Idaho Daily Realizing Automation, Waste-Reduction Goals

January 27, 2021

Article by: News & Tech

Idaho Daily Realizing Automation, Waste-Reduction Goals
Tara McMeeking/Contributing Writer

Take a look behind the scenes at The Lewiston’s Tribune’s production center.

The Lewiston Tribune (Idaho) recently tapped manroland Goss to add inline controls automation to the publisher’s Uniset press. The 4-unit press was originally installed in 2007. The upgrade — which The Tribune has been evaluating for the past couple of years — includes new density, register and ribbon control systems that went live in September 2020.

Publisher Nathan Alford told News & Tech that waste has been the publisher’s primary consideration. He said the longtime family-owned, generational paper remains committed to providing the highest quality at the lowest cost per copy.

Alford proudly carries on a commitment that began in 1892 to deliver honest journalism while leveraging the best technologies. “We aren’t publicly traded or hedge-fund owned and we’re one of only a small number of family-owned, generational papers left,” Alford said. “Moves like this for smaller companies like us are significant, and this proved to have value.”

Production Director Jay Brown told News & Tech The Tribune has been looking at automation and waste reduction since 2018. “Some press crew members are nearing retirement, and consumables prices continue to rise, so those were certainly considerations,” Brown said.

The install has been very customized, and the controls were built and configured in Germany to meet The Tribune’s specifications.

Benefits of System Integration

Ease of integration with the existing press system was also appealing; however, the systems were still customized to meet The Tribune’s specifications. Controls were configured and built in Germany over a six-month period following the original contract signing in December 2019. All of the hardware arrived in crates and was assembled one press unit at a time.

“We now have press operators running 22- and 24-page sections independently,” Brown said. “We have a dayside crew of three, five days a week and a nightside crew of two to four people, seven nights per week.”

So far, The Tribune has realized waste savings near 50 percent, and Brown said several jobs that were requiring 2,000 copies are now down to 1,000. “The more complex the job, the more spoilage you have, but with paper prices it’s really nice to cut that down,” he said.

In addition to The Tribune, the site prints the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, which serves the higher-education communities of the University of Idaho in Moscow and Washington State University in Pullman. It also prints more than two dozen commercial jobs.

Alford credits the success of the upgrades to a mix of good people and the right technology.

“At the end of the daily newspaper cycle, the readers that are enjoying our journalism at a higher level are among the biggest winners,” he said. “They’re the ones who pay our subscription bills and allow us to keep doing this work.”


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