Christoff Botha, executive director: Paarl Media Western Cape, explains: ‘The combination of our four Cerutti and KBA presses not only offers exceptionally high speed but also great format flexibility and efficiency with an entirely new approach to post-press configuration and cylinder loading.’
Makeready is fast, as the Aurora is equipped with a fully-automated cylinder transport system from Bauer that facilitates automatic loading on to cylinder trolleys; at the touch of a button the operator can load cylinders automatically from buffer to press. Paarl Media’s longer-term strategy is to automate cylinder storage and movement, using RF tracking.
The post-press configuration on the Aurora is another departure. ‘After a thorough evaluation of requirements, we decided to opt for a Gammerler system,’ says Christoff. ‘Top-quality in-line trimming across a broad range of product formats was one focus point; and we opted for a horizontal Gammerler log stacker and palletiser combination with an in-line system. This allows high-speed trimming across a product range from four to 128 pages.’
Technically speaking, the Aurora press features a number of innovations making it far superior to previous-generation presses. Full automation makes it easy to operate and substantially increases efficiency. It’s also environmentally sound. ‘It’s more energy efficient. Significant reductions in waste, steam and power consumption result in a reduced carbon footprint,’ Christoff confirms. To ensure optimum solvent recovery, the press is equipped with ‘doctor blade extraction’.
In the post-commissioning period, the system has proven reliable, providing efficient production with minimum set-up time and low wastage, both on setup and running.
Top-quality monitoring environment
Another first is the Aurora’s enclosed control room with notable health and safety benefits. Noise abatement, ergonomics and temperature control help to eliminate stress factors and lead to a quality monitoring environment.
‘The Quadtech Autotron Gravure 2200 register guidance system monitors colour and controls print quality in a closed-loop system producing the highest-quality gravure printing available on the continent,’ Christoff adds proudly.
This was one of the first projects where Autocad 3D modelling was employed by Paarl Media. ‘Although time-consuming during the design phase, it ensured a proper fit between components supplied by third parties, cutting down on construction time and errors,’ Christoff explains. Usually, installation of a gravure press of this size and complexity would take five to six months with another five to six weeks of commissioning and testing. In this instance, the task was completed in three months and one week.
Johan von Wielligh, Western Cape operations director, is equally enthusiastic.
‘The Aurora press offers independent frequency control motors on each unit that ensure registration control on a different level. Combined with new-generation Celio ink viscosity control, this offers outstanding print quality. The automated cylinder loading system substantially reduces makeready times, while high linear speed and advanced controls offer more copies per hour and less waste,’ Johan remarks.
Adds Alan Turner, Paarl Media Cape’s national sales manager: ‘The Aurora gravure press is a giant step forward for publication printing, taking gravure quality and efficiencies to another level.’
In terms of ensuring optimal running of the new press, Paarl Media Cape identified training as critical. Third party suppliers and OEMs were asked to provide a ‘certification of competency’ for all personnel giving instruction and training. On completion of training, an assessment was made by the instructors, before declaring the operator ‘competent’.
This R150-million investment is the final part of the recapitalisation programme, but the tail end of the R1,5-billion investment in Paarl Media Cape and the R4,5-billion project in the Paarl Media group.
‘We recently acquired the Trudon account for printing the Yellow Pages,’ Christoff Botha reveals. ‘This was a big step for Trudon in terms of shifting from coldset to gravure to deliver a better-quality publication for their customers. The new Aurora press is perfect for the efficient production of such high-volume publications and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to our customers and to the industry as a whole.’