Behind every great achievement are the contributions of dozens – hundreds, often – of people, products and technologies. And so it is with Fairfax Media’s transformation of its newspaper production facilities, where a ‘simple’ printing plate is delivering remarkable results in a variety of situations.
Painstakingly over the past two years, the Australian news media group has restructured production to meet the changing needs of print publishing, decentralising to match capacity requirements and free up costly real estate.
The key plants in North Richmond (NSW) and Ballarat (Victoria) – as well as that of the Canberra Times – have each been converted from thermal to Fujifilm’s LPN-NV violet plate, which is flexibly meeting the needs of long-run, tight deadline production not just for coldset newspapers, but also heatset and UV products.
In North Richmond, for example, a system based on LPN-NV plates and Krause LS-Jet series platemakers supplies five different types of plate – singles and panoramas, in a variety of sizes to suit the single-width Uniset and double-width Geoman presses, one tower of which has been converted to make it compatible with the Uniset.
The same plate that is used routinely for nightly runs of metro flagship the Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Financial Review and a variety of other newspaper work, is also delivering 2400 dpi imaging resolution for heatset magazines and semi-commercial UV-cured products, the latter without the need for baking.
There, two further Nela Vision punch-benders have added flexibility and redundancy in a transformation which is seeing production almost double in less than a year.
“What we have worked to do is create as much redundancy as possible, while meeting the needs of diversity and flexibility of this amazingly productive site,” says Warren Hinder, Fujifilm Australia’s Graphic Systems National Newspaper Specialist.
“There’s a similar story for Melbourne daily The Age and southern editions of the AFR in Ballarat – where the existing Uniset press has been extended with additional towers, folders and heatset dryers – and Canberra, where UV runs on two towers of the existing Geoman press.”
In both platerooms, the combination of Fujifilm plates and Krause CTP again delivers the quality and flexibility demanded by the varied workload, with extra Nela benders adding redundancy.
In all cases, Fujifilm Australia has taken full project responsibility for the equipment and consumables.
“By thoroughly understanding Fairfax Media’s needs, we have been able to supply plates and equipment which truly complement their requirements and support their own achievements,” said Hinder.
The Fairfax print sites at Beresfield NSW and Wodonga have been using Fujifilm violet plates for many years, along with Krause CTP and Nela bending equipment. Fujifilm has introduced its thermal newspaper plate to the Mandurah (WA), Tamworth and Dubbo (NSW), Murray Bridge (SA), Launceston (Tasmania) and Ormiston (Queensland) sites.
The fully-automatic Krause LS Jet platesetters deliver a choice of performance levels from 120-300 single plates per hour, their single exposure point concept contributing to imaging accuracy.
Fujifilm’s (and Hinder’s) relationship with Fairfax Media is a longstanding one, extending back to 2006 when they supported the introduction of computer-to-plate technology to the Sydney Morning Herald. Hinder also sold the original bender equipment for the then new Fairfax Chullora site in the 1990s.
The current projects are part of a $30 million three-year contract to supply Brillia violet light-sensitive and thermal heat-sensitive plates to all group sites in Australia and New Zealand.
Fairfax publishes more than 200 titles including metropolitan and regional titles and magazines in Australia, and more than 70 national, daily and regional titles plus 26 magazines in New Zealand.
Bearing this in mind it’s fair to say that a combination of unique and innovative Fujifilm technology and an excellent client vendor relationship where Fujifilm Australia truly understood the client’s needs has helped the future of the newspaper industry for one of the largest media companies in Australia.
Fairfax’s site in North Richmond where versatile Fujifilm LPN-NV plates imaged on Krause LS-Jet series platesetters are teamed with Nela punch benders and used for coldset, UV and heatset print applications.