Harrisburg Also Opts For Geoman p.22

By: JIM ROSENBERG PRESS MAKER MAN Roland received a letter of intent from the Harrisburg, Pa., Patriot-News to purchase a Geoman offset press at about the same time the Des Moines Register announced its own plans to put a Geoman into a new production plant in two years.
"That's what we're going to buy," declared publisher Raymond L. Gover, describing a press consisting of six full-color, eight-couple towers with eight reelstands and two 2:5:5 jaw folders.
Under the Geoman the Patriot-News will install split-arm reels. The page-wide, three-roller (two rubber covered over one chrome plated) Turbo dampener is now standard on MAN presses. According to the press maker, Harrisburg also opted to equip the units with its blanket-washing devices, which flip up and down to clean side pairs of blankets on the H-type units.
MAN vice president Vince Lapinski said the washing devices are most needed on presses that handle long runs or are kept in use for much of the day.
"The ones on the market today," he said, "certainly work better on the old ones."
Production manager Fred Stickel Jr. said late last month that the Patriot-News Co. hoped to ink a contract with MAN Roland very soon. He noted that it will be the press maker's first sale to a Newhouse newspaper, though the company had serviced the chain's older Hoe presses.
Unlike Des Moines' shaftless design, Harrisburg's Geoman will have a conventional drive system, according to Gover, who cited greater comfort with more familiar operation. He said no decisions had been made on other production and packaging equipment. Stickel said although he'll be looking into mailroom systems at Nexpo, personnel from Harrisburg already were visiting mailrooms at other newspapers around the country.
Of the 78 Geoman presses MAN says it has sold world wide, the Patriot-News will be the third Geoman site in the U.S. (going in about six months before the Des Moines installation) and the second in Pennsylvania.
In winter, a smaller Geoman, on MEG reelstands and feeding rotary and jaw folders, went into live production northeast of Harrisburg in Wilkes-Barre, at Knight-Ridder's newly acquired Times Leader, where vice president and operations director Albert Manzi said he initially thought two jaw folders would work best.
"The press people are in love with our jaw folders," he later told an audience at the Newspaper Association of America's Operations SuperConference in January.
Gover was among newspaper executives visiting the Times Leader's new plant last fall, when what was then the Cap Cities/ABC-Disney daily's crew and MAN Roland technicians put the press through a full pre-production test run using a difficult four-color lead. (According to Manzi, a Cap Cities executive signed off on the press purchase when he heard the loud, ominous hum emanating from the electric room of the paper's 45-year-old letterpress and feared someone would get killed.)
Harrisburg will put up its own new plant at a site about five miles south and across the Susquehanna River from its current downtown location (about eight miles by car). Anticipating site preparation in the fall, Gover said construction may be able to begin as early as late February or March of next year.
"If everything falls into place," he said, "we should receive the presses in the new building in January 1999, and hopefully be in production in the summer."
Modernization of production in Des Moines and Harrisburg will leave only three other state capitals ? Topeka, Albany and Lincoln ? with entirely letterpress-printed dailies. For the last, Lee Enterprises announced it will spend $20 million, but has yet to specify a choice of printing process or press.

?( E&P Web Site: http://www.mediainfo.com)
?(copyaright: Editor & Publisher June 21, 1997)


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