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Mannheimer Morgen newspaper welcomes the COLORMAN autoprint

Press release from the issuing company

Since mid-year, the Mannheimer Morgen has been printed on a COLORMAN autoprint. One of the first APL logistics installations worldwide supplies the autoprint units with printing plates.

Relying on innovation to reach objectives more quickly: this strategy would appear to come naturally to the natives of Mannheim. Draisine, a forerunner to the bicycle, the first automobile from Carl Benz, and the first rocket aircraft: all these inventions have a direct connection to the city of Mannheim. With the COLORMAN autoprint, Mannheim is now leading the way in fully-automatic newspaper production. In October 2008, Dr. Haas GmbH, publisher of the Mannheimer Morgen and other regional newspapers, made the decision for a COLORMAN autoprint from manroland. "With the COLORMAN autoprint in satellite design, we achieve a clear improvement in four-color printing quality and – thanks to shorter makeready times – save significant time in production," states Harald Blendowski, technical director of the Mannheimer Morgen, citing the reasons for the 13 million euro investment. In the meantime, two new autoprint printing towers with a 9-cylinder satellite design and two existing towers from the previous COLORMAN series are used to print the newspapers. The latter towers will be replaced by two autoprint printing towers in the fall of 2010. With 16 Automatic Plate Loading (APL) robots, four reel splicers, and two folders, the COLORMAN autoprint will print 21 local editions of the Mannheimer Morgen, the Fränkischen Nachrichten, the Bergsträßer Anzeiger, the Schwetzinger Zeitung and the Hockenheimer Tageszeitung. In addition to this print run of approximately 185,000 copies, the publisher produces additional trade printing jobs, such as a partial print run of the Financial Times Deutschland.

Three hands-down arguments: print quality, ergonomics, shorter makeready times
The satellite design ensures the required print and production quality, enabling four colors to be applied to the paper at shorter intervals. The press also features a number of manroland Inline Control systems, which carry out quality-related adjustments directly on the press. These include InlineTension control for automatic web tension control and InlineCutoff control for automatic cut-off compensator control. To enhance user-friendliness, the printing units of the COLORMAN autoprint are optimized in their construction. Thanks to APL logistics, Harald Blendowski sees the COLORMAN as a newspaper press with a single operating level. Employees now only need to take the elevator up to the gallery for limited tasks: to carry out maintenance work, to feed in the web, and to dispose of used plates.

In addition to printing quality and ergonomics, the faster production and makeready times provided by automation are another important argument. The new COLORMAN autoprint press is all around faster than its predecessor. At a web speed of 12.5 meters per second, it has increased output from 40,000 copies to 45,000. With a consumption of up to 2,800 printing plates, the APL robots reduce makeready times considerably. Blendowski calculates a one-hour time advantage in production for both the Fränkische Nachrichten and the Bergsträßer Anzeiger: "We save 15 minutes during the initial makeready period and six minutes during each of the seven version changes."

APL logistics in practice
APL logistics started up in Mannheim as one of the first automated plate logistics systems in operation worldwide. The decision was made for a spur solution with APL transport. The task of APL transport is to automate plate transport from makeready, to carriage loading in the soundproofed control console area, all the way up to the APL robots.

Each printing couple with an APL robot is assigned to a rail. Not only is the rail network impressive, the logistical core consists of the control software, which controls plate loading in the printing unit. A software program pre-sorts the exposed plates; the operator verifies the correct sequence and loads the boxes manually. Rail-transported carriages carry the plates to the APL robot. This variant can be advantageous in tight working spaces, such as in Mannheim, and does not require APL control, i.e. there is no need for a workflow computer to control the logistics process. The goal is always to optimize production time. manroland has thus integrated the logistics system in existing workflows and matched it to its product range.