Successful MAN Roland Forum at the Vorarlberger Medienhaus
Press release from the issuing company
December 1, 2003 -- Around one year ago at ifraEXPO in Barcelona, MAN Roland surprised the newspaper community with a completely new concept: the integration of newspaper production with MAN Roland as prime contractor working together with other leading industry specialists – basysPrint, Eurografica, Fujifilm, ppi Media and SandyScreen. – Understandably the newspaper community was eager to see this concept actually work in practice.
The Forum – Printing press manufacturers are becoming integrators
In September 2003 the system partners organized an international forum attended by 170 people from eight European countries at the Vorarlberger Medienhaus (VMH) in Vorarlberger Medienhaus (VMH) in Schwarzach near Bregenz/Austria.
Martin Lange, on behalf of the MAN Roland Group and the system partners, welcomed guests from 32 newspaper publishers from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium, Spain, and France, as well as a large group from Croatia.
Josef Aumiller, Head of Web Press Product Marketing at MAN Roland, Augsburg, explained why MAN Roland elected to provide this service. Driven by competition – shorter production times, higher quality expectations, greater flexibility – the entire production chain has become digitalized. And to cut costs and boost quality in the present economic situation, the only answer is production integration. MAN Roland has gathered many years of experience with PECOM that has long since developed into a printing plant management system. Therefore it was a logical step to broaden this management base to include publishing aspects with the workflow systems from ppi Media.
Whereas MAN Roland has held a majority interest in ppi Media for one year now, for other important areas of integration the company has chosen to cooperate with market leaders outside the MAN Roland Group. This includes basysPrint and its UV-Setter 57-Z which is the only CtP system for newspapers that works with conventional plates. This also includes the internationally active Japanese company Fujifilm and the special UVN-E plate it has developed for the CtcP system, and, last but not least, the optimisation work provided by SandyScreen AG of Basel, Switzerland.
The Media House and its project
Technical Director Wilfried Übelher gave an overview of VMH’s successful media operations that include a very wide range of activities: the local radio station ‘Antenne Vorarlberg’, ‘Vorarlberg Online’, a very successful web provider, the state’s leading daily newspapers ‘Vorarlberger Nachrichten’ and ‘Neue’, the young adults magazine ‘Wann & Wo’ and the Zurich city paper ‘20 Minuten’.
The Augsburg consultancy company Eurografica GmbH – an MAN Roland subsidiary – was responsible for implementing the project. Together with VMH Prepress Manager Peter Zehrer, Eurografica Project Manager Kurt Übelher presented the system and process integration that had taken place in Bregenz over the past few months. The media house was faced with the situation that the competitive edge of a four-colour daily paper they once enjoyed had to be replaced by new differentiating features. Improved quality was one approach but the market was demanding lower costs at the same time. It was clear that simply adding or replacing components would not solve the problem. What was needed was integration, total process optimisation, cost reductions across the board, and higher quality.
In this context, Kurt Übelher emphasised the significance of the new front-end workflow and the holistic production system for a deeper system integration that unites publishing and print production.
CtP reduces costs
At this point the system partners went into more detail about their roles in the joint project. Christian Finder, International Sales Manager at ppi Media, presented what may well be the most extensive part of the project. ppi Media created the link between the technical ad system and the Hubbuch commercial system, integrated the AdPag advertisement make-up system, and with PlanPag set up comprehensive production planning and control. An important automation component is the ProPag page assembly program that eliminates all manual assembly tasks. Similar advantages are provided by ProMan that controls the output process steps fully automatically, and GlobalTrack that keeps an eye on the entire newspaper production process.
Since 1997 basysPrint GmbH from Boizenburg in Germany has been a provider of Computer to conventional Plate systems. Speakers at the forum were Ulf Meyer, Sales Manager for Germany, and Jürgen Szibbat, Sales Manager International. Meanwhile there are 30 UV-Setter 57-Z units installed in newspaper plants worldwide but the two basysPrint systems at VMH are something special – VMH and its Technical Director Wilfried Übelher belong among the very first pioneers of CtP in a newspaper environment since 1994. The cost savings achieved amount to something like € 200,000 per year!
