Newsprinters renews Agfa agreement

Hannah Jordan
Tuesday, April 25, 2017

News UK print arm, Newsprinters, has agreed a new contract with Agfa, ahead of the current contract’s scheduled expiry in 2018, in a deal that will see its CTP and workflow system completely overhauled.

The latest agreement will run until 2022 and has paved the way for the replacement of Newsprinters’ Agfa Polaris CTP lines, which were installed across its three sites in 2006 following the first contract signing between the two firms, with Agfa’s Advantage N TR VHS CTP systems. In total the business will replace six CTP devices and all of its 20 processors.

The business runs 19 lines of Manroland triple-width XXL presses capable of printing at 86,000 copies/hr out of its Motherwell, Knowsley and Broxbourne plants.

"With the existing contract coming to a natural end in 2018, we undertook a very detailed project looking at what the landscape will be, taking into consideration changes in technology, the experience we have built over 10 years of operation and future demands for additional flexibility," said Newsprinters managing director Steve Whitehead.

“We looked at wholesale change and at extending our contract with Agfa given how well they know us and we came up with a great deal for both parties,” he explained.

Under the agreement Newsprinters will also upgrade its plates from the existing N94VCF used today to the latest N95VCF, longer-running, chemistry-free photopolymer printing plates as well as installing six Nela high-speed punch-benders with increased capacity and panoramic plate capability and Agfa’s Attiro VHS high-speed, chemical-free clean-out units.

Newsprinters’ existing Arkitex workflow systems will be expanded at all three sites to include increased Arkitex Portal capacity for customer file upload and approval, the latest versions of OptiInk ink saving technology and Apogee pre-flight technology. Additionally OptiInk, Arkitex pre-flight, Intellitune and Arkitex Production will all become cloud-based.

Work began on upgrading the systems a couple of weeks ago with completion expected across Newsprinters’ three sites in around September this year, according to Whitehead.

“We have a lot of experience with phasing in new technologies and standards across the business,” he said. “We start with the smaller site in Scotland and then roll out to Knowsley on Merseyside and finally the big beast of Broxbourne, by which time we should have learned all the lessons we can learn,” he explained.

Whitehead said that the new Advantage line would give the business a lot more flexibility, with the ability to produce 370 plates/hr compared to the 220 plates/hr of the Polaris, as would the installation of more panoramic plate benders.

“It enables us to do more with less,” he said. “We are using 400% more panoramic plates today than in 2007. This will give us more resilience and flexibility overall.”

Agfa’s newspaper sales manager for UK and Ireland, Nick Lazell, added: “Agfa Graphics is pleased to extend its long-standing partnership with Newsprinters.

“We look forward to implementing the state-of-the-art workflow in the cloud into the Newsprinters’ printing sites, together with the latest computer-to-plate and processing technology with the new chemistry-free printing plates.”





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