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Panpa Bulletin : February 2007
PANPA Bulletin February 2007 39 PRODUCTION CASE STUDY all stages and because of the automation there’s little leeway for mistakes.” NWN’s complex workfow (handling many publications across two sites) required some fne-tuning, especially as the system’s capabilities were better understood. Agfa’s technical staff worked closely with Almond’s team to ensure it met NWN’s requirements. To ensure uninterrupted production at the Print Centre, a staggered changeover was planned. Installation began in August 2005, with the fnal plate line completed in November. According to Nally this required some “thoughtful scheduling”. Analogue equip- ment was decommissioned during the week and new plate lines moved in on Sundays. Exhaustive testing was frst carried out on preprint sections (eg, Body+Soul) and, after several weeks of successful printing, main- sheet dailies were migrated to CtP. The gradual implementation of plate lines meant staff had to operate both systems for about two months as well as learn new skills. “It was a big learning curve for all of us,” says CtP maintenance supervisor Brett Cleary. “The beneft was that we slowly changed over and had a back-up system but it was challenging. Everyone is very comfortable now and we are seeing the benefts.” Much of the work, he says, is easier because of the system’s automated features. For example, stacking units have plate requirements programmed so manual sorting is unnecessary. Regular equipment maintenance also ensures its reliability and optimum performance. The Agfa system eliminated the labour- intensive flm-making process and a cum- bersome work environment. Previously, four Pressfax flm-setters produced flm and, with only two plate lines available, backlogs oc- curred during busy periods. Operators also had to move between various machines lo- cated in separate sections. With a dedicat- ed processor for each line, an equipment breakdown would no longer stop plate production and the in-line confguration has increased production speeds. “One line is easier to track and monitor– and it’s dramatically improved our eff- ciency,” says Cleary. “We can produce 440 plates per hour, with four lines in full produc- tion, which helps us meet our deadlines.” Removing the flm-processing step had a signifcant environmental beneft with flm, developer and fxer eliminated and silver and ammonia heavy-metal removed com- pletely from the waste water. According to Nally this is one of the ways NWN is continuing to advance its corporate responsibility. It is also working to eliminate polymers and colour from trade waste and improve water quality further. Inaccurate plate registration was an- other issue with the old system but plates on-press are now “perfect from start-up”. The :Polaris’s patented Flex registration uses a vacuum system in the fatbed table to position plates accurately against the three- point registration system, and the Strobbe bender uses a camera system to position the plates accurately for greater register control. Improved image quality and registration accuracy has also reduced start-up plate wastage and the move from analogue to CtP plates has increased run lengths. According to Cleary, a publication of 800,000 copies used to require two plate sets (almost 400 plates in total) because the frst set would wear and there would be around 200 “remakes”. Now only one set was needed with just 10 remakes. * An earlier Agfa CtP installation at The Age’s Tullamarine print operation was a “greenfeld” site. and small demands 1) The AdvantageXS outputs Agfa’s :N91V violet photopolymer plates of The Murray Pioneer 2) The new :Advantage XS platesetter with online processor, 3) NWN’s CtP maintenance supervisor Brett Cleary at one of the new Agfa plate lines 1 2 3
November December 2006