RMS - Bridging the Gap

Sussex, WI--March 2007--With the newspaper industry becoming increasingly competitive, it’s often the smaller companies that end up under the greatest pressure with margins.

In this environment, standing out from the crowd is an important strategy. Likewise, maximizing the use of new and existing printing firepower is likely to be top of the agenda, rather than further investment in new equipment. By optimizing the utilization of its press portfolio a company can capitalize on the new business brought to them by providing added value.

One way of providing added value is, of course, improved quality through consistency and accuracy. The press ancillaries that deliver this promise cost far less than a new press and add value in their own way by reducing waste.

Waste reduction has always been an important issue, but it is increasingly under the microscope, not only because of environmental concerns but also for its power to maintain margins under a ‘glass ceiling’ of prices.

The key to waste reduction is to get saleable copies in a minimum number of press impressions from start-up. In order to achieve this, larger newspapers have already turned to high technology press ancillaries, such as those offered by QuadTech. On double-width presses, the addition of register and ribbon controls is becoming the norm and can reduce the start-up waste from 2000 copies down to around 400 copies. This was the target set and regularly achieved, today, by Schibsted Print of Norway - a newspaper publisher with five press lines equipped with QuadTech Register Guidance and Ribbon Control technology.

For older presses, and for those with a smaller format, such as the Goss Community® with its single-width, one around cylinder configuration, the installation of fully automated register and ribbon controls may not be such a viable proposition. For companies who face these budget problems, the answer lies with the QuadTech® Register Motorization System 2000™ (RMS), which bridges the gap between manual and fully automated control.

The QuadTech RMS motorizes manual register adjustments providing centralized control over circumferential and lateral register corrections. The judgement of register still lies with a visual check by the press minder, but experience has shown that a good operator can cope with adjustments across 20 print towers using a single touch screen at the main press console.

Using this screen, it is easy to toggle between towers and make register corrections with an intuitive graphical interface. Once a tower has been selected, multiple motors can be selected for simultaneous moves that make the process faster. In all cases, the last move is automatically memorized.

Many smaller press halls are currently enjoying waste reduction thanks to the QuadTech RMS. One company, Colorado Mountain News Media, based in Gypsum, Colorado, USA, installed RMS on a DGM press purchased in January 2006. Doug Barton, Production Manager, CMNM, comments, “We chose QuadTech’s RMS for three main reasons: First, with 20 units, manual register control would have been out of the question. Getting good copies out of the press would have been prohibitive from a time standpoint and very frustrating. Remote control from the desk makes the task much easier.

“Second, cost-effectiveness was clearly important. The return on investment on a fully automated solution could not be justified on the type and capacity of work we produce. Finally, CMNM wanted to capitalize on a broader range of products. We produce five daily tabloids, 9 weeklies and numerous commercial products, so job changeovers, waste and quality control are key issues for us.”

Product diversification is a trend that is currently gaining momentum, with many newspaper printers printing other products in order to bring in additional revenue. This being the case, the potential for waste is greater than ever. Barton elaborates, “Since having a press with RMS installed, the overall quality of all our printed products has improved dramatically. Any register movements needed are exact and can be made with the touch of a finger.”

It’s often factors other than budget, such as press size, that can limit the types of press ancillaries available to companies.

The Black Press group, a hugely successful company spread over 17 sites in North America, has the QuadTech RMS installed on 11 Goss Community® presslines. Allan Fradette, Press Manager, Black Press, comments, “The addition of the RMS helps our presses to be more productive by cutting waste and saving manpower.”

The latter point is relevant in terms of a disturbing trend in the industry, identified by Fradette: “There are fewer people entering the printing trade each year. This makes it very difficult to find qualified press operators in such a competitive job market. Systems such as the RMS allow us to produce larger and more complex press runs with fewer people. Simply put, we can do more with less.”

As well as owning several newspaper titles, Black Press also takes on a lot of commercial projects, reflecting an industry-wide trend. With competition for business becoming increasingly fierce, quality maintenance has never been more important.

Fradette elaborates, “Three of our locations do nothing but commercial work – the other do a mix of internal press-runs with up to 50% commercial work. The QuadTech RMS helps with commercial jobs by allowing us to maintain a higher and more consistent print quality, which translates into happier customers.”

By providing a low cost register solution to those that do not already have automated systems, QuadTech is ready to make a major contribution to the reduction of web-printed waste across the globe. The 4-page web press is one of the most popular web formats in the world. In addition to many other successful models, there are still 40,000 units of the original single-wide, one-around press, the Goss Community®, in operation. These are involved in a wide range of applications including newspaper, supplement, commercial and insert printing.

With the QuadTech RMS, many of these presses can upgrade to semi-automated operation at low cost, providing the all-important competitive edge and increased capability to withstand the ever-present threat from alternative media to print’s readership and advertising dollars. From the latest market figures in the USA, there was never a better time to act – although online advertising growth is slower than expected, it is starting to nibble into print ad revenues. Fortunately, the shrinkage is mainly in classified advertising which means that there are still plenty of high-dollar brands to capture with improved quality.

About BALDWIN | Vision Systems (formerly QuadTech)

BALDWIN’s Vision Systems division is the world’s leading innovator of advanced color and inspection technology for the printing industry. BALDWIN | Vision Systems sells its automated control systems in more than 100 countries to the packaging and converting markets, web offset newspaper and commercial markets, and publication gravure market. BALDWIN maintains a worldwide network of sales and service operations, and is privately owned by BW Forsyth Partner, the investment arm of multi-billion dollar global manufacturing and engineering consulting firm Barry-Wehmiller.


Craig Du Mez, BALDWIN | Vision Systems
Phone: +1 414 566 7500
Email: craig.dumez@quadtechworld.com

Clare Porter, Bespoke
Phone: +44 (0) 1737 215200
Email: quadtech@bespoke.co.uk