Pictured: Bennett Coleman & Co executive committee chairman Sivakumar Sundaram (centre with QIPC-EAE group chairman Menno Jansen) and (from left) Times of India capex manager Piyush Bhagwatkar; Deepak Nargis (managing director of Krause, QIPC-EAE’s agent for India); QIPC-EAE India managing director Rakesh Dave; and Times of India’s business & commercial director Shyam Shanker, technical director Snehasis Roy, and assistant vice president for production capex & IT Sankalp Shrivastava
AS THE WORLD’S LARGEST English-language newspaper, everything about the Times of India comes with scale… including the potential for savings.
That equation has contributed to a growing relationship with Q.I. Press Controls (QIPC) and EAE, making them the technology partner of choice for a succession of important update projects.
And against the context of higher newsprint and materials costs, and pressure on advertising and reader attention, quality and efficiency have become even more important.
Thus a series of retrofit orders – achieved against intense competition – is important for the way in which each has added both stability and efficiencies through new levels of technology, notably QIPC’s ground-breaking colour automation.
Technical director Snehasis Roy says the benefits are twofold: “Primarily, we’re upgrading obsolete electronics hardware to open source, off-the-shelf, systems with new software.
“But a secondary benefit is the ability at the same time to update the QIPC register control system enabling closed-loop colour control – not simply a density control system, but CIE-Lab-based “in image” (no additional density measurement marks) optical colour control – with the addition of the IDS-3D system.”
Snehasis Roy is responsible for production at the 14 printing plants owned by publisher Bennett, Coleman & Co – which handle 90 per cent of production, mostly on double-width presses – as well as 26 contractor sites.
That’s a substantial challenge, but one for which he is well-qualified, with experience ranging from Time magazine and printing newspapers on the Queen Elizabeth 2 ocean liner, as well as leadership roles at ABP, where he was associate vice president for manufacturing… plus four years at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York.
A recent succession of projects started with a 2017 order to update systems on a five-tower manroland Geoman in Delhi, introducing QIPC’s IDS-3D system while replacing existing proprietary press control components with off-the-shelf ones. QIPC was able to make use of the existing cameras to introduce IDS-3D and dampening control as part of the larger project. This included the replacement of the proprietary PECOM with EAE Press controls, with two new EAE Desk7 consoles also integrating the Q.I. Press Controls systems.
The project used “off-the-shelf” Siemens components including safety PLCs, following a pattern pioneered when EAE had replaced PECOM controls at other sites. After successfully completing the project in Delhi, QIPC-EAE was rewarded in 2019 with another order in Bangalore, covering the eight-tower Regioman. This project too went smoothly, with the conversion was relayed so that the press could produce every night, a requirement of Times of India. After proving that the conversions resulted in significant savings, it was decided to give the order for Kandivali 1 and Sahibabad 1 – two eight-tower Colorman presses – in 2021. The savings were not only visible in paper and ink savings but also in things like maintenance and spare parts. Soon after Kandivali 1 and Sahibabad 1 the orders for Kandivali 2 and Sahibabad 2 followed in 2022, bringing the total number of towers upgraded to 45.
“This had been a major factor in this order and was a great way for us to show the savings which could be achieved by the use of standard components,” said QIPC-EAE chairman Menno Jansen. “In the end however, after a very competitive process, it was the return on investment from our IDS-3D – together with local support from QIPC-EAE, and agent Raj Nargis and his son Deepak at agent Krause Biagosch India – that swung the deal.”
So it was that this massive order saw QIPC-EAE return to two Times of India print sites in 2023, to replace more proprietary controls at the press manufacturer’s largest customer.
To complete everything, QIPC-EAE received two further orders from Times of India in March 2023, this time for a six-tower Colorman in Airoli and a four-tower Regioman in Kolkata, which puts the total of print towers upgraded to a stunning 55
As India emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been the additional challenge of higher newsprint prices, making production efficiency even more important. “We have so far recovered 75-80 per cent of the pre-COVID circulation numbers,” says Snehasis Roy. “The impact of higher newsprint is slowing down the recovery, and consolidation will be the way to go in some peripheral markets.”
Meanwhile the success of the first projects shines a light for the future at Bennett, Coleman & Co’s 14 plants across India, which currently deliver 90 per cent of production, mostly on double-width presses.
HT Media vice president for supply chain print excellence & technology B.S. Shesh with Menno Jansen
IMPETUS FROM the Times of India project was also a strong factor in the choice of QIPC/EAE to upgrade three presses at Hindustan Times publisher HT Media in Delhi, India. Again issues arising from parts obsolescent drove the need to upgrade three manroland Colorman lines, and HT Media opted for new two-console EAE control systems, reel stand control upgrades and state of art pre IDS 3D automatic register control..
