Mathrubhumi – a comprehensive modernization

New Atex editorial, TKS 4 x 1 presses and Ferag mailroom systems

L-R: Manu Mathew, assistant – engineering electronics and Rajeev PV, manager – production and maintenance with the TKS press. Photo IPP

Mathrubhumi, one of the front-runners among Malayalam dailies with a daily circulation of 1.5 million copies has already installed three TKS 4 x 1 (double-width single circumference) presslines while it is planning to install the fourth TKS 4 x 1 line in Kozhikode in the coming year. While the first installation was just outside Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala, the other two are at Kochi (Ernakulam) and Kannur.

Alongside each of the TKS 4 x1 presses, Mathrubhumi has installed Ferag mailrooms with high speed drum inserters. With altogether ten Ferag mailrooms each with a drum inserter ordered, Mathrubhumi has already installed nine Ferag mailrooms alongside the three TKS presses with high speed drum inserters. Alongside its Manugraph Hiline and Cityline 2 x 1 presses it has installed six Ferag mailroom systems with drum inserters running at 35,000 copies an hour. The tenth Ferag mailroom with high speed drum inserter will be installed alongside the TKS 4 x 1 press yet to be installed in Kozhikode.

Together with its investments in the Atex editorial system equipped with workflow for multichannel publishing, the 92-yearold publication group has been the most aggressive modernizer in the competitive Malayalam daily newspaper market. While the most recent TKS 4 x1 press installation was at Kannur in January 2015, we visited the new Kochi-Ernakulum 3-storey plant spread across approximately 88,000 square feet (or 201.4 cents) which is host to the second TKS installation of the group.

Rajeev PV, manager – production and maintenance at Mathrubhumi, says, “With the increase in circulation at Kochi, we had to update the unit with the new TKS press and Ferag mailroom systems. Previously, our Newsline 45 and Hiline tower presses produced 24 broadsheet pages of broadsheet with limited color pages and space. With the TKS 5000UDI shaftless tower type 4 x 1 pressline we can produce 16 to 40 broadsheet pages with a combination of color and black and white pages at a maximum speed of 75,000 copies an hour.” The 4 x 1 press with three full towers and a half-tower and a web width of 1,400 mm and cut-off of 546 mm is installed on the ground floor, while the 2:3:3 jaw folder and the mailroom system are mounted on the first floor.

After its positive experience with the TKS 4 x 1 presses at Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kannur, Mathrubhumi is enthusiastic about the flexibility of its modern press installations. Rajeev says, “Each tower can load a double-width reel and can print eight pages. The midtower (half-tower) can be fed with one or two double-width reels for single or double color printing.” 

“We can have 24 broadsheet pages in full color from the three 4-Hi towers and another 16 pages in black and white. There is a great deal of flexibility which we need for occasions like the Onam festival when we print 24 pages in full color and 16 pages in black and white in a single section, explains Rajeev.

In a news daily, on-time delivery is the main priority and the shaftless new pressline and mailroom systems are able to cope with breakdowns or extra pagination. There have been cases where either the first or the third unit had a breakdown says Rajeev. “At such times, we print eight pages in full color with the help of one tower while the half-tower was used to print 16 black and white color pages, thus providing a 24-page news daily.” The Ferag drum inserters allow for even more pagination or magazine type supplements that can be printed in the day time and inserted simultaneously with the outer sections at night.

During the makeready process on the TKS, around 1,200 copies are wasted accounting for less than 1% wastage compared to the earlier 2 x 1 presses that accounted for nearly 5% wastage. Six editions of Mathrubhumi are printed and supplied to cover the entire Ernakulum district. Synchronization of press speeds and ink settings as well as fewer web breaks with the help of web guiding systems has reduced wastage while enhancing the quality of both editorial and advertising color reproduction.

Tie-up with The Times of India 

Mathrubhumi has entered into a strategic tie-up with Bennett-Coleman, which is slowly but steadily penetrating the highly literate Kerala market with its national English language daily The Times of India. As a part of the tie-up, Mathrubhumi provides its printing facilities and distribution network to The Times of India. In order to provide its readers on-time delivery, TOI editions will be printed from the printing facilities of Mathrubhumi in Kerala. The production area of Mathrubhumi’s Kochi plant will also be used for the production of The Economic Times, TOI and Cochin Times to meet the growing demand for newspapers in Ernakulum district. Rajeev says, “As part of our tie-up with TOI, we have a press, prepress and postpress set-up in the plant. These consist of Manugraph Hiline towers, CtPs from ECRM, plate puncher and Ferag mailroom solutions that are used for printing and bundling newspaper on newsprint supplied by them.”

