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IVE opens new super automated $50m Franklin Web NSW heatset site

Wednesday, 14 November 2018
By Wayne Robinson

Super automated: new $50m Franklin Web NSW site

Diversified marketing services group IVE has officially opened its new $50m Franklin Web NSW print centre, wowing guests at the opening event with its unprecedented levels of automation.

The 15,000sqm Franklin Web site operates 24 hours a day seven days a week, and is capable of producing four million pages an hour, all with  just ten staff on site at any one time, with 34 overall on the payroll. Human touch on the print is virtually nothing.

16 metres a second: manroland Lithoman 80pp presses

It has two huge manroland Lithoman 80pp presses, each running a 2.06m wide web, pumping out work at 16 metres a second, and which have just one printer for each press per shift, and another one floating between the two presses. The Lithomans run non-stop 24 hours a day.

The Kodak plateroom is virtually lights out, producing 280,000sqm of plates a year, with all prepress handled at Franklin’s Victoria site, which also takes care of production planning and scheduling.

Gammeler postpress is highly automated, with robots loading pallets, and Rima log stackers for preparing the print for the bindery. Postpress has been designed so that if one line fails the presses will both feed into the other. The bindery has a Muller Martini Corona 15,000 an hour perfect binder and two Muller Martini Primera 25,000 an hour saddle stitchers. IVE also has another similar perfect binding line at its Webstar business in nearby Silverwater.

Bindery power: Matt Aitken, chief operating officer IVE Group (r) with Print21 editor Wayne Robinson on the opening event tour

The paper store is about to get AGVs to take the rolls onto the presses. The new site will print around 5000 tonnes of print each month. Each roll of paper, which has around 22 kilometers of paper on the reel, takes just 23 minutes to print. All paper is PEFC certified, and comes from Tasmania, Scandinavia, Germany and North America. The site holds seven to eight weeks worth of stock, around 10,000 tonnes of paper.

Person in charge of the site is general manager Richard Clark, who came from AIW – which his father Peter Clark founded in 2002 – in Melbourne, and which IVE bought along with Franklin Web, for $120m. Phil Taylor, former owner of Franklin Web, is now stepping back from the business.

Opening the site IVE executive chairman Geoff Selig paid tribute to the staff for getting the plant up and running on time, and said that the catalogue business was ‘going gangbusters’ with volumes up by 2.6 per cent in the last 12 months.

Selig said, “The investment in catalogue production came after an extensive review of the business, which resulted in three major actions. First we bought Franklin and AIW, for $120m, then we retired aged plant and equipment, and finally we invested a further $50m in the new NSW Franklin site to provide our customers, especially those in NSW and Queensland, with production power and assurance of that production.”

Dennis Wickham, managing director of press supplier manroland Australasia says, “This project has produced a world class print centre. It has been a real two way partnership between IVE and manroland, who have worked closely together to achieve the desired goal. I am proud to have played a part, and to see the manroland Lithomans running non-stop is a great outcome.” Almost all heatset presses installed in Australia in the last decade have been from German manufacturer manroland.

Web management: (l-r) Steve Maidens, general manager, Blue Star Web; Richard Clark, general manager, Franklin Web NSW; Darryl Meyer, group general manager, Web Offset – Blue Star Web and Franklin Web; and Brad Hoffmann, general manager, Franklin Web VIC

There is a third heatset press on site, a 16pp Heidleberg Sunday press that came from AIW and will be used as instant back up or overflow  should it be required. IVE has 18 heatset presses within the three sites of Franklin NSW, Franklin Victoria and Blue Star Web, including another two identical 80pp manroland Lithomans at the Franklin Sunshine site in Melbourne

All plates are recycled, and 100 per cent of paper waste is baled and sent for recyling in Albury, where it is recreated into paper for Fairfax and News papers.

With its Franklin Web and Blue Star Web business IVE has around 50 per cent of the heatset market in Australia, and it has around 20 per cent of the sheetfed business through its Blue Star Group. The company launched on the ASX in December 2016.

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