“Newspaper printers around the world are changing the way they do business because new technologies pioneered by manroland are allowing them to print a wide variety of high quality formats on a 24-7 makeready basis,” says Ron Sams, Vice President of Newspaper Sales for manroland, Inc. Instead of operating presses during traditional 3-5 hour windows, these newspapers are increasing their revenue streams by printing inserts, weekly newspapers, etc, throughout the day, while reserving their prime operating window for their flagship product, the newspaper itself.
The technologies Sams was referring to are hybrid printing, which allows papers to print both cold set along with heat-set, UV-cured or RFI-cured inks on the same equipment; advanced variable width capabilties that give newspaper printers more flexibility to expand their horizons by being able to change efficiently between a variety of formats and a suite of autoprint “One Touch” technologies that substantially reduce labor content and makeready times for newspaper printing operations.
Sams said that the pace at which these technologies are being adopted in Europe, China and other parts of the world has been remarkable. For example, manroland has already installed more than 171 hybrid printing presses worldwide. That is 45 percent of the total market and more than twice as many as its closest competitor in this field. Even though the newspaper business in North America is sluggish there have been a number of successes here as well.
For example, Quebecor Media has a several manroland hybrid presses with both heatset and coldset capabilities at plants in Montreal and Toronto. One of these, operating consistently at 90,000 copies per hour, was the first in the newspaper printing indusrtry capable of printing newspapers, retail inserts and phone directories on a single machine. This press is also capable of printing variable web widths.
Sams noted that printing a wide variety of formats a flexible 24/7 schedule is only economically feasible if the printer can minimize makeready times while at the same time driving down labor costs. With this in mind, manroland is commited to the autoprint “One-Touch” printing concept that is embodied in hardware, firmware and software upgrades that automate a variety of processes to substantially lowering their changeover times and labor costs so newspaper web presses can be used cost-effectively on a commercial makeready basis.
There are more than a dozen modules available in the autoprint portfolio, the most widely-used being autoprint APL (AutomaticPlateLoading), which won the 2011 InterTech™ Technology Award from the Printing Industries of America. This system reduces typical newspaper plate changes from about 30 minutes to three. Sams said this is an enormous breakthrough for newspapers looking to consolidate and print back-to-back editions in their prime operating window.
Other autoprint modules target the automation of color control, registration, and the reduction of makeready waste. Sams said, “A number of newspapers in Europe have already adopted autoprint technology to the point that where 85 percent or more of their maeready operations are performed on a One Touch basis.”
All of these technologies have been proven in newspaper operations worldwide and can be readily adapted to North American Newspaper printers looking to expand their revenue stream options.