Growing Florida paper calls for latest press tech

A thoroughly contemporary approach to publishing underpins newspaper production in the fast-growing Florida city of The Villages.

Some 300 new houses are built there every month, and - with a daily circulation now just over 60,000 against the local population of 120,000 - The Villages Daily Sun has been enjoying steady growth for years.

Publisher Phil Markward says the printed newspaper is "part of our community philosophy", with expectations of the newspaper particularly high.

"Quality journalism must therefore also be presented well," he says.

Now the Villages Media Group is investing to meet and exceed expectation with a new production facility in the centre of their distribution area in The Villages, about an hour away from Orlando.

A high degree of automation will distinguish the triple-width Commander CT 6/2, to be installed in a new, modern production hall late next year.

The 90,000 cph Koenig & Bauer press will have three reelstands, three printing towers and a folder, and be able to be expanded later.

"Based on 20 years of consecutive growth we firmly believe the circulation will continue to climb in the coming years," says Markward.

After a period of change in the press manufacturing industry, he spoke of the importance of "a partner on whom we could build for the long term", while Koenig & Bauer Digital & Webfed sales vice president Stefan Segger stressed that seven of the last eight large newspaper rotary presses sold to North American customers had been Koenig & Bauer machines.

The Villages Daily Sun is one of the few newspapers in the US to see its circulation rise continuously, and the company plans to also print advertising leaflets, magazines and external contract work.

The press will have comprehensive automation including roller locks, cylinder wash-up systems, colour and cut-off register and measurement systems, and the fully-automated plate changing. A new ErgoTronic console with EasyTronic for optimised start-up will control the press, with extensive software for maintenance.

Pictured: Stefan Segger (centre with an illustration of the new press and, from left) James Sprung (associate publisher of The Villages Media Group), Winfried Schenker (Koenig & Bauer senior sales manager), Phil Markward, Steve Infinger (director of operations, The Villages Media Group), Jurgen Gruber (sales manager Koenig & Bauer US, and Dan Sprung (director marketing/publishing, The Villages Media Group) - "in us publishers have a partner on whom they can rely," he says

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