Globe targeting February ’17 go-live in Taunton
The Boston Globe is moving full speed ahead at its newly minted 328,000-square-foot production facility in Taunton.
The facility will produce The Globe and other papers it publishes, as well as its commercial contracts with The New York Times, the Boston Herald, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, and its newest client, Gannett flagship USA Today, which went into production at the existing facility on Jan. 25. The Globe expects to produce the first products at the new plant sometime around April 4, according to Vice President of Operations Rich Masotta, although not all presses and production capacity will be live until February 2017.
The Globe first announced that it had found a new facility in May 2015 (see News & Tech July 2015). The building — formerly owned by Chambers Properties — seems to be a perfect fit for a buzzing newspaper production operation.
“We found the warehouse in Taunton and it was conducive to exactly what we wanted to do,” Masotta told N&T.
The biggest boon, he said, will be getting into a facility where everything can live on one level vs. the three levels at The Globe’s existing 700,000square-foot production site.
The new facility, located at 330 Constitution Drive, has been vacant since 2011 when its last tenant, the Boston Apparel Group, vacated.
Some 282,000 square feet of the facility will be dedicated to production and distribution operations, with offices comprising the remaining 46,000 square feet.
In February, The Globe tapped Pressline Services for its FlexPress infrastructure, which will equip the facility with 22 zones and four folders, and position the publisher to court additional commercial work. Press installations began in early December. “In total, Pressline is retrofitting 140 Goss Urbanite units with all new controls and inking systems,” Masotta said.
The press infrastructure provides three pages across and right angling into a doublewide folder, giving The Globe near double width performance, Masotta said.
The FlexPress will feature EAE Press Controls, Rexroth shaftless technology, Perretta motorized fountains, Technotrans dampeners, WPC registration controls and NELA lockups.
“We also have a four-tower Tensor press, and we plan on moving that over, along with a UV curing system,” Masotta said. “We will have four zones that will be able to print all commercial work and USAT. We will have the press capacity to print jackets and we will have a significant amount of dayside capacity — so we’ll be bringing a lot more commercial work in.”
Three-up, chem-free CTP
On the prepress side, The Globe selected CTP equipment from Agfa to feed the presses. The publisher is installing four Advantage N-TR high-speed platesetters with N94 violet, chemistry-free plates and four Attiro high-speed clean-out units. The publisher is also installing four Nela VCP 1200 automatic vision register punch benders.
“We are hoping to have our platemaking equipment installed by the end of January, and begin testing in early February,” said Cesar Molina, director of New England Media Group Prepress Operations. “We’re switching to 36-inch plates for 3-up, or three pages per plate.”
The 3-up process would have slowed down the workflow with the existing equipment, prompting the publisher’s move to the high-speed CTP equipment,” Molina added.
The Globe’s relationship with Agfa, which is located just 30 minutes away in Wilmington, dates back 13 years.
“Our front-end system is also Agfa, giving us consistency,” Molina said. “Performance has been great and we haven’t experienced any significant issues with plates affecting the pressroom over the years.”
Building a pressroom
While the facility is by all accounts perfect for a newspaper and commercial printing operation, Masotta said a project of this magnitude is never without it’s obstacles.
“Building a pressroom from scratch is a challenge with all of the construction and components,” he said.
The Globe partnered with The Austin Co. on the design and layout of the new facility. Austin got involved in the project in October 2014 and brought to the table an integrated team of architects, engineers, and project managers.
“Because it’s not a manufacturing or production space, mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems have to be brought up to speed to accommodate a manufacturing facility,” Mike Pusich, manager of facilities development for Austin Co., told N&T. “We looked at structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection and architectural aspects, and modified the master plan to fit.”
Turner Co. handled construction on the building.
“They liked our integrated team and our newspaper experience,” Pusich said.
Pusich said very little demo work was required on the facility.
“In terms of basic bones, The Globe did a really good job of selecting a facility that was a good fit for a newspaper,” he said.
The Globe will be able to use most of the existing office space and the cafeteria with no modifications. One kitchen area has been modified and redesigned to serve as locker rooms.
“If you were to start with a blank piece of paper, this was a great fit,” Pusich said.
The existing warehouse did require the removal of columns to accommodate presses and the addition of slabs to ensure they could handle the press loads.
“There weren’t many surprises and it was largely what you’d expect turning a distribution center into a newspaper production facility,” Pusich said
The Globe and Austin Co. opted for air rotation units in the facility for air handling in the plant.
“We couldn’t hang ductwork because we had to use what capacity we had for conveyor and ink piping loads,” Pusich said. “Air rotation allowed us to put units on each side of the building. They blow to the center of the building, and that was the ideal solution for this facility.”
Plumbing, electrical, and mechanical work to support the press installation has been extensive. Austin partnered with Tech- notrans for the ink pumps and piping, and Pressline to accommodate plumbing associated with the reconditioned presslines.
“The press concept was really well developed — Pressline did a good job of taking the product mix and configuring Urbanite presses to handle that full range of products in a very efficient way,” Pusich said. “It gives The Globe a tremendous amount of flexibility.”
Pusich applauds the time The Globe has devoted to the move, associated installations, and go-live.
“They’ve done an excellent job of putting the job together — the team and the schedule — they’re not rushing it and they’ve left a good amount of time for commissioning the presses, training and bringing the presses online in a phased manner.”
Masotta attributes the success of the project to Globe owner John Henry’s commitment to the paper.
“It’s a big investment by John Henry,” Masotta said. “And there is no one else that’s really doing that kind of investing in newspapers — it’s a huge gesture.”
The exterior of The Globe’s new 328,000 square foot production facility in Taunton. The publisher hopes to take production of all internal and commercially produced products live by February 2017.
Pressline is handling the press installation at the new facility and through its FlexPress infrastructure is retro tting 140 Goss Urbanite units.