technotrans SE

Frankenpost Verlag - Technical modernisation for a traditional publisher

The printing centre of Frankenpost Verlag relies on the print service competence of technotrans and invests in the comprehensive renewal of its ink supply system and dampening solution circulation system.

The cost-effective and fast route to more operational reliability: In order to guarantee reliable production for the coming years, the printing centre of Frankenpost Verlag GmbH decided to modernise its system for dampening solution circulation and ink supply for web offset printing which is now around 25 years old. technotrans SE was awarded the contract and in a short space of time, the company performed a retrofit during ongoing operation in order to bring the system up-to-date with state-of-the-art technology. The benefits the printing shop now enjoys include high press availability, operational reliability and improved maintenance options. 

The printing centre of the Frankenpost Verlag GmbH is part of the Hof-Coburg-Suhl-Bayreuth regional newspaper group and a subsidiary of Süddeutscher Verlag and Deutsche Druck- und Verlagsgesellschaft (DDVG). The printing shop prints, for instance, the newspapers of the Nordbayerischer Kurier, the Frankenpost and the Neue Presse – with a total of 90,000 to 100,000 issues per day. Moreover, the printing centre also produces all the give-away advertisers for the entire regional newspaper group and various printed materials for external customers, with an average of 800,000 per week. The printing shop was faced with technology and periphery in place which in part was more than 25 years old, and for which various components are now no longer available on the market, and was looking for a solution in order to guarantee the long-term future of increased production. 

"The aim was to be able to continue producing for another 10 to 15 years which is why the factors of machine and spare part availability were critical", says Wilfried Beiersdorf, Printing Shop Manager at Frankenpost Verlag. In order to achieve this, initially the option of procuring completely new technology was debated internally. However, the option which proved to be the most cost-effective which would be the quickest to implement, was the refurbishment of the existing periphery by way of retrofitting. The printing shop came to this conclusion after a requirement-based assessment of the devices and components which would need to be replaced in order update the system as a whole with state-of-the-art technology. A decision was made in favour of market leader technotrans. "The fact that the existing system is from technotrans did of course play an important role. But also, we felt very well taken care of by technotrans when it came to customer support. In particular, the technical expertise, the great consultation services and the dedication that went into landing this order are worthy of note", says Beiersdorf. 

Higher press availability thanks to retrofit
The core of the measures was the refurbishment of the dampening solution circulation and ink supply system for the web offset printing towers in the printing shop. This approach was made up of two components: For a start, technotrans replaced the complete internal sensor technology and control technology of the press as it was coming to the end of its life cycle after more than 25 years. In the process, the new control system was integrated into the new control centre technology of the press in consultation with the manufacturer of the control centre. Also, the control technology of the tank system was updated and new ink supply pumps were installed as spare parts are no longer available for those which were in place beforehand. In the process, the existing cabling and piping was retained. In addition, technotrans replaced the ink tanks, which had a positive effect on the logistics costs of the ink suppliers. "Previously, we were only able to use 500-litre tanks, whereas 1,000-kilogramme containers are now the standard. Due to the different dimensions and the resultant better utilisation of space, we require less space on the truck and save delivery costs accordingly", Beiersdorf explains. 

Thanks to the refurbishment, operation is now performed either using a user-friendly display screen which shows the filling levels of the container, for instance, or conveniently by remote access from the PC. The new control technology with network interface makes all this possible, says Ulrich Meitinger, Area Sales Manager at technotrans. "It is even possible to allow the filling level to be accessed via the interface so that ink manufacturer can react proactively in case the filling levels are low, and supply fresh ink". Moreover, if required, the system facilitates condition-based maintenance thanks to the pump stroke displays for checking them for wear. On the device for dampening solution circulation technotrans also replaced the refrigerant. The R22 was replaced with a more environmentally friendly variant with a low global warming potential (GWP value), requiring minor conversion work on the system components, for example on the evaporator. "Legal requirements meant this step was necessary as servicing partially halogenated refrigerant has been prohibited for several years now. This means that it would no be longer possible to continue operating in case of a fault or if refrigerant needed to be topped up", Meitinger explains. Thanks to this change, publisher Frankenpost can continue to operate the device safely and reliably. 

Installation during operation
The project's greatest challenge was performing the entire installation during operation, thus preventing a break in production. Thus, optimum installation planning was critical. "Assemblies pre-fabricated in the factory saved a lot of time", Meitinger reports. "We were well prepared and were able to replace all the parts quickly". Beiersdorf confirms this on behalf of Frankenpost: "We consulted daily with the technotrans employees on site – that all worked really well". Times in which no printing was performed were utilised as well as possible and work was carried out on the printing towers which were not currently producing. "Everything went really smoothly and production was not affected in any way", says Beiersdorf. 

In order to maximise machine availability, the printing shop also invested in a package of spare parts. Moreover, technotrans trained Frankenpost's in-house technician, who in future will take care of maintenance and servicing of the system. This process is made easier because the converted system is much more compact and easier to access. The printing centre is very satisfied with how the project progressed and with the cooperation. "Despite the restrictions in place due to the Corona pandemic at the time of the project in 2021, technotrans completed the project quickly and reliably – everything went really smoothly". 

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