A particular highlight in this respect is the Fujifilm Brillia UVN-E plate that has been specially developed and optimized for the UV-SetterTM. As Fuji-film Product Manager Wieland Schwarz explained, this is a newspaper printing plate. It can generally be processed in existing plate processors with conventional developing agents. As regards chemical consumption and waste disposal costs, this system is much less expensive than the methods previously used. On top of that, the UVN-E plate provides an unmatched optimization potential between exposure time and printing durability.
Tap potential, optimize quality
Prepress, imaging unit and plates are one thing; the performance potential contained in the systems is another. And this is where Tintorello Quality, that was explained by SandyScreen’s Thomas Häny and CEO Paul Rhinow, comes in. Tintorello is a quality optimization concept. The most important intention is to optimize all pertinent process steps, thus encouraging or even first creating quality awarenes. It will eventually be possible to print newspaper illustrations in a 48-line screen, the first steps toward this have already been taken at VMH. The plan is to use a 60-line screen for selected commercials and this is also being achieved gradually.
Dr. Rudolf Nägele, head of PECOM development at MAN Roland in Augsburg, moved the focus back to workflows. PECOM has a long history at VMH – it began 10 years ago. In the course of the MAN Roland and Eurografica project important interfaces to the ppi Media system were realized. Whereas PECOM directly informs PlanPag about the current production possibilities of the GEOMAN, all necessary job information such as product description, run length and planned production time is automatically taken over from ppi Media. With the PECOM TrackLink function the latest production information is permanently available, and finally the output and production data can be passed on the MLRS via Management Link.
Information followed by practical demonstrations
Moderator and PrePress Consultant Michael Mittelhaus summarized the information-packed morning as follows: “We have been given an overview of a production workflow that starts with planning which automatically unites the output of the editorial and ad pages into a digital printing forme that output management provides with all the information needed for production control and gives the page data for ripping, proofing and exposure to the UV-Setter. Then the PECOM Production Manager on the MAN Roland GEOMAN is provided with planning and production data and the whole process is tracked i.e. monitored and controlled. Integrated in this system is low-cost digital platemaking on the basysPrint UV-Setter 57-Z with the rapidly-processed and long-running conventional Fuji UVN-E plates, imaged in optimal quality by SandyScreen Tintorello. This is no longer a hypothetical project, and not a marketing stunt, but an integration performance put into practice by MAN Roland and its consultancy subsidiary Eurografica.”
Afterwards the visitors had the opportunity to learn more about the project directly in the production areas. Wilfried Übelher and Peter Zehrer from VMH guided the guests through the company. ppi Media had set up ‘production islands’ where the VMH workflow was explained step for step. And the guests could also follow the day’s production live onto a screen. Detailed information was provided about the SandyScreen optimization steps in picture reproduction and output. Many print specimens were used to illustrate the improvement potential and these were intensively discussed.
And finally the discussion
The forum was wound up by a podium discussion moderated by Michael Mittelhaus and the panel and guests had a very lively exchange of ideas, questions, answers, and comments concerning all aspects of the project.
The answers given by the speakers and members of the podium panel, and especially by the VMH staff members, were comprehensive but above all honest. It should be noted that the forum participants considered process optimization to be an important cost-saving factor, were very interested in SandyP/Tintorello, and acknowledged the significant role played by Eurografica regarding total process optimization.
The moderator had to bring the lively discussion to an end by reminding everyone that meeting deadlines is priority number one in newspaper companies – and this should also apply to the ‘Integrated Newspaper Production’ event which he brought to a close (almost) on time.
WhatTheyThink is the global printing industry's leading independent media organization with both print and digital offerings, including WhatTheyThink.com, PrintingNews.com and WhatTheyThink magazine versioned with a Printing News and Wide-Format & Signage edition. Our mission is to provide cogent news and analysis about trends, technologies, operations, and events in all the markets that comprise today’s printing and sign industries including commercial, in-plant, mailing, finishing, sign, display, textile, industrial, finishing, labels, packaging, marketing technology, software and workflow.