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Panpa Bulletin : February 2006
28 | PANPA BULLETIN February 2006 PRODUCTION West Australian Newspa- pers (WAN) has placed an order with Kodak for four Trendsetter News 200 sys- tems. The largest configuration at a single site in Australia. The thermal CtP devices will be installed at WAN's Osborne Park facilities in Perth later this year to service the company's flagship daily publication The West Aus- tralian, 19 regional newspapers across the state and a range of commercial contracts. Prior to making the decision to purchase the platesetters for the newspaper's upgraded produc- tion operation, a team of ten ex- ecutives at WAN undertook exten- sive research locally and overseas to ensure the new additions met four main criteria: fast through- put speed for plate imaging, processing and punch/bending; cost-effective plate production cost; high level of operator effi- ciency; and consistent quality of plate to press. Greg Shurman, general man- ager -- printing, explains: "We needed plates to be made at 300+ plates per hour in peak periods to allow us to at least achieve the throughput we get from the cur- rent analogue platemaking sys- tem. We also needed to allow for growth in platemaking volume without affecting press start dead- lines. "We decided to invest in four platemaking lines to ensure peak hourly requirements could be comfortably met whilst providing an appropriate level of operation- al redundancy. The company had already had extremely positive experience in the Kodak CtP envi- ronment at its commercial print- ing operation, although editorial- to-press deadlines are nothing like those which apply when printing a metropolitan daily newspaper with one of the largest distribu- tion areas in the world." The West Australian has a cur- rent circulation of 210,000 cop- ies for the weekday editions and 385,000 for its Saturday edition, which averages around 500 pages and has more than one million readers. While the company recognised it would benefit from CtP quality and platemaking speed potential, the cost per plate also had to be justified in comparison to the current film-to-plate environ- ment. Research confirmed the Trendsetter News 200 throughput speed was clearly capable of mak- ing the plates required to meet deadlines, at a cost which could be easily justified. Maximising operator efficiency was a further goal that could be successfully achieved with in- vestment in a CtP programme for WAN's upgraded production operation. "With increasing market expec- tations of consistently high quali- ty print reproduction, we believed we must invest in platemaking equipment which would allow us to take full advantage of compu- ter-to-plate technology. The issue became a choice between violet light and thermal technologies. "Our view was that whilst violet light offered some cost advantag- es and was capable of producing a consistently high quality dot on plate, the benefits to our com- pany from a further investment in thermal technology were clearly evident in the sharpness of the printed images we were getting from our existing Trendsetters." WAN will team the Kodak Trendsetter News platesetters with two products manufactured by Nela: Automatic plate preload- ers that allow reliable unattended operation once they have been loaded with plates, which conse- quently reduces labour costs, and Vision punch/benders to increase production throughput while at the same time reducing plate handling. "Whilst all of the manufactur- ers' CtP systems we considered could achieve the essential plate- making requirements we'd set, West Australian Newspapers' big order