Since completion last year of the installation of the first triple-wide Goss Uniliner press in the USA, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is on its way to achieving key business and performance criteria stated at project outset. Increased advertiser activity as well as readers’ response indicate the success of investment in new production capabilities and wide-scale redesign.
According to Lisa Hurm, director of operations with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, it has been hard not to be thrilled: “The printed edition looks fabulous, with brilliant color on every page; every nuance of the artwork is brought out. We’ve had really great customer feedback in this respect and our advertisers have been more than happy with the opportunities now available to them.”
The technical competencies of the four-tower press have seen a new lease of life for classified sections, obituaries and comics, says Hurm, while there are encouraging signs in other areas too: “We used to outsource our TV guides, as well as sections, wraps and jackets, but these have all come in-house now. Once we felt fully confident of this quality of work, we started doing some commercial work for outside parties. These were mostly brochures on thicker, bright white paper for some local conventions as well as for a number car dealers among others. They have been received very well.”
Alongside development of its electronic publication and other digital functionality of the PG brand, the decision in 2013 to invest in a new print production facility reflected the company’s commitment to the printed word. It required an investment in technology that could deliver the very latest capabilities for value-added print featuring a high level of automation, high-speed and productivity, as well as flexibility for as-yet unknown demands. The lengthy consultation period that followed involved all the key equipment and systems suppliers to the newspaper industry.
“Goss had a very good understanding of what we needed and, in true partnership, responded well to our requirements,” explains Hurm. “The speed of the press and its quality of design were crucial.”
The press line comprises four four-high printing towers with a 21-inch (533 mm) cut-off, four reelstands and a double-couple J2:5:5 jaw folder. Reelstands are positioned in the ‘T90’ configuration, that is, at right angles to the press line, providing easy access for press crew.
For maximum productivity the printing units are capable of up to 80,000 full-color copies per hour in straight production (48 broadsheet pages) or 40,000 copies per hour for collect production (96 pages of full color). These output speeds are enhanced by makeready advantages including motorized pre-set ink keys, spray bar dampening, register system, automated folder settings and shaftless press drives.
For flexibility, a wide range of equipment specifications increase the production options. PG specified a maximum web width of 66 inches (1680 mm), equivalent to six pages across of 11 inches per page. Added to this, the company chose to include a secondary web width of 30 inches (762 mm) for running 15-inch tabloids. This format runs to the lower former assembly of the jaw folder, which is equipped for up to four webs or 12 ribbons. In addition, the jaw folder includes a balloon former assembly, also equipped for up to 12 ribbons and with a center former capable of running both 11-inch and 15-inch pages. For ultimate versatility in operation, the folder features a single push-button fold changeover for switching between straight and collect production.
Mike D’Angelo, managing director of Goss Americas, believes the state-of-the-art installation is ideal for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in terms of both current production requirements and long-term aspirations. “PG epitomizes a 21st century newspaper at the top of its game, encompassing both modern news journalism and traditional interests and preferences. It addresses the new world of digital and mobile connectivity while maintaining a thriving community of readers and contributors – with print very much at the heart of things. The flexibility of this Uniliner configuration means that PG can continue to innovate and adapt according to advertiser demand, while its proven print quality and productivity will ensure ongoing high standards that will maintain the printed edition at the pinnacle of the PG brand offering.”
With a history dating back to 1786 the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, under a range of titles and ownership, has been reflecting and leading thought in Pennsylvania for well over 200 years. Through some of the most significant developments, since first publishing the Constitution of the United States in 1787, the paper has provided daily updates on local, national and world events. Today, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is Western Pennsylvania’s largest newspaper with a daily printed circulation of around 140,000 rising to more than 270,000 copies on Sunday. As the region’s most visited news website, post-gazette.com complements the printed edition, together reaching nearly one million people each week.