AJC com­pletes drives up­grade on por­tion of pressline

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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.


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