Newsprinters, Knowsley makes quality leap with the installation of QuadTech's AccuCam™ on all 25 towers

Brand owners take notice as newspaper printer reaches the quality standards of glossy magazines with revolutionary press control system

Sussex, Wisconsin, USA and Knowsley, UK—30 April, 2013—The Knowsley plant of Newsprinters, the UK printing operation of News International, has achieved significant quality, productivity and cost-control improvements after installing QuadTech's AccuCam system on all 25 towers at the plant. The system, which offers automated color control, web inspection and damp control, has been integrated into the plant's five manroland COLORMAN XXL presses.

QuadTech SpectralCam
QuadTech's AccuCam system operating on
a moving web on a manroland COLORMAN
XXL at Newsprinters Knowsley.

Using spectral data and correcting color deviations at speed, QuadTech’s Color Control and Web Inspection System with AccuCam™ is enabling Newsprinters to eliminate waste and the occurrence of a host of defects, including scumming, creasing, transposed plates, plate crack-outs, and tramlines. A closed-loop system that scans the whole page, AccuCam provides true image-based color control. Printed copy is controlled against a pre-press image file that has L*a*b* target aim point values for every pixel. Its six-channel spectral sensor measures the printed web and calculates the L*a*b* values of the entire image, compares this to the prepress file L*a*b* target aim points, then makes changes to the ink supply automatically, maintaining color consistency throughout the production run. It analyzes every ink key at least twice a minute. This rate is up to 80 times faster than the manual control method employed by Newsprinters before installation.

QuadTech SpectralCam
The Newsprinters Knowsley team from left to right:
John Rafferty (technical services manager),
Wayne Thorpe (operations manager) and
Allan Wain (operations director, North).

The Knowsley plant of Newsprinters produces over 12 million newspapers per week for northern England, Wales and the Scottish Borders with daily and weekly national titles including News International’s own Sun, Sun on Sunday, The Times and Sunday Times and as well as the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Telegraph, the Financial Times and the Times Literary Supplement.

Allan Wain, operations director (North) at Newsprinters, says: “The QuadTech AccuCam system has made color control a fully automated affair, making ink key adjustments in seconds, rectifying potential production problems before occurrence of quality loss or machine damage. Our workflow is more cost-effective and I believe it has been such a success that Knowsley will get back the investment easily within two years.”

Thanks to the speed of ink-key changes, AccuCam has reduced start-up waste at Newsprinters. The system reaches fine color, the state when over 80 percent of all ink zones are within 0.02 absolute delta density of target, about one minute after the production run’s start and maintained until the end.

QuadTech SpectralCam
Wayne Thorpe (left) and Newsprinters Group
project engineer Michael O'Driscoll (right)
with the QuadTech AccuCam system.

The decision of Newsprinters to install on all towers follows four years’ successful research and development by both the printer and QuadTech, on five towers. During that time, the AccuCam is being enhanced to include water control. The system uses pre-setting to adhere to automated water volumes, via algorithms created from the image density values of the pre-press files. This avoids the phenomenon of scumming.

AccuCam is connected to QuadTech’s Data Central® system which stores performance data and provides a real-time screen view of quality status, alerting to aberrations. This can provide an early warning of potentially expensive problems such as plate damage.

As a result of improvements, Newsprinters has been able to bring back in-house the production of the re-launched Sun weekly TV guide magazine supplement, with a production run of 3.3 million.

“Thanks to the AccuCam installation, the Knowsley operation is achieving consistently clear, accurate print throughout the run and from one job to the next. We are able to repeat formerly difficult features with ease,” says Wayne Thorpe, operations manager.

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