News UK and Prinovis UK in paper first

Darryl Danielli
Friday, September 4, 2020

News UK and Prinovis UK are set to secure an industry first this weekend when they begin the roll-out of paper banding to replace polybagging on the Sunday Times.

Paper band roll out will be nationwide by mid-October
Paper band roll out will be nationwide by mid-October

The publisher will initially roll out the banding of the newspaper supplements, magazines and inserts that were historically polybagged, on the Sunday 6 September editions in the South East, with the Saturday Times magazine and inserts to follow next weekend.

Last June the titles switched to compostable wraps for newsstand and no wraps for supermarket copies, but now it will only use paper wraps, with a phased roll-out to all UK and Ireland regions expected to complete by the middle of next month.

News UK Retail Director, Neil Spencer said: “Retailers and readers have responded overwhelmingly positively to our plastics pledge and this latest paper band innovation is an industry-leading effort.

“Our suppliers have put plastics at the centre of their sustainability drive, building on their work reducing emissions through efficiency drives and sourcing 100% of paper from sustainable forest management systems.”

The switch was enabled thanks to a circa £1m investment and exhaustive trial by Prinovis UK in partnership with Italian kit manufacturer Sitma.

The two companies began trials last year with a prototype machine installed around 18-months ago, with News UK running samples through its supply chain to check a paper band would work.

“We then commissioned Sitma to build us a machine that was suitable for the speed and product portfolio that we had. For example the original prototype machine wouldn’t run above A4 and was pretty limited in its speed,” said Prinovis UK managing director Richard Gray.

Following a successful factory acceptance test, the first machine was delivered at the end of February, just prior to coronavirus lockdown in Italy and subsequently the UK, which delayed the process.

Prinovis has now had two of its six Sitma polywrapping lines fitted with new banding modules.

The units sit on the existing lines, which gather the products, and enable them to run either bagging, conventional poly or compostable film, or paper banding.

They can also run banding and wrapping on the same product.

The switching between the wrapping and banding processes takes around one hour and is part of the makeready and running speed in banding mode is around 14,000 copies per hour, slightly slower than poly.

“From our perspective it’s a good solution that uses a relatively small amount of paper compared to a full paper wrap,” said Gray.

The paper bands are printed on the firm’s highly specified Goss M600A 16pp web press, which the gravure printer installed two years ago.

The band in this Sunday’s issue is sponsored.

“From our perspective we think it’s a solution that will suit a lot of clients where they’re going point of sale and it’s a new advertising space at a time when everyone is looking for something new,” said Gray.

“So, we’re really pleased to have worked in partnership with News UK and Sitma to deliver a solution that removes the use of single use plastics.”

Gray said that while adding banding module was not cheap, it was more cost-effective than replacing the entire lines with banders.

“Once the ramp-up with News UK is complete, clearly we’ll be interested in what other work we can do with the lines and if there’s sufficient demand we will extend to further lines if and when.”

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