Persgroep Amsterdam at Correct Staffing Levels with Highly-automated COLORMAN

Persgroep Amsterdam has taken the right steps to take efficiency to the required level. Within one year after given the order, IDS, mRC+ and IQM have made the manroland COLORMAN (Booth 2210) from Amsterdam much more effective.

Persgroep Amsterdam ranks its COLORMAN from 2000 withQ.I. Press Controls’ (Booth2264) closed-loop automation package* among the most automated COLORMAN full-color presses. They also include the COLORMAN newspaper presses of, for instance CPP in Groot Bijgaarden in Belgium, Transcontinental in Canada and the U.S., of Kieler Nachrichten in Kiel, Germany and Freie Presse in Chemnitz, Germany. The goal for Q.I. Press Controls’ closed-loop quality automation package: optimising the printing efficiency to the highest level. In other words: finding ways of letting newspaper production function with as few operating hands as possible, with simultaneous optimization of quality and use of materials.

De Persgroep has three production plants in the Benelux. De Persgroep Amsterdam produces its own newspaper titles, such as Algemeen Dagblad (460,000 copies), De Volkskrant (264,500 copies), Het Parool (75,900 copies), Trouw (105,800 copies) and many other titles for third parties and free advertising papers. Ruud de Klerk, Director of De Persgroep Amsterdam, is satisfied with the adjustment and buying process of Q.I. Press Control’s system package for quality automation on the COLORMAN, a total of 72 high-tech camera systems for IDS and mRC+ detections. “At this magnitude, you will undoubtedly have obstacles to overcome; the more so since our COLORMAN is Honeywell driven, combined with manroland’s Pecom.Q.I. Press Controls’ engineers have gradually ironed out any of those obstacles. The calibration of IDS has now been completed, partly thanks to the enthusiastic contribution of our printers. Our confidence inQ.I. Press Controls for this megaproject has paid dividend.”

All COLORMAN main operating consoles now include a GOS-interface (graphical operator screen). They offer the printer an overview of and quick access to all IDS functions. In addition to the usual ink foundation settings, the screen shows all color quality information, both current and trend-based. An alternating screen informs him of the actions of the mRC+ cameras. All this, while in the background the camera hardware and algorithm software are in closed-loop operation for the printing register and color quality control and the possible correction thereof. GOS also enables combining operating consoles, thereby reducing workplaces at redundant operating consoles.

De Klerk said, “I was struck by the eagerness with which our printers cooperated and monitored it all very closely. This, at the same time, also showed how others took distance instead.” De Persgroep’s staff reduction plan, linked to this major automation project, was to be completed in accordance with the reflection principle, as it is known in the Netherlands (as part of which job role and age is weighted per group in the reduction plans). “In addition, our staff members were given the opportunity to use a social redundant employee replacement scheme, in which staff members who had not been made redundant initially were given the opportunity to leave voluntarily and cede their job to an employee who had been made redundant, thereby preserving their employment. Surprisingly, during the implementation process, the ceding and replacing process came to life spontaneously. The process ultimately proved so successful that it exceeded its purpose. This created a positive motivation, which eased the implementation, acceptance and realisation of our cost-cutting targets by 25%.”

De Klerk continued, “The automated color quality and register maintenance now do the work. Printers must be proactive in their responses toQ.I. Press Controls' GOS and other terminals. A printer needs to be continuously aware that an automated system can derail. In that case, overruling is a temporary solution. Subsequently, he is expected to come up with a solution by applying his system knowledge in combination with IQM. IQM itself is able to indicate and backtrack an initial need for maintenance through deviations in trend charts. Truth is that the higher degree of automation means a stronger dependence on the printers’ comprehension of the automated register and color control functions. According to the printers, this has only added to the appeal of the profession.”

Q.I Press Controls’ automation package not only resulted in staff reduction. De Klerk said, “The number of complaints has fallen dramatically. Despite a reduction in actual press operation, the overall quality of our entire print package has become much more stable. Add to that a further reduction of approximately 25% in our start-up and print run waste and we can whole-heartedly say that Q.I. Press Controls’ automation package on our COLORMAN has exceeded expectations in terms of its performance: Improved color quality, reduced crew size and reduced paper waste. Q.I. Press Controls has exceeded our cost-cutting expectations.”

All-in-all, De Klerk is satisfied when recapitulating the cooperation withQ.I. Press Controls.

*  Q.I. Press Controls’ closed-loop automation package for De Persgroep Amsterdam comprises the following system elements:

  • 24 IDS high-res CCD-scanners for automatic double-sided, web-wide scanning of, in total, 12 full-color webs, including underlying software for individual color control and management in accordance with ISO 12647-3
  • 48 mRC+ high-res CCD-scanners that instantly record deviations in color and cut-off registers, and which provide automated correction input to the relevant positioning engines of printing plate cylinders, turning bars and compensation rollers.
  • IQM management system for the evaluation and report on actual register positions and color values measured IDS and mRC+, compared to the target values.
  • Corresponding GOS (graphical operator screen) presentation systems for touch-screen interaction between operators and system intelligence. This in addition to the existing consoles with the four presses.