A key piece of equipment arrived yesterday that will significantly change how Friesens Book Division in Altona stakes its mark in the publishing field. President and CEO Curwin Friesen says the large-format, sheet-fed press is a unique machine, one of only three in the world with this type of configuration and size. The press weighs in around half a million pounds, is over one hundred feet long and sits between twelve and fourteen feet in the air, twice the size of the current presses running at Friesens. The machine also boasts several additional on-board computers.
Friesen explains acquiring the machine was a progression forty years in the making. "We started with a forty inch press that could do a sixteen page print signature and then in the 80s we moved to fifty inches, we were the first in the industry to do that, and that doubled the size of our press sheet and allowed us to be very competitive and now we're doubling again. Now we're going to run a sixty-four page print section." He adds the press offers operators a chance to run one of the most advance pieces of equipment in the publishing industry.
Overall, Friesen says this new press will allow the company to increase its competitiveness. "It's certainly going to allow us to do more with the customers we do have, but it'll alsoallow us to move up in some work that our presses were too small or too slow to be able to go after those markets efficiently or effectively."
The press is only one of three of its kind in the world. The other two machines operate in large centres in Italy and Germany. "It's good company to be in" notes Friesen.