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Fairfax Media and manroland: partners in a pioneering restructuring project

Press release from the issuing company

Adapting newspaper production to changing market conditions

Fairfax Media Limited chose manroland web systems to make its newspaper production fit for the future: The company’s sites in Chullora/Sydney and Tullamarine/Melbourne are scheduled to close in June 2014. The production of The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, and The Australian Financial Review will be transferred to the sites in Ballarat, west of Melbourne, and North Richmond, north of Sydney. 

Both sites are already equipped with manroland UNISET presses. To provide the necessary capacity and technology for the increased production volume, four manroland GEOMAN printing towers and one folder from Melbourne will be added to the North Richmond site. One of the GEOMAN towers will be combined with the UNISET through a specially designed turner bar system to achieve a greater page output. 

The manroland UNISET in Ballarat will be complemented by a new reel splicer and a new printing tower. Another manroland GEOMAN tower in Melbourne will be converted for heatset production and added to the Ballarat installation. Additionally, manroland web systems is going to deliver a new dryer, chill rollers, a turning bar unit, and a folder with superstructure for the production of both newspapers and commercial products. The heatset web can run through one of the UNISET folders for mixed heatset and coldset production. An additional quarter fold has been ordered to optimize heatset production at Fairfax Media. 

A new look: “square tab” newspapers
The specially designed turning unit on the heatset GEOMAN will give the press variable web width capability to create a new, special look: so-called “square tabs”, i.e. tabloid papers in variable square formats. 

As part of the relocation project, a complete manroland GEOMAN will move from Melbourne to Fairfax Media’s Auckland/New Zealand site, together with an upgraded folder and superstructure from Sydney.

Lower costs, higher performance
Bob Lockley, Chief Executive for Print & Distribution at Fairfax Media, explains: “We’ve decided in favor of these fundamental changes to cope with upcoming demands on newspaper production. This helps us to ensure that our papers keep their leading position and remain an important voice in our markets.”

Steve Dunwell, Managing Director at manroland Australasia, says: “We’re happy to assist one of our key accounts in reducing its newspaper production costs and at the same time upgrading the quality and performance of its equipment. We are looking forward to providing our first-class printing technology combined with our project management skills to handle this project’s logistical and organizational challenges.”


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