Production: Presses Get Summer Tune-Ups

By: Mark Vruno

Production: Presses Get Summer Tune-Ups

Many newspaper presses slow down a bit during these heat wave-laden “dog days” of summer, which makes this the ideal time for machine maintenance and to consider performance enhancements. Upgrading existing press lines is increasingly considered to be a cost-effective means of improving speed and efficiency without investing in all-new presses, especially by companies in economically challenged markets with heightened competitive and cost pressures — a trend particularly apparent in many newspaper markets, as the PrintCity Alliance stressed at its drupa exhibit. PrintCity members and partners, including Baumüller, Tolerans, Procemex, Sonoco Alcore, manroland Web Systems, Cofely, and UPM, fielded questions about reducing total life cycle costs, increasing quality and productivity, and adding new capabilities. An interactive display answered some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the benefits of tuning up web presses. These web-offset experts pointed out the five main goals of a press upgrade:

1. Reducing total life cycle costs, including maintenance, production costs, materials waste and energy consumption, less downtime, and reduced changeover time

2. Extending press lifetime with a higher assurance of availability and quality

3. Expanding production capacity to meet growing demand for color or output capacity

4. Increasing quality and productivity

5. Adding innovations to compete in new and existing markets by offering value-added products such as different formats, stitching and trimming inline, or printing on coated paper

Press systems have different innovation cycles — mechanics, 10 to 15 years; electronics, two to four years; and software, one to two years — and each cycle offers different opportunities to upgrade. For example, manroland Web Systems provides a single contact service for mechanical, electronic, and software upgrades for both its own and other suppliers’ machines. Services can include a consultation inspection of the complete system to analyze optimization opportunities, project planning, designing, and commissioning. Upgrades to pasters and dryers are available from MEGTEC, while UPM and Sun Chemical provide a range of services for press optimization and troubleshooting.

Press upgrades
Opportunities to upgrade your press can include plate- and blanket-clamping systems, spray-dampening systems, digital inkers, galleries, webbing-up systems, and controls. Benefits from press system upgrades are broad and can include automatic cleaning of the dampening system to reduce changeover times as well as to increase print quality and the system’s life cycle. If there are frequent washes during production, retrofitting a low-maintenance, automatic blanket-washing brush system can increase productivity. In addition, exchanging folder nipping rollers by separated nip rings will reduce changeover time, wear on parts, and maintenance. The separated nip rings are adjusted to the corresponding web widths and section lengths and are surface coated to guarantee optimal performance. In case of wear, only the separated nip rings need to be exchanged, not the complete nipping roller.

Software upgrades for presses with PECOM control can include Quickstart to reduce waste copies during start-up and restart. This software integrates the pre-inking function into the run-up during start-up and optimizes processes during restart and delivery stop to rapidly achieve the required ink density. Another optimization opportunity is to reduce cut-off waste during press acceleration by improved pre-control of the cutting register default on the web lead components,and optimization of the web transport from the printing units to the folder. Press tune-ups also include optimizing installed equipment output, ranging from using tools to measure web stability, remote monitoring and viewing, process audits, and interactive training to improve efficiency.

10-year extension
Fairfax Media’s major expansion to its Western Australia printing plant has increased production capacity to meet growing coldset demand and to expand into heatset printing with the addition of a MEGTEC Dual Dry TNV91 dryer. “This investment indicates our confidence in the continuing demand for mass-produced printed products and publications,” said Bob Lockley, chief executive of print and logistics at Fairfax. “We will be able to provide a much wider variety of products both coldset and heatset with a great deal of flexibility within the plant.”

The control systems of older MEGTEC pasters — such as DME, DME-S, and DLC version DA — can have obsolete components, for example Siemens S5 PLC, replaced with proven, modern supportable technical advancements such as Saia PLC with touchscreen user interface. Another example is the magnetic clutch drive for the acceleration belts that can be replaced by drives with frequency converters. These upgrades help modernize and give the equipment a new lease on life. The advantage for the printer is increased productivity due to less maintenance, improved web stability, tension, and splicing efficiency. Retrofits such as these, in conjunction with similar press upgrades, can extend the lifetime of the paster and press by at least 10 years, according to MEGTEC.

