By: Mark Vruno
During a visit to the TKS (Tokyo Kikai Seisakusho, Ltd.) booth at Graph Expo last month, I learned that in late September a contract was signed with Midwest commercial printer Newsweb Corp. for a 492-fpm (feet per minute) JetLeader 1500 inkjet web press — the same digital device that ran daily at the drupa mega tradeshow in Germany this past May. The installation marks the first JetLeader series press installed in North America.
Situated in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, Newsweb is a privately owned firm specializing in the printing of community, college, and ethnic newspapers. In July, the company announced the expansion of its printing division by signing a letter of intent to purchase the JetLeader 1500. The digital press, which was originally expected to be operational by October, allows Newsweb to print a broader range of products, including books and catalogs, for its existing client base as well as new clients that need high-quality, short-run products.
“We have been looking at digital inkjet technology for years, but did not feel it was where we wanted it to be,” said Rodd Winscott, president of Newsweb’s printing division. “The JetLeader will allow us to take our printing to a new level and create new business opportunities not only for us but for our customers.” Winscott said he and his team “are working on understanding the market in order to determine the best possible jobs to be placed on the Jetleader 1500 as well as preparing for the new work we can and will be bringing in.”
Newsweb client services manager Theresa Bauer said the company anticipates running live jobs either in late October or early November. “The installation is down to the minor adjustments now and is essentially complete,” she said. “We have now moved into the training phase. Once we are satisfied that our staff is confident in the operation of the equipment, we will begin to look at the marketing aspects. The JetLeader has met all our expectations with regard to quality and craftsmanship, and offers us entry into markets that were previously outside our scope. The test jobs we have run and continue to run confirm our choice in press manufacturers.”
Yoshikazu Shiba, president of TKS, said, “Our Jetleader is a leader in its field, being the world’s first digital inkjet printing system that produces sectionalized newspapers inline. TKS has always been a technology leader and, looking into the future, vies for the Jetleader to be in the forefront of innovation in this area of technology.”
In addition to the new drop-on-demand inkjet device, Newsweb maintains Goss Community units that allow it to produce up to 96 tabloid pages with 48 pages of full process color in one run. All color towers are outfitted with automated computer-controlled inking and a QuadTech Auto Register closed-loop system. The web-offset press is equipped with three folders, quarter folders, ribbon decks, and gluers that allow us to glue and trim booklet inline. Its finishing department is equipped with three automatic inserting machines capable of inserting up to seven pieces into one. The bindery can stitch and trim tabloids, booklets, or digests. For mailing, Newsweb uses a Videojet inkjet system.
20/20 future vision on newspaper role
Newsweb’s Winscott was part of a Graph Expo show panel titled 2020: The Future Role of Newspapers. Marco Boer, vice president of Hanover, Mass.-based IT Strategies, and Rick Surkamer, president of Lake Forest, Ill.-based Surkamer Advisors and former president and chief operating officer of Sun-Times Media, LLC., were also on the panel that discussed the disruptive role of technology on the printing industry.
Leading off, Winscott said the past 10 years have been marked by revolutionary changes in digital technology and mobile Internet access. “I expect the next 10 years will bring developments only being imagined now,” he said. “Newspapers will continue to provide news and entertainment to readers, as long as newspapers adapt to the needs of their readers.”
One way newspapers are sure to adapt is through the introduction of more micro-zoned products. Readers’ need for specialized data lends itself to small and customized print runs, and newspapers will continue to serve their readers by reaching out in hypermarkets and micro-zones. “A 500,000-copy zone may be a questionable proposition,” Winscott said.
Winscott concluded that the industry is at a crossroads. “The newspaper will always hold a place in people’s lives. But what remains to be seen is what form it will take. Digital printing is not for everyone, but it will continue to grow and impact the newspaper industry,” he said.
Boer took the dais next, explaining that while analog printing still generates about $30 billion in revenue annually, the revenue generated by digital printing equipment makers is now about $120 billion a year. “There’s a lot of money to be had in digital printing,” he said. “And digital printing is still in the early stages of its growth curve. Digital print is not replacing analog pages, it’s creating new value. It’s not replacing analog, it’s running in parallel with analog.”
Inkjet is too slow for most newspaper applications, Boer said, but newspaper printers are going to see new and increasing digital competition from entities not heard from before. They are going to pick up niche business and keep growing that strength. “Digital will never replace analog,” Boer said. But he added, “Don’t be deceived by digital print costs. The real cost is in the learning curve, not technology adoption.”
For his part, Surkamer predicted the newspaper of 2017 will look back on 2012 and revel in changes made to operations, IT and software, content, product delivery, call centers, creative, and business development, and finance and administrative outsourcing, among others.
“We’re not wringing our hands anymore,” Surkamer said. “We’re embracing the future.”
More digital news
At its Graph Expo press conference, KBA talked up the RotaJET 76 production inkjet press, which features a 30.5-inch web width and speeds up to 500 fpm. “Expect a beta in place by early 2013,” said Mark Hischar, president and chief executive officer of KBA North America. Digital newspaper printed samples were available in the KBA booth, as were samples of German sausage and beer in true Oktoberfest spirit.
Hischar also said that Hearst Corp. has made a commitment to offset-printed newspapers with the previously reported addition of a Commander CL press at the Times Union in Albany, N.Y., scheduled to start production early next year. Great West Newspapers (GWN) in Alberta, Canada — a group of 21 community newspapers as well as a commercial printer and partner of Glacier Media Group — added a Colora model to be installed in a facility currently being constructed in St Albert, Alberta.
