N. Jersey Media Buys Wifag’s Latest Design

By: Jim Rosenberg

No. Jersey Media Buys Wifag’s Latest Design

By Jim Rosenberg

North Jersey Media Group of Hackensack, N.J., announced plans last week that to buy Swiss manufacturer Wifag’s latest press design for its Commercial Printing Division in Rockaway, N.J.

President Jon Markey said the company reached agreement in principle with Wifag to install an evolution 371 blanket-to-blanket press, to be operational in the summer of 2006. The conventional four-page-wide, two-page-around press is designed to accommodate digital imaging and controls technologies as they become available, eventually to include on-press plate exposure, erasure and re-exposure.

The decision followed a visit to Switzerland in May, when a press built for a Zurich customer was demonstrated for representatives from several newspapers, including Rick Ruffino, technology chief at North Jersey Media. Neue Zurcher Zeitung is installing two evolution 471 presses, which feature common-impression printing couples. Another, multi-title newspaper printer in Zurich has ordered a 371 (E&P Online, Feb. 23).

North Jersey Media’s press will require an expansion of the Rockaway plant, which already houses two doublewide Mitsubishi presses and a MAN-Roland Uniset singlewide press.

Evolution’s digital processing system enables many functions to be performed electronically while the press is running through the use of image data for closed-loop control of cut-off register, circumferential register and color density. Evolution’s onboard computer permits processing of large TIFF/G4, PDF or PostScript files. Other functions include ink presetting, on-the-fly plate changes, web-width changes, and full edition changes.

Processing time for making individual page plates is said to be reduced by imaging plates already mounted on the cylinder. According to North Jersey Media and Wifag, an entire edition can be plated on press in under five minutes using the Wifag-provided infrared-laser imaging heads.

Earlier shaftless presses from Bern-based Wifag currently print The Post-Standard of Syracuse, N.Y., Tulsa (Okla.) World, and The Dallas Morning News. Nova Scotia’s Halifax Herald Ltd., Wifag’s sole Canadian customer, began production on its new press early this year. North Jersey Media Group will be the first U.S. newspaper publisher with on-press computer-to-plate capabilities on a doublewide press.

North Jersey Media publishes The Record, its flagship in Bergen County, the Herald News, primarily for Passaic County, and 35 weeklies for communities in four counties. With the exception of a few community papers printed in the Hackensack plant, the company’s Commercial Printing Division produces all the weeklies and the company’s specialty publications. Commercial clients range from large dailies such as USA Today and amNewYork to dozens of other outside weeklies and trade titles.

Announcing its planned purchase, North Jersey Media said that evolution’s press-change capabilities are aimed at eliminating continual press start and stop now required to produce the variety and volume of print orders handled by the Rockaway plant. Besides speeding production and opening printing windows for additional products, the new press is expected to reduce the amount of newsprint wasted at each cold start.

In a prepared statement, Markey said the investment in moving digital workflow to the press will streamline production while adding flexibility and capacity.

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