Gannett orders ABB retrofits for two key US print sites

Gannett has placed major orders with ABB for press control retrofits and upgrades at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and North Jersey Media in Rockaway, New Jersey.

The order for the Milwaukee site, which prints on a KBA Commander press, will see the original KT94 and MR93 control systems on three of the printing towers replaced with ABB’s AC500 PLC. ABB will be using its adapter solution for this upgrade – the new control systems are mounted on footprint-compatible adapters that mean that the new systems occupy exactly the same space and have exactly the same connections as the original systems. This allows the retention of the original wiring and greatly simplifies the installation process.

Going for the modular controls retrofit on three towers means that the Journal Sentinel can free up the old KT94 and MR93 units to act as spare parts for the remaining towers. As a result, the company can ensure the long-term availability of its press at minimum cost.

The Journal Sentinel will also be upgrading its ABB MPS Control Consoles to the latest state-of-the-art version based on ABB’s Compact Product Suite HMI. At the same time their MPS Production press management system will be upgraded to Release 6. The commissioning of the systems in Milwaukee will begin around the middle of 2019.

The print center of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The print center of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The second order is for the North Jersey Media print site at Rockaway, New Jersey, where Gannett’s The Record and many other newspapers are printed on WIFAG evolution 371 and Mitsubishi Lithopia presses. ABB will be replacing the entire press control system on the Wifag press including those units on the printing towers, folder and reelstands. The original “Platform Plus” controls from Wifag will also be replaced. The new solutions are based again on the industry-standard AC500 PLC.

The commissioning of the new controls will be arranged such the press will be available for production every night. The commissioning will begin in spring 2019.

In addition, ABB will be upgrading the control consoles on both the Wifag and Mitsubishi presses.

The press at the North Jersey Media print site at Rockaway, New Jersey
The press at the North Jersey Media print site at Rockaway, New Jersey

Both the Milwaukee and Rockaway sites print a large number of third-party products. Ensuring the production security for the printing of these newspapers is one of the main motivations for the two orders.

John King, Gannett’s North Jersey Media general manager, explains “We print a large amount of internal work as well as commercial work and it is essential that we can guarantee our customers on-time delivery of their products. To do this, we need reliable systems on our presses as well as a good supply of spare parts from a sustainable company like ABB. This project with ABB will give us just that, and therefore also a lot of peace-of-mind!”

Gary Hall, regional director at The Milwaukee Journal says, “the excellent long-term support we have had from ABB in the past was a major contribution to our decision to plan the next decades of our production with their systems.”

Jeff Gelfand, ABB Printing’s Head of Sales for the North American market, adds “having the manufacturing of the automation hardware under its control puts ABB in a strong position to offer long-term guarantees against obsolescence for the control systems it delivers.”

ABB is a leading automation supplier to the newspaper industry. ABB Printing delivers solutions that provide unique and totally integrated end-to-end control, protect existing investments and provide management information essential to improving profitability.

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a pioneering technology leader in power grids, electrification products, industrial automation and robotics and motion, serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure globally. Continuing a history of innovation spanning more than 130 years, ABB today is writing the future of industrial digitalization with two clear value propositions: bringing electricity from any power plant to any plug and automating industries from natural resources to finished products. As title partner in ABB Formula E, the fully electric international FIA motorsport class, ABB is pushing the boundaries of e-mobility to contribute to a sustainable future. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 147,000 employees.


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