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Newsprinters, Knowsley makes quality leap with the installation of QuadTech’s AccuCam on all 25 towers

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Press release from the issuing company

Sussex, Wisconsin, USA and Knowsley, UK – The Knowsley plant of Newsprinters, the UK printing operation of News International, has achieved significant quality, productivity and cost-control improvements after installing QuadTech’s AccuCam system on all 25 towers at the plant. The system, which offers automated color control, web inspection and damp control, has been integrated into the plant’s five manroland COLORMAN XXL presses.

Using spectral data and correcting color deviations at speed, QuadTech’s Color Control and Web Inspection System with AccuCam™ is enabling Newsprinters to eliminate waste and the occurrence of a host of defects, including scumming, creasing, transposed plates, plate crack-outs, and tramlines. A closed-loop system that scans the whole page, AccuCam provides true image-based color control. Printed copy is controlled against a pre-press image file that has L*a*b* target aim point values for every pixel. Its six-channel spectral sensor measures the printed web and calculates the L*a*b* values of the entire image, compares this to the prepress file L*a*b* target aim points, then makes changes to the ink supply automatically, maintaining color consistency throughout the production run. It analyzes every ink key at least twice a minute. This rate is up to 80 times faster than the manual control method employed by Newsprinters before installation.

The Knowsley plant of Newsprinters produces over 12 million newspapers per week for northern England, Wales and the Scottish Borders with daily and weekly national titles including News International’s own Sun, Sun on Sunday, The Times and Sunday Times and as well as the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Telegraph, the Financial Times and the Times Literary Supplement

Allan Wain, operations director (North) at Newsprinters, says: “The QuadTech AccuCam system has made color control a fully automated affair, making ink key adjustments in seconds, rectifying potential production problems before occurrence of quality loss or machine damage. Our workflow is more cost-effective and I believe it has been such a success that Knowsley will get back the investment easily within two years.”

Thanks to the speed of ink-key changes, AccuCam has reduced start-up waste at Newsprinters. The system reaches fine color, the state when over 80 percent of all ink zones are within 0.02 absolute delta density of target, about one minute after the production run’s start and maintained until the end.  

The decision of Newsprinters to install on all towers follows four years’ successful research and development by both the printer and QuadTech, on five towers. During that time, the AccuCam is being enhanced to include water control. The system uses pre-setting to adhere to automated water volumes, via algorithms created from the image density values of the pre-press files. This avoids the phenomenon of scumming.  

AccuCam is connected to QuadTech’s Data Central® system which stores performance data and provides a real-time screen view of quality status, alerting to aberrations. This can provide an early warning of potentially expensive problems such as plate damage.

As a result of improvements, Newsprinters has been able to bring back in-house the production of the re-launched Sun weekly TV guide magazine supplement, with a production run of 3.3 million.  

 “Thanks to the AccuCam installation, the Knowsley operation is achieving consistently clear, accurate print throughout the run and from one job to the next. We are able to repeat formerly difficult features with ease,” says Wayne Thorpe, operations manager.


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