Three Roularta presses produced the current Messenger edition from manroland web systems. The newspaper section was printed on a COLORMAN 4-2 that made headlines in 2009 with a unique configuration of 4 webs, 4 towers, and 4 driers. The product catalog cover was printed on a ROTOMAN with UV coating; the catalog itself, as well as the Luxury Edition, on a 72-page LITHOMAN. Given these glimpses, one can begin to imagine the facility’s impressive pressroom equipment which also comprises a 48-page commercial press and another newspaper press as well.
Roularta Printing in Roeselare is one of the most well-renowned printing companies in Belgium and a member of the Roularta Media Group (RMG). Over the past 50 years, the family-run business has expanded from a local newspaper to an international multimedia group. With 735 million euro in sales and around 2,800 employees, it cuts an impressive figure. The company detected signs of a changing media market at an early point and responded by diversifying its portfolio. With nine business units – weekly newspapers, lifestyle tabloids, free newspapers, magazines, books, services, graphics industry, radio & TV, and Internet – the group is active throughout Europe. Innovative business ideas drive the company’s steady growth. RMG has created a large number of free newspapers, different news journals and special interest magazines, and been active with TV channels. In the printing business units, the group’s successful strategy includes a “top quality for ads” policy. Highly skilled employees and the right technology ensure its implementation.Successful union of newspaper and magazine
In 2007, Roularta started an investment program that is scheduled to reach 100 million euro by 2015. In addition to the construction of a new production hall, the program’s first phase included the addition of two COLORMAN, one 72-page LITHOMAN, and a 16-page ROTOMAN with a UV coating unit for cover printing. The previously mentioned COLORMAN 4-2 is equipped for extremely flexible coldset or heatset printing; with the capacity to print 64 full-color broadsheet pages, 128 tabloid pages, or 2 x 128 semi-tabloid pages, it achieves a maximum speed of 43,000 collected copies per hour. The 2 x 128 semi-tabloid pages are produced in the heatset folder, based on the proven LITHOMAN technology used to generate blade folds at maximum speeds. William Metsu, managing director at Roularta, was convinced from the start: “We achieve virtually the same quality on the COLORMAN with heatset drier as on our heatset presses.” The new press backs up his assertion. Its printing quality is spot on, even on gloss-coated or SC paper, a decisive criterion for Metsu in selecting the heatset COLORMAN.
LITHOMAN: 2 become 1
In the second installation phase, a new 72-page LITHOMAN started production in June 2011, with a productivity that allowed it to replace two older systems. The old rotary presses needed to be phased out of production due to their low numbers of pages and lack of automation. Timelines was also a key factor. Faster production speeds enable more last-minute page updates, a huge plus for news magazines.
The perfect fold
Beyond numerous automation features, such as register control, blanket washing, and plate changes (PPL®, PowerPlateLoading), printing quality and fold precision were key factors that influenced the investment decision. Peter Leroy, Production Director at Roularta, explained: “With newspapers, the fold can stand to be slightly less precise, but for the high-quality magazines that we print on this LITHOMAN, we need a perfect fold.” This is exactly where the LITHOMAN outperformed its competitors.
TeleSupportCenter gets rid of stress
In fact, Leroy was very satisfied with the whole installation and initial start-up process. “manroland had scheduled two months for the installation and one month to start up the presses, and the whole process went like clockwork. We even had time to spare compared to our planned scenario. This was partly a logical consequence of the fact that our employees were already acquainted with the LITHOMAN, and partly due to the excellent work by manroland’s technical team. It’s no surprise that we are extremely pleased with this partnership and the support, and have been for years. The TeleSupportCenter (TSC) plays an especially important role. Should a problem ever occur, manroland specialists can log in remotely and take control of the press. Thanks to this proactive approach, I can say that we have always stayed within our production windows.