New days at Newsday
Newsday, Inc. selected Goss Intl. for a highly specialized, multi-press reconfiguration project targeted to improve print quality and double color capacity and press speeds. The enhanced press systems went into production in June at its facility in Melville, Long Island, N.Y. The publisher operates multiple press lines to print its flagship daily Newsday, which reaches nearly 1.4 million readers weekly on Long Island and in New York, as well as other products.

Working closely with Newsday, Goss combined components from existing Metro presses at the site to create three enhanced press systems with the capacity to print 96 tabloid pages, including 64 full-color pages, at up to 60,000 impressions per hour. The project included relocation of units and folders, modification of drive lines, repositioning of motors, and installation of customized stacking frames and platforming. Goss also added motorized registration capabilities to the presses and converted the web width of one press to 48 inches.

The size, complexity, and tight time frame of the reconfiguration plan led Newsday to select Goss. “We needed a partner with far-ranging expertise in engineering, project management, manufacturing, installation, and start-up, and the ability to coordinate all those elements,” said Edward Bushey, vice president of operations and distribution. “The Goss team also meshed very well with our own team from day one. That collaborative approach and the scale of their aftermarket resources in North America are vital.”

Goss Intl. and Newsday teamed up to conceptualize and engineer the press reconfiguration. Work began on site in Melville in January. Goss was responsible for project management, installation, and commissioning, with a technical team and press operators from Newsday assisting. Specialized structural components for the project were produced at the Goss machining and manufacturing facility in Kennedale, Texas.

“We appreciate this opportunity to work with a publisher that is taking such a creative, proactive approach to extend the competitive life of existing presses,” said Wesley Clements, vice president of sales for Goss newspaper products in North America. “This project goes far beyond a standard press expansion, and it gives us a chance to showcase how comprehensive, professional, and competitive our resources are.”

Retrofit Checklist
Eight questions to consider when contemplating retrofitting a newspaper web press, according to PrintCity Alliance:

1. Are all spare parts available for the next five to 10 years?

2. Can you ensure daily press production availability for the next five to 10 years?

3. Can you ensure that a system breakdown can be fixed in less than 60 minutes?

4. Do you use remote help (telesupport)?

5. Are makeready and downtime performance optimized to best industry practice?

6. Do you know whether waste, consumables, and energy figures can be further reduced?

7. Does your press provide all the data for process optimization?

8. Does the press deliver value-added publishing products?

New ‘Iron’ Investments

Goss Intl. sold 11 web presses at drupa this spring, including one in Mexico. With one M-800 press already in operation at its facility, commercial printer Grupo Ajusco placed an order for a second one at the drupa tradeshow. The four-unit system has a 4×4 32-page cylinder configuration and will be installed later this year. Grupo Ajusco has invested in the press to add capacity for a wide range of high-quality heatset commercial, tabloid newspaper, retail insert, and book products.

“The overall performance of our first M-800 press, and in particular the high print quality, led us to invest in the second one,” said Sergio Torres, owner of Grupo Ajusco. The company also operates two Goss M-600 16-page web presses. Torres said having two 16-page presses and two 32-page presses with compatible web widths will provide exceptional versatility and efficiency.

Goss will equip the new M-800 press at Grupo Ajusco with a Contiweb CS splicer, Ecocool dryer, automated Omnicon control technology, and a JF70 collect folder that delivers up to 35,000 32-page signatures per hour in collect mode, or up to 70,000 16-page signatures in straight production. The M-800 prints at up to 2,200 feet per minute using conventional flat blankets but incorporates several high-performance features from gapless Goss Sunday presses, including inking and dampening systems, multidrive, and an inline cylinder stack.

Post-drupa in South Africa, printer and publisher Rising Sun Printers also ordered a new Goss Community press to meet growing production requirements for an expanding range of titles. The five-tower configuration is currently being installed into a new press hall. Rising Sun decided on a new-generation Community press based on past experience with Goss equipment, according to joint owner and managing director Vijay Maharaj. “There are cheaper presses out there, but we’re investing in the peace of mind that comes with the Goss name. The success of print production for our company has been entirely established and developed through Goss engineering and manufacturing quality,” Maharaj said.

“Our original press was already 25 years old when we started printing 10 years ago and, with a couple of tower additions and an additional folder along the way, it has served us reliably as we have grown over that time,” he said. “Having said that, this new Community press will take our production set-up into a new dimension — a lot has changed in the appearance and features of the Community since our last installation.”

