The capital improvement upgrade includes the state-of-the-art ECRM Mako News CtP unit, better known as computer-to-plate. The nearly $70,000 investment also includes an accompanying Glunz & Jenson Raptor Plus 68 plate processor.
“This technology is much more efficient and provides a higher rate of registration accuracy on the press,” says Publisher Jack McNeely. “This investment is yet another commitment to our readership family and business partners.”
Southern Lithoplate of Youngsville, N.C., installed the high-tech pre-press unit earlier this month.
This new technology uses a violet laser to burn images sent from a computer directly onto a special plate, which is then immediately ready for the press.
“It eliminates the previous stage that required images to be transferred to film first, then burned onto a plate and processed,” explains Michael Keeton, longtime DME production manager and a Carbon Hill native.
According to McNeely, the system will pay for itself within three years since there is no longer a need for film in the production process.
Furthermore, today’s conversion to a narrower web width bolsters the newspaper’s footing within the regional commercial print market.
“It made sense to convert to the industry standard web width after investing in this new equipment,” McNeely said. “We can now market our production capabilities to area newspapers that may be looking to save money.”
The web reduction from 25-inch to 22-inch means that a single page in the newspaper is now 1.5 inches narrower. The print size and font type remains the same. The Standard Advertising Unit, or SAU, converted to the 22-inch web more than five years ago, McNeely notes.
Most newspapers in Alabama and throughout the country are printed on 22-inch newsprint. Regionally, that includes daily newspapers in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Cullman, Decatur and Florence. And most small weeklies reliant on commercial printers feature the narrow web width.
“While I expect there to be some mixed emotions from our customers, I ask them to understand that converting to the narrow web width strengthens our business. In turn, it ensures that we deliver quality local news and advertising for years to come,” McNeely says.