Flexible Commander CL surpasses all expectations
In autumn 2014 French media group Sipa - Ouest-France flipped the switch on a Commander CL 4/1 from Koenig & Bauer (KBA) at the company’s headquarters in Rennes. The flexibly automatable four-high press installed at France’s largest newspaper group admirably took over the printing of numerous part editions.
As the new press surpassed all expectations regarding economy and print quality, the media house recently placed an order for a second, almost identical Commander CL 4/1 which is to be installed in spring 2016. The group’s brave investment in print was rewarded in November with the “Les Trophées de l’Innovation Presse” prize in the category “Best print innovation 2014” much sought-after by French newspaper houses.
Heavyweight in the European media arena
The Sipa – Ouest-France group is one of the most influential media companies in Europe with annual sales of over €1bn ($1.39bn) in 2013. Its core business is the publication of regional and topic-based newspapers. The shining star of France’s second-largest press company is the daily newspaper Ouest-France. With a daily circulation of around 800,000 copies and 53 editions, the title founded in 1944 has been France’s largest daily newspaper since 1975. It is printed in Rennes and sold in the three regions of western France Brittany, Pays de Loire and Lower Normandy as well as in the Paris area. The group has a total regional circulation of about 1 million copies including the Sunday newspaper, Dimanche Ouest-France, and the regional titles Presse de la Manche, Le Courrier de l’Ouest, Presse-Océan and Le Maine Libre.
Furthermore, Publihebdos, a division of the company, publishes 79 weeklies in seven regions with a total circulation of over 830,000 copies. This is in addition to shares in the free newspaper 20 Minutes France.
Along with print media and publishing, the media company is also active in advertising, marketing, consulting and radio. The group is also particularly innovative in the multimedia sector. Its online portals for cars, property and a job market are very popular.
Brave investment policy for print wins awards
Ouest-France has two production sites: one in Rennes currently with five presses and one in La Chevrolière, near Nantes, with two web presses. The group felt it had to renew its press fleet due to the pressure put on printed newspapers by the digitalisation of the media landscape over the last several years. Printing plant director Emile Hédan: “We have to continue to modernise our printing plants due to the media shift and prepare them for the future by increasing full colour capacity, efficiency and economy. In order to do this we need tailor-made presses in terms of automation and kit that delivers a high level of print quality, reliability and production flexibility. The KBA Commander CL has met our expectations regarding all the points mentioned.”
The first Commander was installed at the group’s main site in Rennes in 2014. The second, almost identical press line will come on stream there in spring 2016. Together the new KBA presses will replace three old Miller Nohab presses from 1978. According to Ouest-France its €32m-investment ($36m) will pay off in less than five years and as part of the “Les Trophées de l’Innovation Presse” awards it was rewarded with the first prize in the category “Best print innovation 2014” on 26 November.
Considerable spike in productivity
The new investment will boost productivity at the printing facility in Rennes substantially. Just like the first press, the second KBA Commander CL (format: 350 x 500mm/13.8 x 19.7in) also for this site has a production output of 84,000 Broadsheet newspapers with up to 48 pages per hour (40 of which in four colours), or double each page number for Tabloid production.
Both 4/1 presses each consist of five four-high towers for 4/4 printing, a 1/1 printing unit for black printing on both sides, a KF 5 jaw folder with ribbon stitcher and six Pastomat reelstands. Further kit includes RollerTronic roller locks, ink feed and ink unit washing systems, automatic colour and cut-off register controls, and semi-automatic plate changing systems. The Commander CL 4/1 will be controlled by ErgoTronic consoles incorporating the automation modules KBA EasyStart for automatic press start-up and EasyClean-up for automatic press run-down. A PRIME interface will allow the integration into the existing job scheduling and press preset system.