The new 578mm cut-off press for Rising Sun will have five four-high towers, two SSC folders equipped with quarter-fold capability, and five zero-speed splicers. Featuring spiral brush dampening and a Goss motorized register system, the press has been configured to allow for a further tower addition in the future.

Rising Sun Printers is an independent publisher originally established to address the need for a free community newspaper that could provide information on local services and events. The first newspaper started a trend in South Africa, according to Maharaj, and today, the company employs 250 people in printing and publishing seven other tabloid titles weekly. In total, Rising Sun prints around 20 community newspapers per week, ranging in size up to 80 pages per edition and printed in run lengths up to 60,000 copies.

Consistent Quality

Newsprinters, the U.K. printing arm of News Intl., is pioneering new quality consistency standards with QuadTech’s AccuCam. The state-of-the-art Knowsley site in Liverpool, England, covers 34 acres, with enough print capacity to produce 430,000 120-page tabloid newspapers every hour. The AccuCam systems will be installed on 25 towers of the plant’s five manroland COLORMAN XXL presses.

The decision to select the QuadTech Color Control and Web Inspection System with AccuCam was made following a two-year trial, which resulted in significant improvements in quality consistency and productivity. In addition to advanced image-based color control, the system provides reliable warnings of many common printing faults such as catch up (scumming), creasing, transposed plates, and tramlines. The research and development efforts at Knowsley also resulted in a new AccuCam water control capability, in which the system monitors and controls press damping levels. “This investment will provide us with cost savings and improve already award-winning print quality,” said group managing director Brian McGee. “It reinforces our commitment to stay ahead of the game with regard to printing technology, as we do with all aspects of manufacturing excellence.”

The AccuCam system provides fully automatic closed-loop color control by controlling the ink-key settings. An image-based system, AccuCam uses prepress image files to create L*a*b* target aim point values. Its six-channel spectral sensor measures the printed web and calculates the L*a*b* values of the entire image, then brings the printed image to the specified L*a*b* target values and automatically maintains the color values throughout the production run. The system also provides advanced web inspection from the same sensor, typically detecting defects within the first 170 copies, and continuously throughout the print run.

“The installation of the AccuCam system provides total peace of mind that defects can be eliminated and gives us the confidence to exceed the most demanding expectations, including on high quality paper grades,” said Wayne Thorpe, quality and training manager at Newsprinters. “This helps us in our mission to be recognized as the best newspaper printer in the world.”

The Newsprinters installation will begin in October, and the systems will be fully operational by January 2013. The sale follows successful installations of AccuCam in Asia, Europe, and the Americas, including Sankei Shimbun Printing Co. (Osaka, Japan), Herold Druck und Verlag AG (Vienna, Austria), and the Chicago Tribune.

drupa Show Follow-Up

Newspaper and commercial printers seeking better ways to lower costs while achieving a wider gamut of color reproduction found answers at drupa stand 3A50. Visual Communication Technologies from the Sakata INX Group demonstrated ink products and halftone technologies designed specifically for these applications.

“Higher quality inserts as well as overall newspaper and commercial reproduction are imperative for printers and publishers in order to meet client demands in today’s increasingly competitive global marketplace,” said Kuniyoshi Horimoto of Sakata INX. “The range of substrates including newer calendared stocks poses additional challenges. We offer options that address these challenges from several perspectives. Together, they can significantly impact results.”

Leading the way is the Luce process color ink system, which is ideal for newspaper and semi-commercial print applications. “Visuals are brighter with higher color intensity than with ordinary inks,” Horimoto said. “This results from a wider color gamut, which also allows Luce inks to be run at higher densities with reduced dot gain, while achieving greater color saturation.”

Luce users can expect better ink mileage as well. “The Luce ink system is designed to print at a lower film thickness at standard densities,” Horimoto said. “Consequently, this reduces strike-through on newsprint substrates, a definite plus with publishers and their advertising clientele.”

Although many items factor into daily expenses for any print operation, reduced ink consumption in today’s tight economy adds up to a notable plus that goes directly to the bottom line. “The higher quality output provided by Luce inks’ wider color gamut with more vivid, saturated color is sure to please all parties involved.”

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