Express Newspapers Hands KBA Big Commander Order

By: E&P Staff

When the Westferry Printers subsidiary of Britain’s Express Newspapers Group moves from its London Docklands home of 24 years to another site, possibly to the north of London, it will print on a press of both coldset and heatset offset, and ancillary equipment – a $145.5 million investment to be made over the next five years by Richard Desmond, who became the printing operation’s sole owner after buying out the Telegraph Group last year.

The company has initially ordered four compact KBA Commander CT press lines and Ferag mailroom equipment, and has plans for additional printing towers, reelstands and heatset dryers. The first, coldset phase is expected to be running in early 2012.

KBA said the sale is its biggest this year.

Besides the Daily and Sunday Express and the Daily Star and Daily Star Sunday, the new presses will print contract work, including the Daily Sport, and eventually will be used for semi-commercial work, including the group’s magazines.

Last month in the U.K. Press Gazette, Dominic Ponsford reported Desmond’s investment in unnamed presses, noting that his papers will be the country’s last national titles to print in all color – up to 128 pages per edition.

The four highly automated, doublewide two-around presses will comprise 22 Pastomat reelstands, 22 compact four-high towers and four heavy-duty KF 7 jaw folders, with an automated paper logistics system. The towers feature KBA PlateTronic automatic plate changers, KBA RollerTronic automatically adjustable roller locks and KBA NipTronic bearing units for automatic adjustment of printing pressure.

“The high level of automation will extend throughout the press line, dramatically reducing the time input required for operation and maintenance,” Westferry and Broughton Printers’ chief executive David Broadhurst said in a statement. Broughton Printers, in Preston, runs KBA Commanders.

The new presses will have a maximum rated output of 90,000 copies per hour, a 22.75-inch cut-off and a maximum web width of 57.5 inches. Their KBA ErgoTronic consoles will feature EAE’s Print production scheduling and press presetting software. They will be equipped with Baldwin Technology’s web- cleaning systems and Maxima spray bars.

Broadhurst said the investment “is split between the north and south print centers. We have a stage-two option with KBA for the supply of a further 12 units and two folders of the same CT for Preston together with an additional unit for the existing Commander.”

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