Even allowing for the delays caused by last August's devastating floods, this month's commissioning of a new plant in Kozhikode is just one more milestone for Kerala giant Mathrubhumi.
Work on a three hectare site in the Kozhikode district of Ramanttukura, started a couple of years back, a new 12,000m2 building now accommodating heatset and offset presses plus the latest prepress and postpress kit.
The last decade has been one of startling change for the Indian publisher, which has a reputation for buying big when it places an order.
The 4x1 TKS Color Top 5000UDI newspaper press and HB-5000ED heatset web are the proceeds of a relationship with the Japanese manufacturer which dates to 2011, when TKS was looking for a foothold in India and Mathrubhumi had committed to a re-equipment programme.
It started with three presses - one each for Trivandrum, Kochi and Kannur - and then another for Palakkad installed mid last year, and then another...
The shaftless Color Top 5000UDI presses (pictured), each of four full colour towers with a web width of 1400 mm and twin 2:3:3 jaw folders are capable of producing 3 2page broadsheets at 75,000cph, and design features to suit local conditions, while the double-wide, one-around format and 546mm cutoff deliver flexibility and economy for the big print orders.
Mathrubhumi also stunned the vendor industry by the size of its orders with Swiss mailroom specialist Ferag and CTP systems vendor Krause. The 2011 order for 12 lines based on Ferag's Multisert drum technology, and that for 20 Krause platesetters and associated equipment were among the largest the European makers had accepted.
The 20 violet-imaging LS Performance 250 platesetters - with processors and JetNet workflow - were part of an order placed with Krause at DRUPA in 2016, and understood to be one of the largest received by the German manufacturer. The CTP systems are complemented by Krause BlueFin processors and JetNet workflow.
Two Müller Martini Primera bindery lines have also been delivered against the Kerala publisher's shopping list, updating production of the group's giant daily newspaper and ten Malayalam language magazines.
Nor has digital been neglected in the decade of development, with Mathrubhumi turning to a database-centric Atex editorial CMS in 2015 to help deliver its more than 80 daily publications and over 370 pages daily
Beyond the more than 1.4 million print readers, there's the approximately 7.5 million users of the www.mathrubhumi.com website to provide for.
Founded in 1923, the newspapers are based in Kozhikode, and printed at ten sites from the north of Kerala down to the south of the state.
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