Naples Newspaper Selects Wifag Press for New Plant

By: Jim Rosenberg

E.W. Scripps Co.’s Naples (Fla.) Daily News has ordered a Wifag evolution 371 press for the plant it won approval to build in Collier County. The press is expected to be in operation some time in 2009.

The sale was announced at Saturday’s opening of the annual Nexpo trade show and conference in Orlando, Fla.

The Swiss-made press — designed as a platform for the incorporation of future additional technologies, including on-press plate imaging – will consist of six four-high towers, six reelstands and two FA 140 2:5:5 jaw folders with balloon formers.

To be fitted with image-based, closed-loop controls for cutoff and color register, the press may in future use closed-loop ink-density control, along with on-press plate imaging.

The 21-inch-cutoff press will run 48- or 46-inch-wide webs, but probably will run at 48 inches, according to Wifag and Daily News executives.

The Daily News spent 18 months investigating various presses from “all major manufacturers,” said Operations Director Tom Sewall, who recently joined the Daily News from the Kalamazoo (Mich.) Gazette. Besides quality and efficiency, Sewall cited variable web-width capability among reasons for the choice.

Before opting for the evolution, “they really did their homework,” said Wifag executive Noel McEvoy, noting that representatives of the Daily News visited Wifag sites in England, Italy, and Syracuse, N.Y.

Sewall remains at Nexpo shopping for post-press equipment, but said selection is “probably three to six months out.”

For its new-plant project, the Daily News “assembled a good team of vendors” and benefits from “a good market” in southwest Florida, said Sewall. Original masterplanning was undertaken by Dario Designs, Marlboro, Mass., which has been retained for the project’s architecture and engineering.

That “good market” will allow the new plant and press to support the company’s own niche products — some 20-plus titles — rather than pursing a large volume of commercial work, according to Sewall. Daily News circulation was up almost 200 on weekdays and approximately 3,000 Sundays last year, reaching 47,126 and 57, 235, respectively, for the Audit Bureau of Circulations period ending Sept. 30.

Specifics of the press configuration are still in the works. “We’ve done an analysis of their production” and future possibilities to comeup with an optimal press configuration, said McEvoy.

Calling the press “a new beast,” McEvoy added that its capabilities and requirements will impact production management and prepress expectations, to the extent that the latter will be supplying data to the highly automated press.

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