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Ironstone Media Corp. Installs Mitsubishi Diamond 16 Max-M Commercial Web Press

Press release from the issuing company

PICKERING, Ont. April 11, 2007 -- Ironstone Media Corp. believes firmly in the power of communications. The Pickering, Ont. based company specializes in cross-media distribution of information through traditional printing, online publications and digital products and services. Ironstone Media's heritage begins with the founding of one of its leading members, Web Offset Publications, in 1961, when it pioneered the web offset printing process in Canada. In keeping with its longstanding traditions, Web Offset has now brought another technological innovation to the marketplace with the installation of Canada's first Mitsubishi Diamond 16 MAX-M commercial web press. The five-unit press is expected to enhance Web Offset's already solid reputation in the Canadian publication printing arena. "We are primarily a printer of magazines, and it's incumbent on us to be able to print magazines of an extraordinary quality and turn them around in a timely manner," said John Bacopulos, chairman and CEO of Ironstone Media. "Our customer base is growing, and we wanted to make sure that we had the ability to service that customer base. We have some significant web printing presence already, but we needed to increase our speeds in order to increase our capacity." Higher efficiency, less waste To that end, Web Offset did its homework, researching 16-page web presses geared toward short-run to medium-run publication work. The company decided the best strategy was to invest in technology to minimize makeready times and spoilage, while maintaining Web Offset's commitment to very high printing quality. "We plan to continue serving the magazine market, but a lot more efficiently," explained Al De Sousa, director of production. "We saw the need for a new press and new technology that would ensure faster makeready speeds and lower waste." Leading publication printer Web Offset has grown into one of Canada's largest privately owned printing operations. Originally founded as a newspaper printer, the 140-employee firm provides full-service production of diverse print products for the private and public sectors using state-of-the-art technology. It specializes in magazines, journals and consumer publications for some 150 regular publications. These include some of North America's most respected publishers. Other members of the Ironstone Media family include Imprint, which delivers short-run sheetfed and digital printing of all kinds, and LinkPath, which provides an array of Internet services, including website development and online replication of publications. Web Offset's pressroom houses a mix of sheetfed and heatset web presses that run 24 hours a day. Most jobs range in size from 5,000 to 50,000 copies. Publication work runs the gamut from weeklies to annually released titles, typically printed on 38-pound up to 80-pound stock. Commercial catalogs and eight-page inserts are among Web Offset's other printed work. "We print up to 100,000 copies as the sweet spot for our web presses, although we wanted to be able to increase our sweet spot," Bacopulos said. "The Mitsubishi press gives us the speed to do that comfortably." New capabilities Web Offset's Diamond 16 MAX-M features a 22 3/4-inch cutoff and a 38-inch web width. The press is designed to produce tabloids, magazines, digests and flat sheets at a maximum operational speed of 1,800 feet per minute. It incorporates mini-gap technology in both the plate and blanket cylinders and utilizes metal-backed blankets. "We're able to print an 11-inch trim, which we couldn't do before with our existing presses," De Sousa said. "The extremely narrow gap and metal-backed blankets provide better savings on paper if customers require an 11-inch trim size in their books. We have a 3.2-millimeter gap instead of the normal quarter-inch gap, which allows us to print longer." Web Offset equipped the press with a sheeter and a pinless combination folder with single chopper. "This is our first experience with a pinless combination folder," De Sousa noted. "It provides greater flexibility in the products we can print and markets we can reach. Press changeovers are very, very quick from the half-fold, quarter-fold and to some extent the double-parallel. We selected the sheeter to move some of the larger work from the sheetfed presses to the web press and hopefully capture more new work." Fast makereadies The press offers such features as Semi-Automatic Plate Changers (SAPC), closed-loop color and register, shaftless drives and the MAX-Saver software package. All of these features help keep waste down and enable faster makereadies. A complete makeready on the five-unit press can be accomplished in less than 15 minutes. "Our makereadies from job to job or from section to section have been almost cut in half," De Sousa said. "That makes the press more efficient for shorter runs." Once the line was delivered, Mitsubishi training personnel were onsite at Web Offset for approximately six weeks to set up and test for production. "We had a very tight timeline in which to install the press and run our first copy," Bacopulos recalled. "There was a tremendous amount of cooperation from the Mitsubishi technicians in order to make that happen for us. It was extraordinary. They are a group of consummate professionals. If any problems arise, they're still always available to help us out. " Commitment to quality One of the ways in which Web Offset differentiates itself in a competitive field is to focus on high print quality. "Right from the very first day, the print quality of the Mitsubishi press was excellent," De Sousa said. "It surpassed our expectations in terms of dot gains. Our customers can see the difference in the finished products. The Mitsubishi gives us that extra edge in terms of quality." With the addition of the Mitsubishi press at Web Offset, there is not doubt that Ironstone Media is well positioned to help businesses more effectively communicate with the market place.