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The latest in conveying and bundling

Gill Loubser visits Ferag in Switzerland where the latest postpress inserting technology is revealed – especially relevant for newspaper printers in developing countries, making the transition from manual to automatic operation.

A visit to Ferag’s headquarters in Hinwil (not far from Zurich) delivered a valuable update for newspaper printers. Coming from all corners of the globe, they enthusiastically soaked up the latest technology provided by this superbly-organised ‘customer event’. Outstanding hospitality coupled with Swiss precision was the order of the day! Also invited were key print industry journalists.


A warm welcome and company presentation by CEO Jürg Möckli was followed by a tour of the impressive production facilities and culminated in a demonstration of two notable developments for newspaper conveying and bundling – the HPC (High Performance Conveyor) and HPS (High Performance Stacker).

In addition, we learnt of further exciting developments to the MiniSert inserting line, first introduced a year ago.

Meeting demand from emerging markets

Our hosts emphasised that the development of the HPC and HPS resulted primarily from demand from emerging markets – specifically the BRICS aligned countries – where newspaper printers are keen to upgrade production processes. They’re particularly looking for quality and affordable prices.

Ferag has answered this need by providing robust technology with an excellent price-performance ratio.

The development has also been speedy. It’s less than 12 months since Ferag decided to invest in these products and the new technology will be available from early 2014.

The HPC conveyor system transports newspaper products from A to B at production speeds up to 90 000 copies/hour (a fact that was proven during the demonstration).

Chains and grippers are manufactured from high-grade plastic. Not only does the robust construction guarantee dependable production even under high loads, coupled with low operating costs over a long service life, the lightweight construction also means low power consumption.

As products come off the press, they’re assigned as a paced copystream to the HPC grippers in its forwarding station. In addition to connecting the conveyor system via separate forwarding stations, variations are possible with two looped stations for transferring newspapers after the second or third folder, as well as tandem configurations on double folder deliveries.

Apart from delivery to bundling, a further option is a feed to a winding system with subsequent processing (inserting, stitching, trimming, etc) in offline mode.

The HPC is based on a chain system that’s universal in its application. Instead of the HPC grippers, chain links can be equipped with any conveyor components. One version is the familiar PKT plate chain conveyor that’s used by several newspaper printers for transporting newspaper bundles from the MultiStack sector to the loading docks. But the HPC chain is also a basis of made-to-measure, economical and energy-efficient conveyor and transport solutions throughout the whole logistics segment.

HPS with universal servo drive

In bundling, the new Ferag production system is matched by the HPS (High Performance Stacker). This concept, based on Ferag’s tried-and-tested MultiStack technology, comes with one exceptional feature – universal servo drive. It ensures high-precision, synchronised cycles from separation of incoming copystream through stack formation and control of the elevator/turntable to controlled ejection of bundles. Lateral guides ensure excellent bundle quality.

The HPS is programmable and can be equipped with a light version of Ferag’s Navigator control. The compensating stacker achieves a performance of 25 bundles/min. Up to three HPS units can be series-connected in line for parallel and series bundle production.

MiniSert: now with 12 hopper stations

Ferag has subjected key features of the MiniSert to further development. Now, the line can be extended by twin modules to a maximum of 12 (previously six) hopper stations. When it comes to product width, MiniSert has become more flexible. Opening devices are now available for magazines, broadsheet newspapers and products in half format, without overlap. The opening components are exchangeable to suit the product being processed.

As well as sales successes in the United Arab Emirates, the Philippines and South Africa, the Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has also installed a MiniSert line with six hopper stations. The line covers production peaks when processing a partial run of the Frankfurter Rundschau when the five high-performance Ferag MSD lines are running at full capacity with the production of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and other national and international papers.

The event was rounded out by a fascinating insight into the latest trends in newspaper front page advertising using pressure-sensitive stickers (see article on below), not to mention a superb evening programme that included dinner in an aircraft museum preceded by an exciting one-hour ‘spin’ in a 1939 Junkers JU52!

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