Printing a daily newspaper and the largest Sunday newspaper in the Northwest involves a lot of newsprint, sophisticated equipment and a carefully managed process.
The first step in the paper making process is the arrival of newsprint from one of five different paper mills. The newsprint arrives by tractor-trailer; each load has approximately 23 rolls on board weighing an average of 2,700 pounds each. Each newsprint roll is unloaded individually with the use of a large forklift with special, rounded clamps. After the newsprint rolls are unloaded, they are stacked in the warehouse if not needed for immediate use. The warehouse can hold up to 2,900 rolls of newsprint.
Each roll is scanned with a bar code reader to allow us to track inventory and the location of the roll. AGVs (automated guided vehicles) then move the rolls to the "laydown" area, a short-term storage location. When needed, a press operator orders a roll of newsprint to be brought to the press. The AGV system then brings the proper size and type of roll to any one of ten stations on each of the four presses. At each of these stations at the base of each press is a reel tension paster assembly (RTP) that holds three newsprint rolls and allows the press to change rolls without stopping.
Our headquarters in downtown Seattle transmits a digital description of a page to the North Creek plant in Bothell using high capacity data lines. An operator visually inspects the digital page for omissions of copy, proper datelines and page folios. Meanwhile, the information about the images on each page is sent to the press to provide proper ink settings. Once the digital page is reviewed on a digital page viewer, the page is released to a Computer to Plate device (CTP). Four color separations are required for each full-color page: cyan (blue), magenta (purple-red), yellow, and black. The image is transferred via laser to an aluminum plate, which is notched and precisely bent at the ends to facilitate attaching to the press.
Our four Goss Colorliner presses are state-of-the-art in newspaper technology. Each press is capable of printing 75,000 papers per hour and can print up to a 160-page product. The stacked-unit design of the Goss Colorliner allows for the placing of color in many different locations in the newspaper. The presses are controlled at the master control stations in the glass-enclosed quiet rooms. The master control is the central link to each of the individual control points on the press. Virtually all quality control work - ink and water flow, paper counting, press speed and color registration can be accomplished from here.
Each day, we use approximately 350 gallons of color and black ink. Ink weighs 8.1 pounds per gallon, which equates to 2,835 pounds per day. Tanks of 2,000-gallon capacity each hold the blue, red and yellow inks for color printing. We also recycle ink to reduce waste. Ink flow is controlled by computer and pumped to the presses through miles of pipe.