The Chicago Tribune Company is making a major investment in print quality – centered around QuadTech’s color control, inspection and register control technology. In the largest deal of QuadTech’s 33-year history, one of the USA’s most prestigious newspaper publishing groups is equipping 52 towers, on 10 printing lines with QuadTech’s Color Control and Web Inspection System with AccuCam™ and Register Control System with MultiCam™ at its Freedom Center plant in Chicago.
The Chicago Tribune’s Freedom Center is the largest newspaper web-offset operation under one roof in North America. Its ten MAN Colorman and Goss Metrocolor presses manufacture 2,850,000 products each day, printing a host of major newspaper titles, including the Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Investor’s Business Daily, Chicago Sun-Times Media Publications, and over 20 regional and specialist business titles.
“This investment is being made to gain efficiency, uniformity in our press operations and improvement in print quality for ours and our commercial clients’ products. We are confidently investing in the future of print. The installation of QuadTech’s technology represents our commitment to delivering consistent quality and minimizing our cost structures, especially for our customers in the short-run market,” commented Brian Karnick, Chicago Tribune Vice President of Operations.
Karl Fritchen, QuadTech president, commented: “With the advent of the digital age, readers and advertisers alike are less tolerant of defects, including variations in density, color reproduction and registration. We are delighted to form a strategic partnership with the Chicago Tribune to overcome these challenges and deliver to the same exacting standards of reproduction as rival media alternatives, with this landmark agreement.”
QuadTech’s AccuCam combines color control and web inspection capability, all from the same sensor. Its proprietary spectral sensor for L*a*b* image-based color control eliminates the need for colorbars or graybars. A closed-loop system, AccuCam analyzes the entire image and automatically obtains target aim point values from a high-resolution prepress file to maintain accurate color, by automatically adjusting ink keys throughout the production run. The system also controls and optimizes the ink ratchet for high inking performance, creating better color, reduced waste and minimized operator intervention. All surfaces are inspected and common print faults such as scumming, blanket smashes, incorrect plates and color variations, are detected. Early spotting of inconsistencies allows for corrective action before defects become a costly problem.
QuadTech’s MultiCam® provides accurate color-to-color register, cut-off register and ribbon register to commercial web and newspaper printers. Like AccuCam, the MultiCam systems are designed to work on the ICON™ integrated platform with other QuadTech products. MultiCam is the world's best-selling register camera with over 10,000 cameras built.
On the decision to invest in QuadTech’s technology, the Chicago Tribune’s Brian Karnick said: “There are many color control choices in the marketplace. QuadTech was the best fit for our needs in terms of quality control and defect detection. The modular design and image-based technology allows for state-of-the-art image control without the need for additional targets and gray bars. This made it very appealing for our team. In addition, the ability for the system to alert operators to other defects such as ink loss or ink scumming is like another set of eyes for our press team.”
QuadTech’s strategic partnerships with newspaper printers have led to continuing development of AccuCam capabilities. At drupa 2012 (Hall 17 / A01) the company will introduce the addition of water control to the AccuCam system’s array of capabilities.