The shareholders and management of the Westfalen-Blatt newspaper group are convinced that printed newspapers are and will remain an indispensable cultural asset and the prime information medium even in the age of the Internet. True to that philosophy, the innovative newspaper house decided to invest in an entirely new printing center, which opened in fall 2013, on a greenfield site in Bielefeld-Sennestadt, since space had become too tight at its downtown plant owing to the increase in its insert volumes.
Westfalen-Druck prints 25 zoned editions of the publishing house’s flagship Westfalen-Blatt, which was first published in 1848 and is one of the main regional newspapers in Westphalia with a total run of over 120,000 copies. It also publishes several other weekly newspapers and Sunday newspapers of its own with a total run of just over a million copies.
These contain up to 16 inserts at peak times. “Our advertising inserts segment has developed very favorably in recent years and there are no signs of a downward trend,” says Technical Director Carsten Tews. In the peak month of this year, Westfalen-Druck inserted some 40 million inserts into the various newspaper products at the new site – a substantial year-on-year increase compared to production at the old plant.
From right: Carsten Tews (Technical Director), Uwe Trant (Print Finishing Director) and Matthias Kandt (Sales Representative at Muller Martini Germany) in front of one of the Westfalen-Blatt newspaper group’s two ProLiner inserting systems in Bielefeld.
Retrofit for Buffers and Compensating Stackers
Westfalen-Druck again decided on a Muller Martini solution for the print finishing of the newspapers, which are now printed in four colors throughout using two double-width, 32-page KBA Commander CL printing presses with four splicers, four print towers and two folding units.
While two NewsLiner inserting systems were used at the old plant, the new mailroom uses two identical production lines with FlexiRoll buffers, ProLiner inserting systems with twelve insert feeders each, plus automatic preprinted section feeding, and three compensating stackers (two NewsStacks and a CN 80 machine). The FlexiRoll buffers and two bundle processing lines were comprehensively retrofitted and relocated from the old site to the new printing center.
The lines also provide the option of rolling preinserted inserts for preprinted section production. The preinserted preprinted sections can be automatically fed to the main product from buffers, which reduces manual handling and increases the efficiency of the whole system.
Performance Up 30%
“Our company has 13 years of positive experiences with the NewsLiner and the impressive buffer system,” says Tews. “That’s why we opted for Muller Martini again, and its ProLiner. It’s very easy to handle, and the feeders, half of which are loaded with stream feeders, can be conveniently operated.”
Furthermore, both very thin products (with six to twelve pages) and extremely heavy inserts, some of which are wire-stitched (weighing up to 470 grams) are processed in Bielefeld, which is where the ProLiner comes into its own with its wide insert range. Carsten Tews puts the performance of the ProLiner, which is designed so as to be extendible at any time in the future, at 30% higher than that of the predecessor model.
Carsten Tews is also very impressed with the Connex.Mailroom data and process management system (with Connex.Info), which has been customized by Muller Martini for the company’s mailroom, not least because of the increasingly small zones: “It’s a very valuable tool that shows us how we are continuously increasing our productivity. It provides evidence of how good the ProLiner feeders are and enables us to document the high quality of our inserts to our customers.”