Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Core Wars

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Core Wars

Article excerpt

To the legendary newspaper equipment wars of past and present -- proprietary vs. off-the-shelf in front-end systems or offset vs. dilitho vs. flexo in the pressroom -- add plastic vs. metal newsprint roll core ends.

Core makers are increasingly directing their marketing pitches at production executives and publishers -- betting that newspapers' heightened concern about newsprint waste and web performance will translate into pressure on paper mills.

"We're going to the publishers now because the publishers have the clout .... Nowadays, if [a core manufacturer] goes to the mills with something new, well, they've laid off half their staff and they don't want to know about you," Dan Kewin said the other day on the Nexpo show floor.

Kewin is the inventor of the Greensleeves System, and the efforts of his company, Newark Paperboard Products of Cedartown, Gal, to market the cores to publishers stirred up a real controversy on the floor of the recent Nexpo.

Greensleeves Systems features a core that has inside and outside diameters that are larger than traditional and -- most controversially -- uses a lightweight and easily removable plastic sleeve designed to fit all three-inch chucks.

Newark is claiming several big benefits for the system:

* Kewin says the Greensleeves sleeve "rides up" more snugly on press chucks than do cores with metal caps. The result, he says, is less bounce and vibration on the web.

By contrast, metal cores simply fit looser in the chuck -- leading not only to wrinkles and tension variations on the web, but also to wearing on the chuck shoulder, Kewin says.

"Pressrooms are forever repairing their chucks," he said. "Well, one thing you can say for sure: plastic isn't ever going to ride down a chuck."

* Newark says its Greensleeves cores, with their larger-than-traditional diameter, permit newspapers to run farther down to the butt core, cutting newsprint waste.

* Greensleeves cores survive transit better than traditional cores, Newark says.

"In transit, plain cores plugged with hard, unyielding wood, plastic or metal are simply a hammer and anvil," a company statement says. "The inner plies of the fiber core are compressed and softened on impact and quickly loosen on reel chucks."

* Finally, Greensleeves, as its name suggests, claims significant environmental advantages. Because the sleeves can be removed easily by hand and because the core wall is somewhat thinner than traditional cores, cores can be baled at the newspaper, the company says.

The plastic sleeves themselves can be returned like soda bottles: Newark pays 504 a sleeve. …

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