Daily Mail Printing Press, Didcot

Main Contractor
Bowmer & Kirkland
Structural Engineer
URS Scott Wilson
Cerutti Flexo Full Colour Newspaper Printing Press
Key Facts
200 IMBR70-50 1000x500 Isomat Isolators
Favim 100-50 top strip
FVF10-50 base void former
FVF15-50 void former for the walls
Order value: £85,000.00

The Challenge

The new press site was to be set in ten acres and would house four S4 Cerutti flexographic presses which can print up to 80,000 copies an hour. Once fully operational the centre would be printing 3.2 million copies a week of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, and 350,000 copies of regional titles. Printing presses offer a unique challenge as they simultaneously operate at high speeds and also need to achieve a high level of precision in the print output.

The client and their structural engineers were worried about the vibration from the Great Western main railway line adjacent to the building and vibration from the printing press itself affecting the offices built alongside. An additional challenge was the mass of the printing press in question which had a total weight, including printing press, folding units and reel stands, of 3,721,056kg.

The Solution

Printing presses are highly complex structures made up of numerous internal rotating parts each of which could produce out of balance forces. As a result Farrat prioritised the identification of the operating speeds and resonation frequencies from within the machine before a suitable isolation system could be designed as it was critical to avoid any of these disturbing frequencies. A full analysis of the machine structure was established by taking a 3D model of structure from the press manufacturer. Based on the findings of the analysis Farrat designed a bespoke Isomat Isolated Foundation system with a dynamic natural frequency of 10Hz with around 10% damping.

Consequently the foundation which formed the backbone of the machine was designed. This needed to be 94 metres long and 6 metres wide but the depth was still to be determined. Such large printing presses are tall, narrow structures where the reel stands are at ground level and the press, which contains most of the weight, is supported by columns built off the isolated foundation block. In this case a 2.8 metre deep block was designed to provide sufficient stiffness for the modular machine as well as lowering its centre of gravity. To complete the process Farrat manufactured the isolation system which was then installed under our close supervision.

Design Manager,
Bowmer & Kirkland
You can stand with one foot on the foundation and the other on the floor next to it and notice the absolute reduction in vibration.

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