News updates mailrooms to keep papers flowing

May 11, 2015 at 06:45 pm by Staff

New Ferag publishing lines at News Corp Australia's Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne print sites will keep newspapers flowing, replacing equipment which is more than 20 years old.

Production and logistics national director Geoff Booth says the publisher will replace two of the existing lines at each site, improving productivity and freeing parts to keep remaining lines going.

"We've never before been in a position where we have had to replace production assets - there's always been a revenue driver in the past such as more colour or capability," he says. "Now as part of our ten-year plan, we're having to concentrate on just getting papers out."

Much of the problem is tackling the obsolescence of electronic parts in the Ferag systems, which were installed as part of a giant order News placed in 1987. Two of the four existing systems in Brisbane and two of the six in each of Sydney and Melbourne will be replaced with new Ferag packaging lines using the Swiss maker's Rollsert RSD drum inserters and, Booth says, "capable of 36,000 cph for easy products".

In Brisbane - where presses were recently updated with new manroland electronic systems and QI Press Controls' automatic colour control - two presses are dedicated to metro daily the Courier-Mail, one to The Australian and one to the Gold Coast Bulletin and other work. The inserting lines handling the Courier-Mail are likely to be replaced first, although Booth says further replacements may follow.

While the systems being replaced in Brisbane and Melbourne were installed in the 1990s, those in Sydney were part of an upgrade seven years ago, and replacement will also enable the use of modern control systems based on Ferag's Navigator technology.

While the original systems split the copy flow into two inserting lines - keeping pace with straight production from the Newsman presses - a single new line will serve each folder.

For the first time at the metro News sites, copies for inserting will be buffered in a six-station DiscPool module, rather than being fed directly into inserting drums, a technique which isolates mailroom production from press speeds. When an edition starts, a few thousand copies are spooled and immediately used to feed the inserting drum.

Based on Ferag's high-speed UniDrum technology, the RSD Rollsert drum inserting system includes automatic format presetting and FlyStream precollating with a 'self-repair' system which detects skewed copies and returns incomplete sections to the system, reducing waste and handling. Installations will include three extra unwind stations and three manual insert hoppers.

A recently-installed SMT50 stitching drum is being integrated into one of the Brisbane lines and SMT42s are be be relocated elsewhere. Each line has three MultiStack stackers with Kalfass film wrapping, feeding to the existing PKT bundle delivery systems.

Ferag Australia - which has recently rebranded as WRH Global Australia to reflect broader activities beyond print - will handle the installation which includes new pickup stations, inserting and packaging.

WRH Global is also involved in two mailroom installations in New Zealand at the moment. At Allied Press in Dunedin, a used inserting system is being teamed with new conveyors, stackers and control systems, and at Fairfax Media in Petone, the Ferag system is being extended with polybagging and StreamFold quarterfold facility.

Pictured: Part of the existing Brisbane mailroom; (below) a schematic of one of the new lines


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