Trinidad Guardian expands with new KBA Comet

Press upgrade in the Caribbean

(PresseBox) ( Würzburg, )
The Trinidad Guardian, a newspaper with a reputation for journalistic excellence, was first published in Trinidad and Tobago in 1917. At the end of 2007 production was transferred to a new KBA Comet, bringing a big enhancement in both quality and colour content. In June this year the format was changed to tabloid, following a change in November 2002 to what was called "G-sized Guardian".

Trinidad Publishing Company placed the order for the single-width, double-circumference Comet in 2006, the year the ANSA McAl group, which holds a 56.7% stake in the company, celebrated its 125th anniversary. Since its foundation in 1881 ANSA McAl has evolved from an agricultural business into a group of more than fifty companies with over 5,500 employees. Its diverse industrial activities extend beyond the Caribbean to the USA and South America.

New printing plant in the heart of the island

The Comet was installed not in Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad, but in a new 4,000m²-plus (43,000ft²) printing plant on the highway to Chaguana, a fast-growing city in the heart of the island. The $10m investment package also included a mailroom and bindery. In addition to the Trinidad Guardian Trinidad Publishing Company owns five radio stations and CNC3 cable TV through Trinidad Broadcasting Company.

The new floor-mounted KBA Comet has a maximum output of 75,000 96pp tabloid copies per hour (48 full-colour pages). It is configured with six Megtec AR 70A reelstands, two four-high towers, two H-type printing units and a KF 3 folder with length/cross perforation and a quarterfold capability. The web width can be varied from 635 to 1,000mm (25 - 39.5in), enabling it to print a wide range of supplements, magazines and other products in different formats. Management is thinking of adding a heatset package for handling improved stock.

Pioneering technological advances

Most of the newspaper presses in the Caribbean are elderly installations whose output, automation and ease of handling fall far short of today's standards. The Trinidad Guardian's installation of the globally successful KBA Comet tower press has redefined the regional benchmarks in quality, flexibility and efficiency. In addition to its title daily, which is published six days a week and has a circulation of 50,000 to 60,000 copies, the company also prints the Sunday Guardian and numerous supplements (business, sport, motoring, house and home, appointments). External titles include Caribbean Compass, ETNT, Grenada Today, Grenada Informer and International Weekly.

KBA reference sites in the USA clinch the decision

Trinidad Guardian General Manager Douglas Wilson says: "We made an exhaustive analysed of the market through our US subsidiary, ANSA McAl (US) Inc., and toured a number of press manufacturers' reference installations in the USA. But we chose KBA because they offered us the customised technology we needed for future growth. One of the sites we visited was the Santa Fe New Mexican, where a KBA Comet has been in action for some years. For us, it was the perfect press."

The installation and commissioning schedule for the new Comet had to be closely co-ordinated with the erection of the new plant and finishing department and left no room for delays. But the start-up went smoothly, and while the transition from the aging Goss presses represented something of a challenge, after being trained both on site and at the Santa Fe New Mexican, the press crew had no trouble mastering the new technology. The benefits were well worth the effort. The press runs in three shifts, 18 to 20 hours per day. Says Douglas Wilson: "The shaftless KBA Comet is a high-speed machine and a major milestone in our company's development."
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