KBA won the contract following an intensive screening of all the newspaper technology on the market. The new press, which will have a maximum capacity of 2 x 60 full-colour broadsheet or 4 x 60 full-colour tabloid pages in straight production, will go live at the end of 2008 at a new printing plant near Charles de Gaulle airport. A single-width KBA Continent installed at the Figaro group's existing plant in 2002 is primarily used to print the International Herald Tribune and Paris-Turf.
The big Cortina installation will be fed by ten Pastomat RC reelstands engineered for a maximum reel diameter of 1,500mm. The ten four-high towers will incorporate ten double turner bars, two folder superstructures with four formers apiece and two KF 5 double jaw folders with section stitchers. Auxiliaries will include Patras A reel-handling, an ink pumping system and blanket and roller wash-ups, all fully automated. The high level of automation will extend throughout the press line, significantly reducing the labour input required for operation and maintenance.
KBA PlateTronic automatic plate changers, KBA RollerTronic automatically adjustable roller locks and KBA NipTronic remote-controlled bearing units are further examples of the Cortina's innovative technology.
The six-wide press will have a maximum rated output of 80,000 copies per hour, a 470mm cut-off on a 940mm cylinder circumference and a maximum web width of 1,890mm. It comes complete with KBA consoles featuring EAE's Print production scheduling and press presetting software. The Cortina 6/2 will have an hourly output of 160,000 full-colour copies, each with up to 60 broadsheet pages. Provision has been made for the addition of heatset dryers, reelstands, printing towers and ribbon stitchers at a later date. A third press line has been included in the building plans for the new printing plant.
Alongside the high-circulation Le Figaro and its associated supplements (Le Figaro Économie, Réussir and Le Figaro Littéraire), the Cortina 6/2 will be used to print a raft of weekly magazine titles including Carrières & Emplois, and Figaroscope.
Production manager André Menet says: "The new triple-wide version of this compact waterless press is a compelling concept. It unites the Cortina-specific benefits of ultra-short makereadies, easy handling, minimum start-up waste, precise registration and consistently high quality in full-colour production with the advantages of six-wide presses - reduced capital investment costs, fewer components, a shorter press length and much simpler web leads for titles with three or four signatures. And the ability to add heatset dryers for printing semi-commercials with the same type of ink gives us enormous flexibility in diversifying further at a later date. Not only that, it means we can switch between coldset and heatset in a minimum of time. The absence of dampening units virtually eliminates fan-out and means that web stretch will no longer be an issue if we take up the option of hybrid coldset/heatset operation with a retrofit dryer. This makes the Cortina a flexible production tool which will enable us to print our main title, Le Figaro, and its various supplements in an outstanding quality. It will also give us additional capacity for handling contract work, so we'll be well tooled up to handle whatever changes the media market may bring in the foreseeable future."
Speaking at the exchange of contracts, KBA executive vice-president for web press sales, Christoph Müller, said: "Le Figaro's decision to invest in the most advanced press technology currently on the market is a renewed expression of faith in KBA's competence in the year we celebrate our 190 years of existence. It is a major milestone in the acceptance of waterless print production by the global newspaper market."
Le Figaro, which was founded in 1825, is owned by French aviation group Dassault.