May 9, 2008

Lehman’s plant features high-speed press

BERTHOUD – These days it’s not as likely “stop the presses” will be heard as “let’s do a roll change!” but the presses of Lehman Communications Corp. are projected to stop in May 2009 when the Goss Urbanite press will give way to the new MAN Roland high-speed press in a new $20 million production facility in Berthoud.

The publishing company currently uses nine Goss Urbanite press units that will be replaced by 16 MAN Roland Uniset 75 units in four vertical stacks of four units each.

The press will be housed in the 60,000-square-foot plant being built in Berthoud.

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The new press will have twice the capacity of the Goss. It can print 75,000 impressions per hour, compared with the Goss’ 40,000 impressions per hour.

Lehman Communications will make up for some of the increased expenses by entering more aggressively into the job market of printing for outside publications.

“We have a number of good customers, but we’ve turned down a lot of jobs because we didn’t have the capability,´ said Ed Lehman, owner and chief executive.

Lehman predicts a lot of new opportunities in the contract-printing sector.

“The newspaper is still the core business,´ said Dale Carr, director of commercial print sales. “The commercial will be a bigger part of the revenue stream than it is now. We should pick up one-third more.” Carr will be the program manager in the new building.

“That will be real exciting,´ said Dwayne Penny, who will be the production manager at the new facility.

Few presses exist only for one newspaper, certainly not Lehman’s. Lehman Communications publishes the Loveland Reporter-Herald, Longmont Times-Call, Lafayette News, Erie Review, Louisville Times and Superior Observer. All are currently printed on the company’s existing press in Longmont. On the commercial side, they print such publications as the Denver Business Journal, the Boulder County Business Report, the Northern Colorado Business Report and the Wyoming Business Report.

“On the wall in my office I have 80 things I do that are not our own,” Penny said.

Dean Lehman, president of Lehman Communications, said company officials started talking about the change in the mid-’90’s. “It’s a very long process that involves a lot of study, meetings and travel to other newspaper sites.”

The conclusion was always to keep up with the times.

“There is a new generation of presses out and opening. As good as our press is, and we love it, it was from a different time,” Dean Lehman said. The press has been used since 1973, with a few additions here and there.

“There’s a lot more computerization on this press than on the Goss, so a lot more can be done at a control panel,” Dean said. Even the press manufacturer can do remote diagnosis of the new machine.

Advertisers are expecting higher quality print and crisper colors. Other papers are feeling the pressure to upgrade, too.

About a year ago the Daily Camera’s press was shut down, and the printing was outsourced to the Denver Newspaper Agency, which is part of parent companies Media News and Scripts.

The agency has a MAN Roland press capable of 70,000 impressions per hour, comparable to the one Lehman will have. It has a double-wide with five press lines.

Carr said neighboring agencies owning the MAN Roland presses was a factor in choosing its MAN Roland.

“It’s nice to have people with the same press around you.” He said they can share services and parts and use each other as a backup.

While news and advertising divisions compete, production doesn’t. “Production people cooperate – we have to,” Carr said. Lehman Communications has used its press in an emergency situation for the Daily Camera and just recently used its binder for the Fort Collins Coloradoan.

The Camera did talk about replacing its old press, but expense was the barrier.” They’re just so expensive,´ said Bill Watson, operations manager for the Daily Camera.” It’s a very risky investment.” So outsourcing “made all the sense in the world.”

Watson said many major newspapers contract out their printing, such as the L.A. Times, the New York Times and the Washington Post.

“It’s exciting to see them do that,´ said Watson of Lehman’s new facility and press. He knows the high-end presses are built with room for growth to meet technology as it develops.

Lehman Communications currently has three crews that run around the clock. In total, the firm employs 470 people.  While they are not committing to say at this time if that number will go up or down with the new facility, Carr did say, “I don’t think we’ll be staffing up.” It is projected that payroll for the production operation will exceed $2 million a year.

BERTHOUD – These days it’s not as likely “stop the presses” will be heard as “let’s do a roll change!” but the presses of Lehman Communications Corp. are projected to stop in May 2009 when the Goss Urbanite press will give way to the new MAN Roland high-speed press in a new $20 million production facility in Berthoud.

The publishing company currently uses nine Goss Urbanite press units that will be replaced by 16 MAN Roland Uniset 75 units in four vertical stacks of four units each.

The press will be housed in the 60,000-square-foot plant being built in Berthoud.

The new press…

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