Nowra Moves to New Levels

Sussex, WI--September 2007--The successful installation of a QuadTech automatic registration control system at a regional newspaper centre in New South Wales, Australia, demonstrates the benefits of auxiliary controls when retrofitted to an existing pressline.

The QuadTech® Autotron™ Newspaper 2800 Register Guidance System was installed at the Rural Press Printing site (now part of Fairfax Media) in the south coast town of Nowra in NSW. Over the past few months, the system has been instrumental in reducing waste, improving quality and cutting production time.

The Nowra site prints a wide variety of coldset single width web work including regional newspapers for the south coast region and hinterland, as well as contract work for magazines, TV and real estate guides. The Autotron™ Newspaper 2800 was fitted to two 4-high towers on the Goss Community pressline that also comprises a tri-colour UOP, five mono units and SSC folder. The retro-fit process also involved installing motorised registration to one of the towers, an added complexity but not a hard task, according to Sue Betts, manager at Nowra Rural Press.

“It went well. QuadTech had already retrofitted other presses in the Rural Press group. Because it was already running at other sites, it was easy to set up here,” commented Sue Betts.

Prior to its merger with Fairfax Media, Rural Press was the largest publisher of regional and rural publications in Australia with a network of single- and double-width presses situated around the country, nearly all of which currently run some form of QuadTech registration control.

At Nowra, the addition of the Autotron™ Newspaper 2800 had an immediate effect in terms of reducing waste and improving print quality. While accurate figures on the waste reduction are difficult to quantify due to changes in job patterns, there’s no doubt that spoilage has dropped dramatically and start-ups are quicker. Waste copies at start-up are now in the vicinity of 400-600 copies.  Whereas previously, with manual registration, they could be over 1,000.  An impressive result and all the more significant given that, at a site such as Nowra with numerous small publications, the runs can be as little as 800-900 copies. Overall, Sue Betts estimates the waste saving to be in the vicinity of 1-2 per cent.

The other key aspect since the installation has been the improvement in print quality. “The Autotron™ has the ability to hold registration across the board and hold quality for the duration of the run,” says Sue Betts.

Printer, Geoffrey Betts, adds that having automatic registration enables the crew to spend more time on other tasks such as managing ink/water balance that contributes to overall print quality.

“It eliminates one more headache,” he says. “And it’s considerably easier than running up and down the ladders adjusting the registration manually.”

A typical week at Nowra will see production on about 30 different editions from 19 publications, weekly, bi-weekly or tri-weekly, as well as external work. Edition sizes range from 12 to 56 pages so the work is very diverse, requiring frequent make-readies and short runs. In this environment, QuadTech’s automatic registration control is now a vital component of the site’s production capability. Geoffrey Betts is the first to admit that he would not go back to running without it. “If the register marks are missing, we get them [the prepress departments] to fix them up. It’s quicker that way,” he says.

In fact, one of the hardest parts of the whole process has been educating the prepress operators about the importance of ensuring files are supplied with the requisite marks in place. It might seem like a small change to make but the impact on the printed results coming off the press are there for all to see.

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

Clare Porter, Bespoke
Phone: +44 (0) 1737 215200