AJC completes drives upgrade on portion of pressline
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution completed the upgrade of its drives at the beginning of the year, in partnership with Electronic Design Group.
The upgrades took place on one of the publisher’s four TKS (USA) press towers, which handle the main run of AJC. The project marks a significant update to AJC’s 30-year-old press, and will increase reliability, according to Clarence Jackson, director of facilities and maintenance.
“This was integral to getting to a one-pass operation,” he said. “It’s helped with reliability and performance.”
AJC’s new drive back panels were retrofitted with new ABB DCS800 drives and ancillary parts to power each of the 12 existing DC motors on the press.
“On that press we upgraded all of the main drives and the master controls,” Jackson said. “We did the supervisor control system, too.”
The new supervisory back panel with PLC technology was also installed to replace discrete boards and relays, EDG said. The original drives on that pressline dated back to 1986.
EDG purchased the drives from ABB and assembled them at their facility in Canada, Jackson explained.
“EDG shipped everything to us and then they came here and completed the install in two weeks,” he said.
Downtime during the installation process was minimal and Jackson said AJC continued to print on the press throughout the process.
“During the day they would do one, two, or three drives, and then at night we could still run that press,” Jackson said.
A total of 12 drives were replaced on the press, and the project included building in some redundancy via the EDG software that interfaces with the controls.
Since the project was completed, Jackson said AJC has seen much less downtime.
“In addition to the elimination of unscheduled down time, the upgrades have improved the overall runnability of the press,” he said.
Going forward, AJC plans to work on one press a year until the remaining three have been upgraded.
AJC’s facility, located in Norcross, Ga., prints the flagship daily, as well as regional editions of USA Today, Investor’s Business Daily and The New York Times. AJC also prints the Athens BannerHerald, and two weekly papers.
The Norcross facility is AJC’s only print site now, after parent Cox Newspapers donated its downtown plant to the city of Atlanta in 2010. The donation included AJC’s 72 Marietta Street office building as well as the newspaper’s former printing press building behind it. At the time, Cox estimated the site was worth about $50 million.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution's press drives before and after the upgraded components were installed on one of its four TKS (USA) presses.