Today’s LNP represents a homecoming for printing in Lancaster County.
The final copies of Tuesday’s edition of LNP rolled off a press early this morning in the Greenfield development, marking the full restoration of Steinman Communication’s print operations to Lancaster County.
With the return to Lancaster County, LNP’s production becomes part of a state-of-the-art operations center that combines printing of local and regional publications with a packaging and mailing facility.
In addition to LNP, the press also prints Lancaster Farming, The Ephrata Review, The Lititz Record and the Elizabethtown Advocate. In addition to those Steinman publications, it runs ad circulars, religious newsletters, trade publications and weekly newspapers.
“For the first time in the history of LNP Media Group, all of its publications are being printed on the same press and distributed out of the same packaging and mailing facility,” said Robert Krasne, CEO of Steinman Communications, parent company of LNP Media Group.
‘Where it belongs’
The operation in the 48,000-square foot leased building at 1704 Hempstead Road is run by 50 people, with 15 managing the press and its equipment. About 35 work in post-press, one-third of those at night. It takes 10 to 12 people to sta. ck papers coming off the press and do inserts.
The circa-2006 press, which previously produced the Chicago Sun Times, was outfitted with updated, state-of-the-art controls that govern and coordinate the line speed, ink flow and other aspects of the intricate machine, all of which make it highly efficient. For example, it can print twice as fast as the former press it replaces in Ephrata, and can be run as two separate lines for commercial work or as a combined line when producing the daily LNP.
The post-press operation provides a variety of finishing services, with two inserting machines and two stitching machines to produce catalogs and other publications.
“Building out a new press facility at a time where many local newspapers are either shuttering, downsizing, or going fully digital, is significant because it demonstrates that LNP Media Group and the Steinman Family are committed to the printed product, which is still valued by our readers and advertisers,” said Caroline Muraro, the president of LNP Media Group, which publishes LNP.
It took a team of installers, technicians, operators and many others more than a year and a half to lay out, install and fully commission the press, inserter and other related equipment, said Justin Bucks, president of Susquehanna Printing, the wholly-owned subsidiary of LNP Media Group which operates the press.
“We are all proud to be so integral in bringing the printing of LNP back to Lancaster County where it belongs,” Bucks said.
A history of investment
The more than $12 million investment in the new press and operations center echoes the investment Lancaster Newspapers made in 1988 when it unveiled its new press in downtown Lancaster. That $15 million project cemented the company’s intention to maintain a local printing center.
Situated in the former production building at East Vine and South Queen streets, the “flexographic” press boasted then-cutting edge technology that utilized water-based ink and was named for its flexible parts wrapped around a cylinder to create separate pages. A large display window on South Queen Street offered the public views of the “Flexoman” press which produced the newspaper for 27 years.
But with the press becoming obsolete, Steinman Communications in May 2015 shifted production of the daily newspaper from downtown Lancaster to a regional printer in Mechanicsburg. Yet, the company soon began strategizing ways to return the newspaper’s printing to Lancaster County, a move that culminates today.
“With our new press and its state of the art press controls and our new packaging facility, our organization will be as efficient as any similar operation in the country,” Krasne said. “The Steinman family’s commitment of capital to this project is further evidence of their dedication to the survival of local journalism in these challenging times.”