At this year’s IfraExpo in Leipzig (October 13 to 16, 2003), Heidelberg will be demonstrating the full range of cutting-edge, highly-efficient newspaper production technology. Launched in 2000, the Mainstream is a newspaper rotary press in 1x4 format with gapless blanket which has become a solid feature of the newspaper industry. According to Werner Albrecht, who is in charge of newspaper business and web offset printing at Heidelberg, the press has won itself a key position in its sector since it was unveiled at drupa 2000.
This is illustrated by the progress being achieved by the rotary presses which are already in operation and the number of new installations which are in the pipeline. For example, production is just commencing at La Dépêche du Midi, a publishing group based in Toulouse, France. The two Mainstream systems – the second will come online in a few days time – are the first presses of this type to be built in Europe at Heidelberg’s Montataire plant in France. The two presses built for La Dépêche du Midi are in Berlin format with a cutoff length of 470 mm and a web width of 1,280 mm. Each has 32 printing units in four printing stations.
The publishing group in Toulouse produces the daily newspaper La Dépêche du Midi, which has an average circulation of 250,000 copies. It also produces five more regional titles, including the local dailies Le Petit Bleu d’Agen and La Nouvelle République des Pyrénées, the regional weekly paper Toulouse and a national weekly specialist newspaper called Le Midi Olympique. The group also has a major publishing subsidiary which produces free newspapers (Publi-Toulouse, circulation 300,000 copies).
Three more Mainstream configurations, this time for the French newspaper Le Progrès de Lyon, are also in the final stages of production in Montataire. The Lyons daily newspaper Le Progrès is part of the holding company Delaroche which belongs in turn to Socpresse, a division of the Hersant Group. Delaroche monitors Hersant's newspaper activities in the Rhône-Alpes and Burgundy regions of France. Hersant, one of France's leading publishing groups, has more than a 20% share of the newspaper market and owns approx. 80 titles in France and Belgium including the national daily Le Figaro. Le Progrès employs 1200 staff and has annual sales of Euro 150 million. The paper sells almost 300,000 copies on weekdays and 400,000 copies on Sundays, and is just about to replace its 30 year-old presses with the new generation rotary presses from Heidelberg.
Two of the Mainstreams, comprising 64 printing units between them, will be installed in Chassieu just outside Lyons, while the third press – which has 26 printing units – is destined for Saint-Etienne.
Assembly work for Le Dauphine Libéré is also underway at the moment. Le Dauphiné Libéré sells almost 300,000 copies across the Rhône-Alpes region and part of Provence. The regional paper wants to replace its existing newspaper presses in Veurey Voroize near Grenoble with two new cutting-edge rotary presses. The Mainstream rotary presses for Le Dauphiné Libéré will feature a cutoff length of 500 mm and a web width of 1480 mm, which will allow the newspaper to reduce its finished format from 410 mm x 590 mm to 370 mm x 500 mm. The two new presses are destined for the Veurey site. They are of identical configuration with 7 webs, 31 printing units, 3 folding formers, a JF-255 jaw folder and 7 Contiweb FD splicers. The new presses can handle up to 56 pages, including 20 4-color pages, or 48 pages with 24 4-color pages. They can produce three different separate signatures simultaneously. On-site installation is expected to commence in early 2004.
Two configurations are also in the production or start-up phase in North America at the moment – two Mainstreams for the Transcontinental Group (Canada) and a press for the Roanoke Times (Virginia, USA).
IDAB WAMAC, the leading provider of mailroom systems and part of the Heidelberg Group, is currently installing a major order worth Euro 10 million for French publishing group Delaroche. Delaroche S.A. is the holding company for newspaper publishing group Socpresse in the Rhone-Alpes-Burgundy region. Printing operations in Grenoble, Saint Etienne and Chassieu near Lyon are being modernized, and this should help the company to meet the constantly expanding needs of the market. "In IDAB WAMAC, we’ve found a partner which has made a good name for itself in the mailroom sector, particularly in Asia and Europe ", says Dr. Jürgen Rautert, who is in charge of Postpress at Heidelberg.
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