Jersey newspaper to become inkjet pioneer

Jo Francis
Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Kodak and Jersey’s Guiton Group have teamed up to set up an inkjet newspaper printing operation that will be the first of its kind worldwide.

The two companies have formed KP Services (Jersey), which is poised to install two Kodak Prosper 6000P high-speed inkjet web presses and four Hunkeler Combi-Solution newspaper finishing lines.

Production of the Jersey Evening Post will switch from conventional printing to digital, and the new setup will also contract print 11 national newspapers for distribution on the island.

In total, this will involve the production of around 35,000 newspapers a day, digitally.

“We originally discussed digital printing probably 20 years ago, with a French printer,” explained Paul Carter, managing director of Guiton Publishing and the Jersey Evening Post. “We’ve kept an eye on it ever since, but it’s taken a long time for the speed and reliability to be where we needed it to be. Being on an island, with a daily newspaper, we would never jeopardise production,” he stated.

“We’ve probably been talking to Kodak for about four years. The improvements they’ve made with the Prosper 6000 have made the concept of digital printing newspapers a reality,” Carter added.

The new equipment will be housed in a separate unit. It is currently being shipped to the site, and is expected to be installed and tested by the year-end, with production commencing in Q1 2016. The scale of the investment was not disclosed.

The Jersey Evening Post will become a client of KP Services (Jersey), which will be run by Jack Knadjian, a Kodak veteran and long-time exponent of the potential for digital newspaper printing.

He said: “Kodak has pioneered inkjet printing for newspapers and is ready to show the world the next generation of inkjet presses… it would not have been possible to print so many titles, with such a diversity of print runs, and with some very high page counts using offset technology.”

The Prosper presses run at up to 300 metres/min and can produce around 3,000 48pp tabloid papers an hour.

Kodak said it was not a facilities management arrangement. A spokeswoman said: “KP Services (Jersey) is a separate company, the purpose of which is to prove the viability of the Kodak Prosper 6000 press technology in newspaper printing.

“This will be the world’s first use of a Prosper 6000 press to print newspapers at production volumes.”

She said the plans had already resulted in interest from other potential customers.

The Jersey Evening Post is currently printed on a 40-year-old Goss Urbanite press. “I think it’s paid for itself,” Carter quipped. “We’ll run things in parallel for a short period.”

It is hoped that seven existing production staff will transfer to the new venture, which is set to employ around 24 in total.

Carter said he was particularly impressed with the flexibility of production the new setup would bring. “We can bounce between tabloid and broadsheet, and we’ll be able to move in 4pp sections rather than 8pp. The Hunkeler finishing lines are very impressive, and have inline gluing as well for supplements.”

The 15,000 circulation Jersey Evening Post will also move to full-colour for the first time. Carter said he expected to use the Prospers' variable printing capability for promotional codes and personalisation, such as special deals for the paper’s subscriber base.

“We're 125 years old and finally going full-colour. We’re also looking at improving our paper stock because of that, by going up from the current 42gsm,” he said.

KP Services (Jersey) is likely to use a single paper supplier, but the details are not yet confirmed.

Guiton Group is part of the Claverley Group, which also owns the Express & Star, Midland News Association, and Precision Colour Printing in Telford.




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