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Heidelberg sole supplier of major press & postpress inserting systems at Roanoke Times

Friday, April 11, 2003

Press release from the issuing company

April 11, 2003 -- DOVER, NH - With the start up of a Heidelberg Magnapak packaging system, The Roanoke Times has completed phase one of an historical $31.6 million upgrade of its production facilities. The installation project marks the first time in industry history that a single supplier has provided major press and postpress inserting systems. Components for phase two, the first gapless Mainstream press in the United States, are now arriving at a new 47,000 square-foot printing facility in Roanoke. The press will go on edition in late fall. A Heidelberg NP200 gripper conveyor will carry papers from the press, through a walkway over a street, to the postpress area. The Magnapak packaging system at The Roanoke Times cycles at up to 30,000 papers per hour and includes 32 independently driven hopper stations. Shaftless technology was a critical factor in the purchase decision, according to Lucas Tuning, mailroom operations manager. "We wanted to be on the cutting edge, and, with the Magnapak, we feel like we got tomorrow's technology today," he says. Tuning reports that the learning curve for the Magnapak was extremely short, and that operators took advantage of the added speed, capacity and on-the-fly setup features almost immediately. "Our Sunday package, for example, used to take three to three and a half days to complete," he explains. "Now we have streamlined our workflow to a point where we routinely turn it around in one day or a day and a half." Working with a single vendor for postpress and press systems has also streamlined the project management process, according to Chip Harris, the paper's production director. "We make one phone call and schedule one meeting instead of coordinating multiple calls and meetings," he explains. Harris expects that selecting Heidelberg to manage both phases of the project will continue to pay dividends in the form of integrated operating systems and service programs. The gapless, 48-couple Mainstream press at The Roanoke Times will be configured with six four-high towers. Heidelberg will supply a JF255 jaw folder and seven Contiweb FD pasters with automated loading and reel preparation capabilities. The Roanoke Times' readers and advertisers are following the project closely and looking forward to expanded color and improved print quality, according to Harris. He says print quality provided by the gapless blanket technology and the ability to print 80,000 papers per hour with a plate saving 1x4 cylinder configuration are the key Mainstream features. "We run straight 100 percent of the time, so we are mounting duplicate plates on our current two-around press," Harris explains. "Cutting plate requirements with the one-around configuration will reduce plate costs, the time needed to make and mount duplicate plates, and our CTP investments over the life of the press." Harris also anticipates that the integrated Heidelberg press and postpress systems will complement each other. Added capacity provided by the Magnapak will give The Times the option of printing pre runs on the Mainstream and assembling final packages in postpress. A web cam at www.roanoke.com/roatimes/webcam provides continuously updated photos of the Roanoke Times mainstream installation and additional information on the project.




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