Swiss investment underscores strong commitment to print
Koenig & Bauer (KBA) has expanded its strong position in the Swiss newspaper market with an order for a double-width Commander CT from Mittelland Zeitungsdruck, belonging to AZ Medien in Aarau.
In parallel to promoting new digital offerings, the prominent Swiss media house has opted for this highly automated compact press to strengthen its printing business. The 80-page press line will be equipped with two eight-high towers, a four-high tower, five reelstands and a jaw folder.
“We believe in the printed product linked with online and mobile applications. As part of centralising our newspaper printing activities in Aarau we aim to strengthen our print products and gain additional contract work by upgrading our existing press fleet there”, says Peter Wanner, publisher and chairman of the board of directors at AZ Medien. Roland Tschudi CFO of AZ Medien and head of printing and logistics: “We will intensify our efforts to win new orders for local advertising publications and smaller regional titles as the new printing press will allow us to offer all newspaper products.” In the coming year the media house also wants to bid for complex and high-quality printing contracts from both retailers Coop and Migros, which publish the biggest print titles in Switzerland with 2.5m and 2.1m copies respectively.
“The investment totalling approx. 20m CHF in printing, finishing, distribution and other process steps will pay off with cost savings in connection with the concentration of printing capacities in Aarau as well as enhanced efficiency delivered by cutting-edge technology”, says Axel Wüstmann, CEO of AZ Medien.
One of the leading media firms in Switzerland
In 2012 AZ Medien and its approx. 800 employees generated sales of over 250m CHF. Along with the six titles of the newspaper alliance “Die Nordwestschweiz” (az Aargauer Zeitung, bz Basellandschaftliche Zeitung, bz Basel, az Limmattaler Zeitung, az Solothurner Zeitung, az Grenchner Tagblatt), AZ Medien also publishes the national Sunday title the Schweiz am Sonntag. The regional dailies are distributed in the areas around Zürich, Bern and Basel.
These print products use multi-media links with regional online news portals, e-papers, iPads and mobile applications. The portfolio also includes ten high-circulation weekly titles and frees, eleven special-interest and trade magazines, the TV channels TeleZüri, Tele M1 and TeleBärn, AT book publishing house, commercial printers Vogt-Schild Druck and Weiss Medien as well as Mittelland Zeitungsdruck for newspaper printing. The printing of own and contract newspaper titles generates over 40m CHF.
- Highly automated technology for flexible production
The ordered 80-page press from the Würzburg-based press manufacturer will replace the oldest of the two Wifag presses in Aarau. “The new KBA Commander CT will start production in September 2014 and in October it will be fully integrated in the printing of our own daily, weekly and Sunday titles, various contract work and complex supplements”, says Urs Binkert, managing director of Mittelland Zeitungsdruck. The company, readers and advertising clients will all profit from the new press. “The new press will print more efficiently, in a better quality and with flexible production possibilities”, Urs Binkert continues. With variable web widths from 1,140 to 1,280mm (45 - 50.3in) and a cut-off of 470mm (18.5in) up to 45,000 80-page full-colour newspapers can be printed per hour. Pagination changes for the many different products can be initiated comfortably at the five Pastomat reelstands.
The printing towers, which feature automatic plate changing systems and automatic roller locks, can be accessed conveniently on both sides via lifts. They can also be split down the middle allowing for maximum access during maintenance tasks. The press is controlled by KBA ErgoTronicconsoles with the EasyStart and EasyClean-up modules for automatic press start-up and run-down. The integration into the existing ABB MPS production scheduling and pre-set system is carried out via a PRIME interface. Other features which add to the press’ high level of automation include colour and cut-off register controls, inking-, dampening-unit and blanket washing systems, and pre-former web guides. The KF5 jaw folder’s superstructure is equipped with two formers. Five turner bars, half-cover web leads and a section stitcher enhance product flexibility further. In addition, the press is configured to handle 3/8 and 7/8 web widths which supports the production of innovative ad forms, such as spadea. Provision has been made for the optional addition of a unit enabling the production of four-page centre spreads, skip slitter, ribbon stitcher and a third former.