The Tulsa World continues to invest in technology to improve quality not only for its flagship daily, but to stake 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.

Sidebar/breakout box:

ABB releases MPS Production 6

ABB released version 6 of press management system MPS Production, and announced that Norwegian publisher Schibsted Media Group is the first to purchase the system. MPS Production 6 will be installed at Schibsted’s Bergen newspaper, Bergens Tidende.

New to version 6 is the transfer of the entire system to the PostgreSQL database. This upgrade enables virtualization of the system while retaining the functionality and advantages of the previous system, ABB said.

Virtualization means that the app can be moved to a new platform, freeing users from the challenges imposed by hardware and operating system lifecycles. An additional copy of MPS Production can be deployed in parallel with the original version and the new version can be tested on the target hardware. Once testing is complete, a simple switch can be made between the two versions, according to ABB. Virtualization essentially ensures that data can be stored redundantly, providing a more robust backup solution than a conventional cluster.

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