Tulsa World em­barks on $2M press up­grade

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The Tulsa World con­tin­ues to in­vest in tech­nol­ogy to im­prove qual­ity not only for its flag­ship daily, but to bol­ster its claim as a com­pet­i­tive re­gional printer. To that end, the pub­lisher has em­barked on a multi-phase pro­ject to in­crease ef­fi­ciency and re­dun­dancy to meet com­mer­cial de­mand.

The World, which was ac­quired by Berk­shire Hath­away in 2013, part­nered with ABB for the bulk of the pro­ject. Late last year the World, in part­ner­ship with ABB and Joel Bir­ket, beefed up re­dun­dancy to meet com­mer­cial cus­tomer de­mand with the ad­di­tion of two Goss Metro­liner fold­ers to the pub­lisher’s ex­ist­ing Wifag OF370 pressline. ABB pro­vided the mo­tors and drives for the new fold­ers and in­te­grated them with the World’s ex­ist­ing press con­trol sys­tem.

“That up­grade was geared to our dis­as­ter re­cov­ery plan be­cause we had sin­gle fold­ers on each press,” said Sam Hightower, vice pres­i­dent of op­er­a­tions for BH Media Pub­lish­ing So­lu­tions. “That was OK when we were only print­ing the World, but now that we have The Wall Street Jour­nal, USA Today and The Ok­la­homan (Ok­la­homa City), we need two presses each night to get pro­duc­tion out.”

Four-phase pro­ject

The World has be­gun the first phase of a four-part, $2 mil­lion pro­ject with ABB to re­place all ob­so­lete elec­tri­cal com­po­nents of the Wifag presses, orig­i­nally in­stalled in 1999 and 2000. The en­tire pro­ject is slated to be com­plete in 2020. The first phase of the pro­ject in­cludes the step-by-step mo­du­lar retrofitting of

new press drives, pro­duc­tion man­age­ment sys­tems and parts of the con­trol sys­tems on one of the two ex­ist­ing Wifag presslines.

“We de­cided to do this in $500,000 in­cre­ments, and break­ing it into four phases will al­low us to up­grade one press at a time and then use the spare parts so the other press doesn’t have to go down while they’re working on it,” Hightower said.

ABB will up­grade the World’s press man­age­ment sys­tem to its MPS Pro­duc­tion run­ning in a clus­ter con­fig­u­ra­tion. It will also re­fur­bish two ob­so­lete ver­sions of the MPS Con­trol Con­sole and up­grade ob­so­lete Wifag po­si­tion­ing sys­tems on one print­ing tower with ABB’s APOS sys­tem. Press drives will be re­placed with ABB’s ACSM 1 sys­tems, the ven­dor said.

Phase two will in­clude the re­place­ment of po­si­tion­ing and drives sys­tems on one folder, and the com­plete retro­fit of two reel­stands. The third phase will en­tail sim­i­lar retrofits on two print­ing tow­ers and three reel­stands. The fi­nal phase will cover two ad­di­tional tow­ers and two reel­stands.

“Be­sides ad­dress­ing the dif­fi­culty of find­ing com­po­nents for these ob­so­lete con­trols, we are also look­ing for­ward to re­duc­ing startup waste for the World,” Hightower said.

Ink roller up­grades

Hightower said the World is also in the midst of an­other $250,000 pro­ject to up­grade all ink trans­fer, form rollers, and groove rollers across its presses.

“The rollers on these presses are the orig­i­nal rollers and once we brought in the pro­duc­tion of The Ok­la­homan and started run­ning the presses faster, we no­ticed we were los­ing qual­ity at higher speeds,” Hightower said.

The ink roller re­place­ment pro­ject is slated for com­ple­tion in the fall.

“We plan to be a re­gional printer for a long time, and we want to pro­vide the qual­ity and re­dun­dancy our cus­tomers de­mand to pro­duce their prod­ucts for years to come,” Hightower said.

▶ by Tara McMeekin Con­tribut­ing Writer The press­room at the Tulsa World has seen ma­jor im­prove­ments re­cently.

Richard West, press­room man­ager at the Tulsa World, with a Goss folder in­stalled to be used as a backup folder.

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