By Chuck Moozakis
The Daily Hampshire Gazette in
Northampton, Mass., last month said it wants to upgrade its production facility
and purchase a flexographic press from Italian vendor Cerutti Group.
The paper is buying an S4
press to anchor a 7,000-square-foot expansion, said Aaron Julien, publisher. The
$10 million project should be completed late next year once it receives the
green light from the Northampton Planning Board.
The Gazette (daily, 17,552
daily; Saturday, 19,391) is the first American newspaper to buy a press from
Cerutti, which up to now concentrated on marketing commercial presses in the
United States. It’s also the first paper to opt for flexographic printing since
The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle ordered a flexo press in 1999.
Cerutti last year said it
would reignite its international newspaper marketing following the sale of flexo
presses to the Daily Mail and General Trust in London.
Major Italian newspapers La
Repubblica, Corriere della Sera and La Stampa also use Cerutti presses.
Julien said the expansion
project will allow the Gazette to greatly increase print and color capacity as
well as attract commercial accounts. The double-wide press, configured as six
units, can produce up to 48 pages of broadsheet and 96 pages of tabloid color.
The machine, rated at 80,000
copies per hour, will sport two upper formers, one for newspaper production and
the other for quarterfold products, Julien said. It will be designed with a
48-inch web width and 21.5-inch cutoff, although the press could be reconfigured
to a 46-inch web width with minimal engineering.
The new press will also enable
the Gazette to print The Recorder in Greenfield, Mass., a 13,000-subscriber
daily. Both are owned by Newspapers of New England, which acquired the Gazette
NNE additionally owns the
Concord (N.H.) Monitor and the Valley News in Lebanon, N.H., also produced on
Earlier, The Recorder had
evaluated a single-wide flexo machine designed by Tech-Energy Co., but officials
decided they needed a double-wide press to permit the production of both papers.
Once the Cerutti press is commissioned, The Recorder will shutter its production
Julien said NNE’s successful
experience in running flexo presses contributed to the selection of the Cerutti
machine. “We’ve been running flexo presses for 17 years and love the quality,”
he said. “Readers also like the lack of ruboff and the consistency of the image
is valued by customers and advertisers.”
In addition to the press, the
Gazette is migrating to computer-to-plate using basysPrint platesetters and
flexo plates from MacDermid. Julien said the paper also plans to upgrade its
postproduction, but is still in the process of evaluating vendors.
The planning board will meet
March 8 to review the project, which is being designed by ArcWest Architects