Hi-speed double width web press
A boon for ‘contract’ printers?
With the changing concept of managing the newspaper production, a new trend has come into being at least in the US and Europe where newspaper publishers have opted to come out of the traditional print operations required for producing their newspapers.

In the world of contract printing in the US and Europe, big ‘contract’ players like AXEL Springer, NWN Print, Morton Print, Guardian Print Centre and others have taken over the contracts of many newspaper titles to produce and supply in their multi printing centres very successfully. TC Transcontinental Printing from Canada is doing good to churn out many reputed small and medium-size newspapers like Globe and Mail, La Presse and The San Francisco Chronicle. As a matter of fact, newspaper publishers have re-identified themselves as content creators and not just printers. The concept is paying them well as they were not able to concentrate on multi-utilisation of content in more than one medium which may include internet, mobile phones, etc. They had to put their equal energy into manufacturing newspapers engaging themselves day and night. Thus this demarcation is becoming a clear cut phenomenon.

Coming back to the current Indian scenario, the concept of ‘contract’ printing has been pretty successful with such newspapers which are comparatively new and have opted out to set up own printing facilities. So, it is being outsourced to contract printers whose facilities are equipped with web offset machines and are able to meet the requirements of multi-city newspaper editions, utilising specific time slots of such printers. Many of such contract printers have been very successful and even producing around 20 titles regularly.

The installation base of double width high-speed web presses from the manufacturers like manroland, GOSS, KBA, Mitsubishi, TKS, Manugragh, etc at various locations in India have primarily been catering to their own requirement. However, with the high capacities available on those machines and uninterrupted running make the owners to utilise some of the time slots for additional revenue generation by way of undertaking the outside printing of newspapers belonged to different publishers which sometimes include their immediate competitors.

The trend of ‘contract’ printing has proved worthwhile in most of the cases as mentioned already. The Indian Express in Noida prints more than eight newspapers daily on their Manugraph single-width presses. Vibha Publication Private Limited is another successful Noida-based contract printer printing around 20 dailies and 28 weeklies/fortnightlies for which the company has been recognised by Limca Book of Records.

In India, there would be approximately 20-30 good ‘contract’ printers producing not less than 1,000 titles (dailies, weeklies and fortnightlies). But perhaps no one would be using double-width web press (except some large newspaper publishers). Is it not worth to consider installing double-width presses by ‘contract’ printers? The increased capacity can be further extended to publishers meeting their precise demand of larger print-run. The machines need not necessarily to be new ones. However, it will be very good if one can opt for brand new machine where manufacturers may offer the facility of easy financial terms.

–SM Dutt


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