The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina, is ramping up for a major controls system upgrade. The publisher in August signed a deal with DCOS Automation to replace existing press registration system on its two Goss Metroliner double-width presses. 

The project, set to kick off at the end of the year, will span 108 Goss digital page packs and include ink presets and a new closedloop color registration and ink density system. 

“We will be the first to install this system on double-width press in the United States,” Senior Pressroom Manager Sidney Stover told News & Tech.

The publisher prints over 32,000 copies of the flagship daily and 39,000 on Sunday, as well as a stable of commercial jobs, including monthly, bi

monthly and weekly publications.

“We currently split things up between the two presses, which are housed in separate rooms in the building, but mirror one another from a production perspective,” Stover said. 

Each of the Metro presses features 10 units and a double-out folder. 

The Post and Courier began looking at new technologies at the Metro Production Confertechnologies at the Metro Production Confertechnologies at the Metro Production Confer ence in 2018, an industry conference Stover said he finds very valuable. But the publisher began more earnestly seeking a replacement after its existing system, installed in 2006, failed at the end of 2019. That failure left the press crew without ink presetting capabilities for two weeks. 

Instead of it taking 20 seconds for makeready and preset values for page packs, we were looking at 30-40 minutes to manually preset values on those,” Stover recalled. 

Although the IT department was able to restore the system after two weeks, Stover said it quickly became apparent that it would be a matter of time before it would fail irreparably. 

Automation

The Pulitzer-winning Post and Courier holds itself to a high standard of quality for its own readers as well as its commercial customers. To that end, the publisher is looking forward to increased efficiencies in productivity, reduced consumables, reduced waste and faster start-up times. 

The camera-based DCOS system will completely automate a majority of ink presetting and quality control adjustments on the press.

“Not only does it give us ink presets but the camera reads and adjusts ink densities and also ensures accurate registration,” Stover said.

Once underway, the install is slated to take three weeks, including bringing up the mix of software and hardware programs that make up the system. 

“Overall, we’re excited about the increased consistency, reliability and support we’ll be getting,” Stover said. “And I’m excited to have new hardware and software that is non-proprietary and available off the shelf.” 

For DCOS’s part the vendor is happy to be able to demonstrate its capabilities to U.S. publishers to help them deliver increased print quality with lower waste. 

“While the more traditional ‘old-school Goss Metro’ base is shrinking somewhat over the last few years, there are still quite a few out there than can benefit from our upgrade,” said Ron Ehrhardt, DCOS North American sales director.