Testing of Sanoma Corporation’s new printing plant in Sanomala, Vantaa, began already in May. At the beginning of October, all newspapers leaving Sanomala will be printed with the new machine. The new plant will improve the quality of printing and enable four-colour pictures on every newspaper page. With more flexible printing process, also Helsingin Sanomat’s structure can be renewed.

Each night about 350,000 newspapers are printed in Sanomala printing plant. In addition, copies of Helsingin Sanomat distributed outside the metropolitan area are being produced in Forssa and Varkaus printing plants. The old equipment in Sanomala date back to the 1970’s and is almost worn-out. New printing plant investment and its adjoining projects, the new mailing system and the renewals in Forssa and Varkaus, have been one of Sanoma’s all time biggest projects. Together, the investments total around EUR 120 million and the project has lasted almost ten years.

More efficient and flexible printing press

With the new machine, the whole printing process has been renewed: more phases are automatic and the production is more efficient. This also means reducing the personnel in Sanomala from 230 to 170 as the number of assisting jobs decreases. Personnel has diminished little by little e.g. by pension arrangements. The machinists taking care of the new press have undergone a large-scale training: instead of screwdrivers and monkey wrenches one needs to be able to control the complicated IT-system. Other processes, e.g. newspaper mailing system, have also been made more efficient.

Also the supervision of the machine has been automated, which further improves the quality and speeds up the printing process 1,5 times. The rapidity and faultlessness are key factors in a newspaper print; no one problem should paralyse the whole process. In future, more flexibility can be gained also by printing the different sections of the newspaper in two or three schedules. Part of the paper can be printed beforehand and stored to wait for sections with the most current news.

Together with more flexible schedules also the structure of the newspaper can now change according to the needs of each day. The old machines could only print pairs of sections of equal size so that each section had to have as many pages as the next one. With the new printing press, this constraint is gone. It is also possible to customize sections more than before: in future, more regional news and advertisements can be included in Helsingin Sanomat.

Even though the new printing plant is designed for Helsingin Sanomat needs, other printing orders can be taken as well. Thanks to a new heat set furnace, also magazines and inserts using glossy paper can be printed in Sanomala.

Renewed Helsingin Sanomat

Helsingin Sanomat will see structural and content changes now that the new printing press is being used. The newspaper will become more colourful when four-colour pictures can be printed on each page. This means new possibilities to both editors and advetisers. However, there will be no changes in the typography since the look of the year 2000 is still up-to-date.

On 30 September, the sections in Helsingin Sanomat will take their new places in the paper. The most popular parts, domestic and international news, will be placed at the beginning of the paper. Economic and sport news will follow in the second section and the local and cultural news are placed on the third one. The biggest change will be seen on the fourth section, which will from now on carry a different theme each day of the week. These theme pages can also be read later in the day if the reader runs out of time in the breakfast table. Helsingin Sanomat will continue to have different theme inserts, e.g. vacant jobs and housing advertisements in there own section on Sundays.

Text: Anna Tuominen