Full speed ahead: at the start of production at the Allgäuer Zeitungsverlag in Kempten, Germany, 280,000 regional advertising supplements were printed by the COLORMAN e:line. The advertised food items looked mouth-watering – an indication of the excellent printing quality of the 64-page coldset web press from manroland web systems.
Since January 2013, the world's first COLORMAN e:line has gradually taken up full operation in Kempten. Prior to that, the eleven-member service team of Allgäuer Zeitung and manroland web systems had perfectly coordinated the project stages since delivery of the press in mid-2012. Not even the adverse weather could dampen the enthusiasm of everyone involved. This also included the Prime Minister of Bavaria, Horst Seehofer. He was one of the first to visit the publishing house and the new COLORMAN e:line. The keen breakfast newspaper reader summed up his impressions of the innovation: “The future is happening in Bavaria.” As head of the Free State of Bavaria, he was especially pleased by the cooperation between the Bavarian companies. While Seehofer was not the only one to be impressed by the brilliant colors of the freshly printed Allgäuer Zeitung newspaper, he also emphasized the importance of newspapers’ editorial quality. Allgäuer Zeitungsverlag is consistently working on comprehensive quality as the basis for its competitiveness. This is why the COLORMAN e:line has replaced two competitor presses from 1998. The company Allgäuer Zeitungsverlag invested 18 million euros in new pre-press, printing, and distribution technology. “This is definitely a great amount of money”, said Managing Director Markus Brehm. “We have to invest to remain technologically ahead. Those who benefit from the improved quality and the quick, flexible production are our advertising customers and readers, as well as our staff.”
Automated operator bliss
During the preliminary meetings, manroland web systems internalized the wishes of Allgäuer Zeitungsverlag and then implemented them technologically. Today, it would be correct to say that for manroland web systems and the customer, the COLORMAN e:line is “the” press of the future. Josef Aumiller, Sales Manager Germany at manroland web systems, says: “The aim was to replace two machines by a single one with a comparative print/time ratio, which requires quick, flexible, and stable print production. This is accomplished by short makeready times and high printing and operating quality, which allows us to deploy our staff efficiently.” For Wilfried Sutter, Technical Manager of Allgäuer Zeitungsverlag, the accelerated makeready times are especially crucial in everyday operations: “One of the great advantages is the fact that makeready times are reduced to approx. three minutes per regional issue. This used to take twenty minutes to half an hour on the old press.” After all, the publisher must produce eight regional issues of the Allgäuer Zeitung every day on workdays. Staff were trained up front and are excited about working on one of the world's most advanced newspaper presses. Their list of favorite features is topped by the automated plate logistics, which vastly facilitates work processes. Its central element is the fully-automatic, robot-assisted APL plate changing system that dramatically accelerates makeready times and thus production. The operator controls the plate changing process from the central control console. Here, the plates are placed in transport baskets. They are then transported to the APL robot with a home-built lift to the upper printing couples, where they are changed. This eliminates the top operating level and the operator no longer has to run up and down stairs. Sound-proofing on the press’s printing units is another feature that is greatly appreciated by staff.