Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Mainstream Month

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Mainstream Month

Article excerpt

Heidelberg's first North American sites go live, 20 days apart

One week into October, Montreal's La Presse rolled off new presses in a new plant. Before the month was out, The Roanoke (Va.) Times did the same. The redesigned dailies are America's first to be printed on the Mainstream 80, the press that returned Heidelberg squarely to the big newspaper press business.

One of the first straight-only "4-by-1" presses -- doublewide but with only one page around its plate cylinders -- the 80,000-copy-per-hour Mainstream is distinguished by its gapless cylindrical or sleeve-type blanket. Although designed and built in New Hampshire, Mainstream so far has found its only U.S. buyer in Roanoke. To date, however, Heidelberg has sold 10 Mainstreams in five countries. The more recent two of the four sold in France are the first to be built there, at Heidelberg's Montataire plant. Also the first to accommodate the Berliner tabloid format, that pair of presses is about to start up in Toulouse at La Depeche du Midi.

Owned by Gesca Ltd., a subsidiary of Power Corp. of Canada, La Presse is printed at newspaper publisher and commercial printer Transcontinental Inc.'s new Metropolitan plant under a 15-year contract. In fact, one of its two Mainstreams was called up for service almost two months earlier than planned when it was plated and ready to print The Globe and Mail when the Aug. 14 regional power failure shifted printing from a Toronto-area plant to Quebec.

The first Mainstream sold, Roanoke's consists of six four-high, eight- couple towers, with a 2:5:5 jaw folder, seven Contiweb FD pasters, and automated reel loading and roll preparation. Among the "critical factors" in the choice, according to Times Production Director Chip Harris, were the print quality provided by a gapless blanket, added color capacity, and the economy of a one-around cylinder for a paper that had been double-plating its press for runs that always were in straight mode.

The 47,000-square-foot downtown plant is the first to feature both press and post-press systems from Heidelberg. An NP200 gripper conveyor carries copies from the Mainstream across an enclosed bridge over a street to a mailroom equipped with a Heidelberg Magnapak inserter. In use now for 17 months, the 32-station Magnapak has cut Sunday package assembly from four days to a day or day-and-a-half, depending on size, according to operator Mike Roberts and production chief Harris.

The operation ran its first live edition last Monday. Ten days earlier, the soon-to-be 117-year-old paper welcomed customers, community leaders and other guests to its $31. …

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