European leading newspaper printer Mediaprint’s tryst with QIPC and EAE technology

A strategic step to keep itself on the safer side for future newspaper production

Less hardware, smarter control—this is the catchphrase of QIPC and EAE quality control systems, which Mediaprint has recently adopted for a sure future newspaper production. Mediaprint in Austria is one of the largest newspaper printers in
Europe, known for printing widely-circulated newspapers, Kronen Zeitung or
commonly known as Krone, and KURIER.

For the last two years the newspaper industry in Europe has been closely following Mediaprint’s Vienna retrofit project. This leading European newspaper printer is readying itself for the future with technology from Q.I. Press Controls and EAE. Here, new QIPC quality control systems have been installed, and Koenig & Bauer AG (KBA) has undertaken an extensive mechanical retrofit and EAE has completely overhauled the control electronics and software architecture. Over 30 newspaper printers from eight different countries across Europe were invited to Vienna to take a closer look at what is the largest retrofit project that EAE has undertaken to date.

Survival expectancy up to 2015

In 2001-2002 Mediaprint installed a total of 13 KBA Commander newspaper presses in its three locations across Austria. Today it has been 16 years on and it is a question of what was to be done with this kit in a country where newspaper print runs have held up well and large quantities of printed newspapers will still undoubtedly be circulating at least by 2025. As a strategy, Mediaprint, the joint print service provider for the publishers of Kronen Zeitung and KURIER, which in combination produce 950,000 copies, eventually decided on a comprehensive retrofit project.

All 39 press towers at the newspaper printing plant of Mediaprint have already been fitted with Q.I. Press Controls’ current IDS-3D closed loop density controls. The existing ABB controls and ABB planning systems are being replaced with EAE control components and the VIP Dispo/Mail/Statistic and Print Image software packages. In addition, the Austrian printing plant is the first user of the new EAE Desk 7 control desk. Three of the eight presses at the Vienna-Inzersdorf site have now been fully upgraded and the customer is in a position to talk about its initial experiences.

Open house

Attendees at the open house organized by Mediaprint at Vienna were treated to an in-depth presentation of how the EAE software modules work through a mix of talks and live production. These modules have replaced software that was partly developed in-house by Mediaprint. Bernhard Schmiedeberg, Senior Vice President Sales at EAE highlighted how the control architecture has been simplified, so that each press tower now only needs one PLC instead of 11.

The EAE part of the project got underway in February 2017 and the conversion of the 13 web presses will be completed by May next year. Progress has been on by the fact that one of the eight Media-print presses in Vienna could be taken out of production for ten weeks. This also allowed all the engineers to be trained on the project, so that it should be possible to fully convert the last two lines in Salzburg within two weeks.

For all those involved, the Mediaprint retrofit was an important showcase. It demonstrated the smooth way in which KBA, Q.I. Press Controls and EAE have been able to work together, and it precisely highlighted the Desk 7 operating under production conditions and confirmed the potential for savings, which, in the case of Mediaprint, run into the tens of million euros. The open house event witnessed representatives from companies like Axel Springer, Funke, News Printers or CPP who got opportunity to talk to Mediaprint’s staff. QIPC and EAE Chairman Menno Jansen together with EAE Managing Director Jörg Westphal were also present at the event, hearing directly from the users of Desk 7 and VIP software.

Menno Jansen mentioned that the current version of the new control desk as just a first step. In his talk at the open house he did not simply cover the latest QIPC developments such as the reduction in ink use through smart dampening control, but also focused on the control desk of the future. In future, the central, high resolution 4000 screen of the Desk 7 will display a dashboard that provides at-a-glance information about press status through colour signals and smart graphics.

Future a few months away

For QIPC-EAE this future is only a few months away. These functions will become a reality on the control desk in a retrofit project underway in Amsterdam. De Persgroep, the company’s Dutch customer which owns media assets in Belgium, Denmark, and the Netherlands, will not only cut the number of control desks per press from three to two, as at Mediaprint, but it also aims to control two press lines from a single Desk 7.

QIPC-EAE, which is called as the result of Q.I. Press Controls’ acquisition of EAE in 2014, is a supplier of innovative, high-quality optical measurement and control systems. Supported by a global service network, the QIPC-EAE joint-venture delivers total solutions for web offset presses in the printing industry. From prepress to mailroom, the company provides solutions that not only lead to production reliability, but also enhance performance as well.

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