THE PROJECTS at both companies demonstrate a formula in which Q.I. Press Controls and EAE are proud to be partners… and elsewhere around the world
The partnership of QIPC and EAE has significant experience of large retrofit projects, including a 2017 contract with Austrian newspaper printing company Mediaprint Group for what was to become their biggest single order.
Printer of national dailies Kronen Zeitung and Kurier as well as contract daily Der Standard and other high-volume work, Mediaprint has13 newspaper presses at its three print centres, at Vienna-Inzersdorf, St. Andrä (Carinthia) and Salzburg. All are equipped with virtually identical three-tower KBA Commander presses. Mediaprint chose QIPC to equip seven of the Vienna presses, all three in St. Andrä and both presses in Salzburg with its IDS-3D colour and register control and IQM quality management systems.
The colossal order followed a pilot two years earlier, which involved installing IDS-3D on one of the eight Vienna presses.
Maintenance and central administration manager Erich Manhardt says the aim of achieving significant cost savings – through reduced personnel and paper wastage – was confirmed “without a shadow of a doubt”.
“We also discovered that, thanks to the automated QIPC systems, we could achieve a much higher quality standard and above all maintain it reliably.”
Manhardt said at the time that, apart from price, innovativeness and sustainability were key criteria: “We had the greatest confidence in QIPC-EAE in this respect, not least because in our opinion they lead the field in the area of integrated dampening control.”
EAE Desk7 press control consoles – with integrated QIPC colour – were supplied as part of the major retrofit across Mediaprint’s three print centres. Working through KBA as general contractor, EAE replaced existing ABB control technology in the 39 towers of 13 presses.
One side benefit was to drastically reduce the number of control computers and bus systems in each tower. The project also addressed the problem of control components being discontinued by manufacturers, helping to give the presses a further ten-to-15 years’ useful life.
Apart from price, Manhardt said a factor in the choice was the “continuous, forward-looking innovation” clearly visible in all of EAE’s solutions. “That’s precisely what we need.”
ANOTHER PROJECT in Austria involving a KBA press was at OÖN Druckzentrum – short for Oberösterreichische Nachrichten – where the complete overhaul of a 2003 Commander at their Linz site included QIPC and EAE technologies.
Managing director Ronald Sonnleitner said apart from increasingly-difficult spare parts supply issues, the company wanted greater press automation in order to reduce operational costs.
Working with Koenig & Bauer on the mechanical and electronic upgrade, QIPC-EAE installed mRC-3D and IDS-3D colour and register control, retrofitting press controls for two folders, four towers and four splicers, adding EAE Print7 to take planning and presetting “to the next level”.
With experience of EAE since 1996, Sonnleitner said he knew hassle-free implementation and functionality was a certainty, and post-installation support had always been satisfactory.
“We trust QIPC-EAE… and we reckon to make savings on staff and paper.”
DDV Dresden managing director Volker Klaes with Menno Jansen
AT DDV DRUCK in Dresden, Germany – part of the DDV Media Group – it was a ten-tower manroland Geoman from 1998 that was equipped by QIPC-EAE with a comprehensive quality assurance service package and a full EAE control system retrofit in 2018/19.
In 2021 an opportunity arose for DDV Druck to acquire two 32-page WIFAG Evo473/4 nine-cylinder satellite presses from Bielefeld. This was followed by the decision to replace three Geoman sections with the two WIFAG presses.
With the retrofit project QIPC-EAE completed in 2019 and the expansion of the quality assurance systems on the manroland Geoman with ink density and dampening solution control, DDV Druck can produce more efficiently, achieve a more stable print quality and significantly reduce waste. DDV Druck did not want to miss these advantages in the future and they were to be transferred to the WIFAG presses. Together with QIPC-EAE, a concept was developed to transfer as many modules and systems as possible from the modernised Geoman to the WIFAG presses.
The EAE control hardware, including the control consoles, could be taken over, and was equipped with the corresponding software by EAE. The quality assurance systems from QIPC for ink density and dampening solution control as well as cut-off and colour register control were also taken over, and the new WIFAG presses were integrated into the existing EAE Print system. These measures enabled DDV Druck to secure its investments made in Geoman presses in 2018 and transfer them to WIFAG presses.
The printing centre in Dresden produces a wide range of regional newspapers, including the Sächsische Zeitung, the tabloid Dresdner Morgenpost and more recently the Dresdner Neuesten Nachrichten, as well as advertising journals, supplements and third-party products.
In locations such as these, QIPC/EAE has become the sure partner, delivering reliability, consistency and improved quality and productivity for its partners.