Like Cochin Times, TOI will have three more editions such as Calicut, Thiruvananthapuram and Allepey Times along with TOI dailies that are printed at various plants across Kerala. TOI’s dailies printed at Thiruvananthapuram plant are distributed in the Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam region, while those printed at the Allapuzah plant are distributed in that region. TOI daily editions printed at the Kottayam plant are distributed in Kottayam, Thrissur and Palakkad, while the newspapers printed at the Kottakkal plant are distributed in Kozhikode, Malappuram and Kannur regions. Thus, TOI will have four editions in Kerala, catering to the four regions in the state — Malabar, Kochi, Travancore and Kottayam.

Atex editorial system 

Talking about the Atex editorial systems, Manu Mathew, assistant – engineering electronics, Mathrubhumi, says, “It is a content management software for advertising, editorial and web workflow and is used to efficiently manage different media, including digital and hard copy. It equips the user with efficient sharing of resources between departments involving journalists and editors to create, manage and deliver contents using an interface. Editors can access the editorial content quickly with access to all sources of information at any place and time. We have been provided with customized solutions by Atex. We are in touch with them to have more flexibility in the workflow.”

Ferag mailroom systems at Mathrubhumi 

Speaking about the two Ferag mailroom systems installed for TOI and Mathrubhumi at the Kochi plant, Rajeev says, “The Ferag mailroom performance has been outstanding both from the process and preservation perspective. The new mailroom makes it possible to have an online label printing and bundling with under wrapper and top sheet. It also has Ferag’s drum inserter which inserts supplements and advertising material automatically. The inserter can cope with high volume runs by operating in 2:1 mode for Mathrubhumi and 1:1 mode for TOI to handle the supplements.” 

“Normally, a single stacker is used for the stacking of a news daily as done for TOI’s press but due to the high speed of the TKS press we needed two stackers at the end of mailroom system. Manual intervention is required to take copies from the stacker on to the hopper from where the news dailies are taken to the drum inserter. The existing drum is equipped with four hoppers. Usually, three months are sufficient to install a Ferag mail order system in the production unit but due to the plant being under construction, it took us six months to install the system,” says Rajeev.

Mathrubhumi group publications and new media channels 

With editions in Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, New Delhi and Dubai in addition to ten local centres publishing in Kerala, Mathrubhumi meets the demands of Malayalees worldwide. Mathrubhumi Weekly is still nurturing generations of writers and is the foremost publisher of translations in Kerala and perhaps in any Indian state. The Mathrubhumi Onam Special is said to be the best of its kind in the genre. Grihalakshmi, Mathrubhumi, Thozhilvartha, Mathrubhumi, Sportsmasika, Balabhumi, Mathrubhumi, Arogyamasika, Mathrubhumi Yearbook, Mathrubhumi Yathra, Minnaminni, Chithrakadha and Mathrubhumi Star and Style reach a variety of audience demographics. The Mathrubhumi calendar, almanac and supplements on Mookambika, Sabrimala and Ramzan address other segmented markets.

Within a short span, Mathrubhumi has made an impact in the news segment, including the Malayalee diaspora. “Kappa, our speciality channel, has captivated the young at heart with an enticing mix of riotous music and humour. In today’s world of digital news, Mathrubhumi is making its content available for the readers through its ePaper, mobile apps and the television business,” confirms Rajeev.

QI Press Controls’ mRC-3D color register on fourth TKS 

The fourth TKS press at Mathrubhumi will come fitted with a QI Press Controls’ mRC-3D color register system. This is the first time that QI Press Controls has worked together with Mathrubhumi and TKS. 

According to Mathrubhumi, it opted for QI Press Controls because of its local support and service, a well-established relationship and the possibility of having the system upgraded in the future. The mRC3D brings about significant savings in waste and offers a fully flexible system. Mathrubhumi has expressed its interest in various optional extras, such as cut-off control, and at a later stage plans to invest in the IDS-3D color control. Vijay Pandya, managing director of QI Press Controls, is optimistic that the order will mark the beginning of a long-term partnership with TKS. He believes that when Krause Biagosch India continues its hard work, the three already existing TKS printing presses will also be equipped with QI Press Controls in the future. “Once again, the name of QI Press Controls has become associated with one of the leading printing companies in India. It gives us a great sense of pride,” concludes Pandya.


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