Mark your 2013 calendars now for the bigger, better, quadrennial PRINT show next fall, running for five days (September 8 to 12) at McCormick Place in Chicago. For more information visit gasc.org/PRINT13.aspx.
TKS Jetleader specs
4/4 process color printing units:
- Printhead: piezo-electric drop on demand
- Maximum print speed: 492 fpm (feet per minute)
- Maximum resolution: 600 x 600 dpi
Online newspaper folding system:
- Maximum number of pages: 72
- Maximum number of sections: 5
Graph Expo Show Daily is online
Coverage of the Graph Expo NewsPrint newspaper pavilion was featured in each of the four issues of the Official Show Daily publication. To read the articles and catch up on more show news, visit myprintresource.com/newsletter/show-daily/day3 and viewer.zmags.com/publication/066ec068.
Single-width Towers for Publishers in Sweden, Africa
Gotlands Förenade Tidningstryckerier (Gotlands), located in Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland, has ordered three single-width Community four-high towers from Goss Intl. The investment involves a facility-wide upgrade to provide quality and operational improvements, including remote control capabilities.
Part of the Pressgrannar Group of newspaper printers, which in turn belongs to Nya Tidens Media (NTM), Gotlands presently operates a Community press comprising four four-high towers and four mono units with a 22-1/16 inch cut-off. The existing 2×1 press was originally installed in the early 1980s. Extensions added 10 years ago provide capacity to print a total of 64 tabloid pages, with 32 in full color. The addition of the three new towers will enable the press line to produce a further 24 full-color pages to meet demand from advertisers. Gotlands has also specified automatic register and cut-off controls as well as additional automated features to ensure the ability to match the highest coldset quality of all group titles.
According to Peter Dahlén, project manager of Gotlands, although the company operates on a small island with around 58,000 inhabitants, the press extension will offer significant growth potential. “The pressure from advertisers for more color in newspapers has grown relentlessly over recent years and, without a doubt, we will sell more pages of advertising with the greater capacity for fullcolor pages,” he said. “Sweden is a newspaper-reading nation, so we also experience large peaks in demand over holiday periods. As we are running at capacity currently, we’re not in a position to capitalize on these opportunities … but we soon will be.”
Gotlands prints the two key titles for the island, Gotlands Allehanda and Gotlands Tidningar, both produced six days per week in print runs of around 10,000 copies each. With the new longer press line in production, the company anticipates printing additional evening tabloid products during summer months.
“The challenge for us is to maintain profitability, in view of decreasing circulations, while improving our ability to be highly flexible in terms of format, sectioning, and post-press services,” Dahlén said. “The solution as we see it is to enhance automation, alongside the additional color and web-handling capacity, ensuring that we run as efficiently as possible for even the shortest runs.
Goss has had a recent spate of Community press sales in Nigeria, underlining why the press model is so fit for the region. Goss has received a large order for single-wide newspaper production in the African nation, where it will be shipping more than 40 press units over a three-month period. Modularity and flexibility are two key features leading to demand in an area where business development is typically sudden and sporadic.
Four new presses will add another 44 single-wide (2×1) press units in Nigeria this year, making the total since 2008 nearly 200 units. Community and Magnum press models also have proved popular throughout the African continent, with more than 375 units installed since 2007.
Scheduled for installation over coming months, the latest four presses for Nigeria are characterized by multi-edition versatility. Each has been specified to handle multiple webs through a single folder to facilitate quick and easy versioning of local editions of titles for wide distribution.
A number of key benefits are anticipated for the Community press to be installed later this year at the Akwa Ibom Newspaper Corp. The investment is intended to not only bring printing of the state-owned title The Pioneer in-house and enable it to become a daily, but also to win further print contracts from within Akwa Ibom state and beyond. The 12-unit press, with a 22-49/64 inch cut-off, has been specified with half- and quarter-page folding capabilities to ensure flexibility for such opportunities, as well as six Goss reelstands, providing the capacity to print multiple webs simultaneously.
“This investment will jump start training for Akwa Ibom people in sophisticated printing technology, as well as serve the local media industry and commercial interest,” said Aniekan Umanah, Akwa Ibom state commissioner for information and communication.
In Lagos, the first of two identical Community presses for Vanguard Media Ltd., independent publisher of Vanguard Newspapers, is currently being installed. Configured as two four-high towers, one two-high tower, and four Goss reelstands, the Vanguard press will be able to run up to four webs into a folder with halfand quarter-page format capabilities. As is the preference in Nigeria, the press has a 22-49/64 inch cut-off, and the press for Vanguard will include motorized ink keys for ease of use and faster set up.
In addition to the Daily Vanguard, Vanguard Media publishes Saturday and Sunday editions of the main title, as well as a variety of specialist titles such as Sweet Crude, Hitech, and Cyber Life.
The second identical Goss Community press will be delivered to the facility in Asaba, Delta State later in the year.
Scheduled for delivery last month was a 12-unit Community press for Vintage Press Ltd., in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria. The new press will have three four-high towers, three Goss reelstands, and one folder with half- and quarter-page capabilities. Publisher of leading national daily The Nation, Vintage Press prides itself on providing well-informed, well-balanced news and analysis for an educated and influential readership.
Paul Feeney, Goss Int’l. sales manager for Middle-East and Africa said, “Vintage, as with the other recent orders for Nigeria, is looking to build its brand reputation and readership by ensuring its print production matches the quality of its editorial. They need solid, reliable, and user-friendly press equipment that will keep rolling with minimum intervention to fulfill a commitment and duty to readers.