WAKE FOREST, N.C. – Meeting the needs of newspaper readers and advertisers in a major media market the size of Minneapolis-St. Paul is a massive undertaking. For the better part of 2014, the award-winning Star Tribune, based in Minneapolis and Minnesota’s largest daily newspaper, also printed the St. Paul Pioneer Press, its rival and the state’s oldest daily, under a five-year agreement announced in 2013.
This significant expansion of the Star Tribune’s commercial business has boosted the number of pages that flow through the pressroom by about one-half. To help maintain the schedules and quality of both daily print editions, the company keeps its presses well stocked with Southern Lithoplate Replica HSV® violet photopolymer digital plates.
“I cannot overemphasize the value of quality control,” said Kevin Desmond, senior vice president of operations. “Southern Lithoplate delivers a high-quality plate. There is no batch-to-batch or plate-to-plate variance. We count on every plate being a perfect plate. Perfection is not an achievable goal, of course, but Southern Lithoplate products get us close.”
Judges in one of the newspaper industry’s most prestigious print quality contests have recognized the work of the Star Tribune produced with Replica plates. In the 2014 Print Quality Competition sponsored by Southern Lithoplate and Inland Press Association, the Star Tribune took home a first place award for color printing in its circulation category (over 100,000 circulation).
“We have weekly press runs that require our plates to last more than 200,000 impressions,” Desmond pointed out. “The Replica plate consistently achieves the number of impressions we need.”
The Star Tribune printing facility boasts ample capacity to publish both newspapers. The pressroom is equipped with five Goss Headliner offset presses. The prepress department made the transition from film-based analog plate production to computer-to-plate technology in 2008.
Speed was a key factor in the decision to adopt violet CTP.
“Prepress production speed ramps up in the last hour before a press run at night,” Desmond said. “When the news and sports desks are trying to squeeze in late-breaking stories and scores, speed matters most to hit the production commitments and deadlines.”
Desmond also has been impressed with Southern Lithoplate’s service approach.
“The company is extremely straightforward in dealing with the Star Tribune,” he noted. “We have a direct relationship with our sales executive and with Southern Lithoplate management. We have frank conversations about the big picture.
“In terms of consumables and equipment, Southern Lithoplate supports us in using our plates, chemistry and processors at the highest level of efficiency. We use the metaphor that the trains have to run on time. Southern Lithoplate’s trains run on time. We have never experienced any inventory emergencies involving printing plates or chemistry, and that is the way we want things to stay. I consider this to be a win-win relationship.”
Southern Lithoplate (www.slp.com) is a leading provider of digital plate solutions and associated products for the newspaper and high-quality commercial sheetfed printing markets. Southern Lithoplate’s service infrastructure is designed to support customer productivity and profitability from prepress through the pressroom and beyond. Equipment manufacturers have confidence in Southern Lithoplate’s ability to service customers’ prepress and pressroom technology, including computer-to-plate recorders and processors.
Southern Lithoplate is committed to working closely with customers to improve printing techniques and quality, such as participation in the Specifications for Newsprint Advertising Production (SNAP) Certificate Program. Southern Lithoplate also is helping customer partners print to G7-based specifications through its G7 Quality Program. State-of-the-art manufacturing facilities located in North Carolina and Michigan exceed the needs of Southern Lithoplate’s customer markets. The company is headquartered in Wake Forest, N.C., near the world-renowned Research Triangle Park.
Southern Lithoplate, Inc.
(800) 638-7990 ext. 2240
Fax: (919) 556-1977