Former UBP press delivers a colour upgrade for New Zealand's Beacon

A five-tower press relocated from Malaysia is to be the centrepiece of a comprehensive upgrade for New Zealand's Beacon Print in Whakatāne.

Although "secondhand", the Goss Community SSC line from Sarawak-headquartered from United Borneo Press Group is "barely run in", according to chief executive Aaron Buist, who saw the press in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, with print site general manager Brian Cornes and Webco director Brendon Whitley before finalising the purchase agreement.

It will print Beacon Media Group's The Beacon and other community newspapers.

The five-tower line and Goss N40 folder will replace an existing ageing four-tower press, with the project scheduled to be completed in the first half of 2020. UV curing from the existing press is to be reinstalled on the new press, which brings the flexibility of "footprint shaftless" independent drives on each tower, reducing setup time between print runs.

Press automation includes colour registration, ink pre-setting, automated web break detection, zero-speed splicers, guarding and safety interlocks. The extra tower means all-colour 40-page tabloids can be produced at up to 35,000 cph, 37 per cent faster than currently.

Buist says it was evident the press has not run excessively since being originally installed and has been maintained the press to an excellent standard. "We are very, very happy with its condition and of course it's a modern and technically advanced press with lots of features and capabilities built in as standard," he says.

Agfa CTP has also been upgraded at the site, and Müller Martini inserting/stitching/trimming relocated from Beacon's Hastings plant, which closed last year after NZME took printing of newspapers including Hawke's Bay Today back inhouse.

Managing director and owner of Beacon Media John Spring says the investment is "a huge vote of confidence in, and commitment to" New Zealand's community newspaper publishers. "Increasing demand for consistent highest quality in printed newspapers continues to challenge all newspaper printers," he says.

The press installation - the culmination of an 18-month capital programme to modernise and future proof the business for safety, quality, efficiency and cost - demonstrates a commitment to "do whatever it takes" to help newspaper customers.

"This is a huge investment for our business," he says. "It will bring significant benefits to us and our community newspaper customers, with improved print quality.

"It'll be awesome to have a near new press with the latest in print technology. We can't wait."

UBP, a Borneo company attached to a 70-year-old Chinese-language newspaper, has made a business of the contract printing of Malay, Chinese and English dailies at print centres around the region, chief executive Sim Yong Lian telling members of Australia's SWUG about it when he was a guest in Darwin in 2014.

Pictured (top): The "nearly new" press, and (below) managing director and owner of Beacon Media John Spring

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