SWUG delegates who might greet each other with “How yer goin’, mate” had a variant ready for Fairfax Media colleagues at the annual conference in Brisbane last weekend: They wanted to know how the newspaper UV was going (writes Peter Coleman).
A reference to the pioneering work being done at the publishing group’s North Richmond, NSW, and Canberra print sites using the first Baldwin newspaper UV systems in the world and a variety of consumables.
It took until part-way through the engineers’ sessions on the final day before the question was asked, and the answer seemed prepared: Sean Tate from North Richmond reported that the equipment had been installed and was working well.
“We’re still finding the selection of consumables to optimise results,” he says.
His immediate boss, Michael Gee, stressed that these were early days, and with “many variables to control”, one run would be good, another not. “It’s not bloody awful, just not consistent”.
Indeed reports suggest that quality is outstanding when everything comes together… which isn’t always.
The dialogue emphasised the lack of real information about a printing process which has been taking place on presses designed for coldset newspaper printing, since the early 1970s. Last year’s SWUG focussed strongly on it, as have the columns of GXpress.
A visit to neighbouring UV sheetfed and packaging print sites in Sydney was suggested, and Anthony Payne, responsible for Fairfax Regional Printing’s site at Beresfield, Newcastle, added, “I’m just grateful that two other sites are sorting out the bugs.”
Representatives of manroland, KBA and UV systems maker IST volunteered their company’s experience, but were generally cautious of making commitments. (IST sales manager Jürgen Merz later left me with a note listing his company’s more than a dozen single and double-width installations).
An ink supplier or two kept their counsel, and other equipment vendors with experience of the technology were notably absent from the conference. Nothing much on the subject either from Fairfax web printing and logistics chief executive Bob Lockley – who is SWUG’s president – or Peter Tkachuk, whose company Baldwin Graphic Systems, supplied the hardware.
However, motivational speaker Andrew Matthews (pictured) seemed to have something to say with a cartoon which announced progress scores in an imaginary ‘SWUG Open’ match: Lockley -2, Tkachuk 9.
It seemed all too early and too sensitive, but maybe next year they will have a result.
The second day of the conference expanded on themes from the first: APN Print’s general manager for regional operations Gary Osborne told of a career which started as a letterpress apprentice on the Sunshine Coast and led him into newspapers.
From production management duties in Maroochydore, he became involved in group projects, managing press sites and advertisement services.
“Work hard and you’ll get opportunities,” he advised delegates.
Geoff Austin recalled the early days of SWUG, launched as a Goss users’ group in 1985, but later expanded to include members with Solna, Color King, and Harris presses.
“We had a lot of great supporters, but Goss were there at the start and have not left our side since,” he says.
Goss sales manager Matt Hancock brought things up to date with press developments including the compact Colorliner CPS and 70,000cph Magnum HPS, latest in a best-selling line.
Andy Stephens of Global Press technologies had a new waste minimisation system to show, claimed to cut startup waste by 50-85 per cent by relating page image data to unit position specifics.
The quietly-spoken Steve Tangee brought a droll tale of daisies and manhood to his explanation of fluids used for press wash-ups… and the advantages of solvent-free wash, being trialled at APN sites in New Zealand, and at Rural Press Ballarat, and Newsprinters, Shepparton, in Victoria.
QIPC chairman Menno Jansen had heard sales pitches were not well received, and gave instead, the presentation of European customer Coldset Printing Partners.
A 2009 project to automate all possible motor corrections including full registration control (with fan-out) and closed-loop colour, led to reduced manning, lower start-up and production waste and increased quality.
“Its successful implementation improved profits substantially and will pay for itself within two years,” he says. As a result, the company ordered similar solutions for a second factory.
Motivational speaker, author Andrew Matthews proved himself both an amusing speaker and a talented cartoonist.
To a familiar tune, he argued that misery is a choice and that the happiest people he knew were the ones with the most problems. So what do you do if the share price of the company you work for plummets… don’t worry, be happy. And if your job disappears as well… “do something else”.
SWUG delegates would at least be up for it.
SWUG Day one: Seriously, there’s a lot we can learn from each other
Glittering prizes the star at SWUG's presentation night