany) recently invested in new system solutions from Q.I. Press Controls. Established in 1889, this family owned business employs 90 staff and operates in the commercial sheetfed and newspaper offset segments.

As a publishing, printing and media company, Heider’s coldset printing portfolio mainly consists of contract orders such as weekly newspapers, ad journals, membership newspapers and catalogue-like products. The run lengths are generally between five and several hundred thousand copies. All jobs are printed on a 32-page KBA Journal web press comprised of two four-high towers and a 16-page KBA Colora with one tower. These presses, installed in 2002 and 2006 respectively, have one folder each and can be interconnected if necessary in order to print 48-page products on three webs.

Heider recently ordered new, fully automatic control systems from Q.I. Press Controls for both these presses. In addition to the innovative mRC-3D color and cut-off register control systems, the presses will also be equipped with an ABD (Air Bustle Device) fan-out correction system. “The main motivation for this investment package,” explained Roberto Heider, the publishing house’s managing director, “is that one of our four-high towers has not had color register control until now. What’s more, the control systems in the other towers came on gradually during the past years, but no longer represent the state of the art with regard to hardware and software or speed and efficiency. Finally, apart from fixed rollers, the presses have so far lacked an effective solution to correct for fan-out. In other words, this purchase will bring the control technology for all of our newspaper presses in line with a uniform, modern standard.”

The print service provider will replace its old Q.I. Press Controls’ register control systems with the newest generation from the same supplier. “We obviously took a look at systems from other manufacturers before reaching this decision. However, we’ve always been happy with the Q.I. Press Controls’ systems. We know the company well and in an emergency we receive prompt German support directly on the premises. That’s why we opted to stick with Q.I. Press Control,” Heider continued.

Each of the two four-high towers will be equipped with two mRC-3D cameras for color register control and each paper web will be assigned one camera for cut-off control. The compact scanners both feature LED illumination of the reading range and built-in microprocessor hardware. They process all images in real time and supply precise information to facilitate fast control. Thanks to their 3D functionality, the Q.I. Press Controls’ cameras are capable of measuring the micro-marks on the web accurately at a focal depth of ±20 mm. Minor flutter or deformations of the moving paper web have no effect on the quality of the measurements.

The scanner equipment selected by Heider will also have the Automatic Ink Mist Shield (AIMS), which guarantees reliable mark measurements while restricting cleaning and maintenance to a minimum. The AIMS shields the lens and lighting of the mRC-3D cameras and prevents contamination due to ink mist, paper dust, etc. with a clear protective film.

The new control systems were installed early May. So Heider will be able to leverage the benefits of the new Q.I. Press Controls’ technology in daily production – with respect to greatly reduced start-up, run and roll change waste plus increased image consistency throughout the entire press run.

Moline Dispatch Installs PaperCheckAdBos Software
 
Since PaperCheckAdBoss (PCAB) from Software Consulting Services LLC (SCS) went into full production use at the Moline Dispatch in Illinois, it has simplified paper checking and reduced clerical errors while providing a 50 percent labor savings.

PCAB uses a combination of image and natural language processing and pattern recognition to automate manual ad measuring and page image verification. Pages are compared to ad manifests and electronic dummies. It provides a back-to-front audit spanning the dataflow from order entry and scheduling through ad production, ad dummying and pagination interfacing. More than 16 paper checking discrepancy tasks are performed automatically. These include items missing from the manifest, dummies, edition, zone or page. Checking is also done for correct location, size, appropriate color, etc. All discrepancies are indicated on reports so that a scan allows for quick identification and efficient handling of exceptions. A PDF page image report supports digital archiving.