UPDATE: KBA Wins Second, Bigger Triplewide Cortina Order

By: Jim Rosenberg Paris-based Le Figaro, a 480,000-circulation national daily, plans to install triplewide waterless KBA Cortina presses. Able to print six pages across on a maximum 74.5-inch web width, the two five-tower press lines represent the largest Cortina order to date.

The sale is the second in as many weeks for an extra-wide Cortina. KBA earlier announced the sale of a two-tower triplewide version of its waterless offset press, in 20-inch cutoff Rhine format, to a newspaper printer in Germany.

With an 18.5-inch cutoff, the Berliner-format Cortinas for Le Figaro together will have a maximum capacity of 120 broadsheet or 240 tabloid pages in full color, each at a maximum rated output of 80,000 copies per hour in straight production mode.

The capacity figures cited are for the Berliner's small-broadsheet size and a tabloid with a corresponding 9.25-inch page width. Prevalent in Europe for some quick-read titles, the smaller-dimension tabloid "has almost a quarterfold look to it," remarked KBA North America Newspaper Sales and Communications Vice President Gary Owen. "It's a popular read over there," he continued, and used "especially in a stitched tabloid format" for products that readers are likely to keep longer than the daily newspaper.

Production on Figaro's new press is to start at the end of 2008 at a new facility near Charles de Gaulle airport. Two heatset dryers, additional towers and reelstands and ribbon stitchers may be added later. The plant's design provides for installation of a third press line, if needed. A singlewide KBA Continent installed at Figaro group's plant in 2002 is primarily used to print the International Herald Tribune and Paris-Turf.

Ten Pastomat RC reelstands (59-inch maximum roll diameter) will feed newsprint to the big Cortina's 10 four-high towers, which will incorporate 10 double turner bars, two folder superstructures with four formers apiece, and two KF 5 double jaw folders with section stitchers. Auxiliaries will include Patras A reel handling, an ink pumping system, and blanket and roller wash-ups, all fully automated.

Reducing labor required for operation and maintenance, the automation will extend throughout the press line, with KBA PlateTronic automatic plate changers, KBA RollerTronic automatically adjustable roller locks, and KBA NipTronic remote-controlled bearing units. The presses will be equipped with KBA consoles running Print production scheduling and press presetting software from EAE.

Production Manager Andre Menet said the triplewide version of the compact waterless press "unites the Cortina-specific benefits of ultra-short makereadies, easy handling, minimum start-up waste, precise registration and consistently high quality in full-color production" with the wider press' advantages of "reduced capital investment costs, fewer components, a shorter press length and much simpler web leads for titles with three or four signatures."

Menet also pointed to the product flexibility and production efficiency permitted by adding heatset that uses the same type of ink. "The absence of dampening units virtually eliminates fan-out and means that web stretch will no longer be an issue if we take up the option of hybrid coldset/heatset operation with a retrofit dryer," he added, noting opportunities to print quality supplements and contract work.

With no water to cause fan-out, the Cortina can hold color register using blanket-to-blanket printing rather than relying on a satellite-style design with impression cylinder.

Founded in 1825, Le Figaro is owned by French aviation group Dassault. Besides Le Figaro and its supplements (Le Figaro ?conomie, R?ussir and Le Figaro Litt?raire), the six-across, two-around Cortina will print weekly magazines.

"Le Figaro's decision ... is a major milestone in the acceptance of waterless print production by the global newspaper market,"
KBA Executive Vice President for Web Press Sales Christoph M?ller said at the signing of contracts.

While Cortina offers advantages in press size, automation and print quality, waterless printing's characteristic interactions of ink, paper and plate differ from the offset litho with which most newspaper pressrooms are familiar. As for this market, Owen said that "given growing interest in Europe, it is quite possible that North American publishers will take a closer look as time goes on."

The earlier triplewide Cortina order, from Bremerhaven-based Druckzentrum Nordsee, followed sales of nine doublewide, two-around Cortinas to printers in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Switzerland. (In its debut, the press was a one-around prototype demonstrated at the Drupa trade show in 2000).

Slated to be in live production in October 2008, Nordsee's 13-foot-high towers, which will print the 71,000-circulation Nordsee-Zeitung, two other company dailies, free papers, and contract publications, will be able to print 48 broadsheet or 96 tabloid full-color pages. The press will be configured with two double turner bars, a triple-former folder superstructure, cut-off register controls and a KBA KF 5 jaw folder with section stitcher. It will be controlled from a new-generation KBA ErgoTronic console with interfaces to upstream systems and a service PC for online maintenance.


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