Web Offset Services innovative technology

Over the past two decades, Web Offset Services has been responsible for bringing about a number of highly efficient, ground breaking innovations for web offset printing and especially for newspaper production. Two of the most dramatic examples are the multi-format press concept and advancements in control system technology including the catalog based production workflow with advanced presetting.

Multi-format refers to the capability of running different print product sizes and formats from a single press not normally capable of such flexibility (most double and triple width newspaper presses). There are a number of ways to accomplish this but two of the most flexible and efficient are the right angle folder concept and the multiple movable former concept.

Multi-Format with right angle folder

Multi-Format with adjustable formers

Advanced control system with Catalog based production workflow

There are a number of other important details for such press configurations to work efficiently and one of the most critical is a highly integrated and streamlined control system. As part of this, a catalog based production workflow automates the entire process from files arriving from the customer to sizing and paginating plates in prepress to presetting the entire press for the specific size and format of the job to be run, all organized in a simple cataloged system. This advanced workflow not only reduces labor requirements, it eliminates costly mistakes since one universal platform is used across all departments. Waste is also minimized since every job and configuration is pre-programmed and accounted for.

Catalog # Pages Str / Col Formers Sectioning Comments T1           T2                 T3                  
1121 48 C A+B 14+10+14+10 66 66 x
1122 48 C A+B 12+12+12+12 66 66 x
1123 48 C A+B+C 8+8+8+8+8+16T Skip slit C for tab 66 66 x
1124 52 C A+B 16+10+16+10 66 55 22
1125 52 C A+B 16+10+16+10 Front page (pg 1)  is 4″ flap 59 55 22

Highly automated multi-format triple width newspaper press installation featuring the first fully automatic triple former section for single (2×2), double (2×4) & triple (2×6) width formats along with a next generation catalog based production system which includes a fully integrated pre-press to press control system and end to end tracking and reporting of all activity including all products, materials, waste and labor. The press was also configured with a fully integrated UV curing system, a first for a triple width newspaper press.

This highly efficient press installation is part of the newest complete greenfield production facility to be built in North America. The entire facility was designed to optimize workflow and efficiency. Another key design element was to insure all equipment could be installed and maintained in the most efficient and cost effective way possible. Hundreds of details were taken into account in the design and layout from how many foot steps each person must make to do a task to how many feet of electrical cable or ink piping would be necessary to complete the installation.

In addition, a very customized workflow was developed so that a single platform could be used  from front door to back door to further increase efficiency and minimize waste and mistakes. The process starts with customers selecting what size and type of product they want from the catalog and then suppling their files accordingly. From there, the process flow is automated through prepress with any sizing, optimization or other necessary adjustments made and plates coded and produced for exact placement on press.

After the plates are installed, a full preset for that exact job including the particular size and format is done. And because presetting can have so many different meanings in our industry, the level of presetting here is one of the most advanced anywhere in the world. The printers use no tools when changing jobs and almost every possible adjustment is done automatically from roll size selection for each paster to the tension setting for each web to the position for every slitter, angle bar, trolley wheel and nip wheel to level settings for every spray nozzle and ink key and even the position of each former board. When the press starts, no matter what size or format the job and even if it was never run before, everything is in the correct place and waste is minimized.

Similar installations costing millions of dollars more do not approach the level of efficiency the Great West Newspaper installation has proven. In the first 5 years of production, consider these results:

  1. Over 14,000 print jobs have been run including broadsheets, tabloids and ¼ fold magazines in sizes from as small as 7” to as large as 16” and many sizes in between.
  1. Product paging has ranged from tabs a small as 4 pages all the way up to 144 pages with full color and many sizes in between. Broadsheets as large as 72 pages in 6 section in full color are regularly run as well as ¼ fold magazine and directory style products.
  1. Slightly over 300 million printed products have been produced in the first 5 years of production.
  1. Average run length is 25,377, median run length is 13,174
  1. Total waste over the first 5 years has been 4%
  1. A little more than 30 million tons of paper has been consumed
  1. All of this is done with a staff of only 2 or 3 press people per shift and 1 CTP person. Staffing does not need to be increased for additional production. For example, a million+ weekly run was taken on contract with no staffing changes required with further room for growth.
  1. All production equipment will have paid for itself in 5 ½ years. This in itself speaks to the productivity and efficiency this equipment and facility has provided Great West Newspapers return on their investment.

First and world’s largest (2.4m or 94”) triple width, multi-format, double around newspaper press installation for product sizes ranging from 20 to 50cm and also includes a catalog based press control system along with a high level of integration and a precalculated data base for most press functions and adjustments providing to provide a very high level of press presetting and efficiency.

First 5 high double around multi-format newspaper press tower for 10” to 17” sized products with catalog based press control system with pre-calculated database for most press settings and adjustments to substantially reduce both time and waste normally associated with the daily creation of production runs and the initial run ups to establish presets. Single tower design with multi-format capability including 2×2, 2×3, 2×4 and 2×5 production formats along with multiple web configuration capabilities of 5/5 or 4/4 + 1/1 or 3/3 + 2/2 or 4/1 + 4/1 or 4/4 w/ flying imprint.