SPH upgrading presses to deliver better papers (ST)

BackApr 14, 2010

SINGAPORE Press Holdings (SPH) has unveiled a $45 million plan to upgrade its printing presses at its plant in Jurong.

The project, launched yesterday at the SPH Print Centre by SPH chairman Tony Tan, involves hardware and software enhancements to boost print production.

The move includes replacing press control systems, upgrading the colour capacity of its Goss Colorliner printing presses and converting a film-based plate-making system to a digitised computer-to- plate system.

Dr Tan said the project, when completed in the second half of next year, will take the firm's print facilities to 'a new level of excellence, enabling SPH to deliver more value to readers and more choices for advertisers'.

'While we continue to venture into other arenas, our core business is in print, and our newspapers and magazines still bring in the bulk of our revenue and profits,' said Dr Tan.

'This is why we have been, and will continue, improving our print products and facilities.'

The Goss Colorliner presses were installed in 1996. By replacing the control systems, the presses are expected to run for another 15 years. The colour capacity upgrades also mean they will be able to handle more back-to-back colour pages. For example, colour printing on broadsheets will increase from 24 to 40 pages in a single run. For tabloid-sized newspapers, the increase will be from 48 to 80.

Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao, The Business Times and The New Paper will be among SPH's stable of 17 newspaper titles to benefit from the upgrading exercise.

The improvement will allow the three papers to enjoy full colour support to meet advertising and editorial demands.

Rejuvenating the printing assets will cost the media group $45 million, with payments spread over 21/2 years.

SPH executive vice-president of production Anthony Cheng, said the technology upgrades would also bring about significant productivity gains.

The computer-to-plate system was introduced as a pilot project in 2008 at SPH Media Centre and was successful. SPH Print Centre will now undergo conversion from its film-based plate-making system to the digitised system.

Including the printing presses at SPH Media Centre in Genting Lane, the group now has a total of nine presslines, with 84 printing units. SPH has the biggest printing site in South-east Asia.