With the vision of being recognised as The Best Newspaper Manufacturer in the World, Newsprinters requires its Waltham Cross plant to be safe and reliable whilst achieving maximum performance.


In order to help achieve this and maintain an exceptional safety standard, they have invested in a new gantry safety netting system from SEC Storage.

Newsprinters is the newspaper manufacturing division of News UK which has three purpose-built newspaper printing plants in the UK. The southern plant based in Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, is home to the newest plant. The 87,000 sq/m facility has 12 newspaper printing presses each with the ability to print 86,000 newspaper copies every hour. Following completion Newsprinters has robustly implemented a program to improve site performance and to improve safety standards within the plant.

Two print lines of Manroland Colorman XXL printing presses are over five storeys high which are accessed via multiple staircases and gantry walkways. Part of their cleaning and maintenance program is to remove heavy steel print unit guards and ancillary equipment from the press and to move these items to a designated area of the gantry walkway for cleaning and temporary storage prior to refitting.

The manual transportation of these guards posed a potential safety risk and it was identified that under certain circumstances there was the potential for them to slip and fall between the handrail safety barrier and to the floor below. Newsprinters required a solution to prevent the equipment falling and causing a potential serious accident.

Following a detailed site survey and analysis of Newsprinters operations, SEC Storage suggested an innovative netting based safety system that has been developed specifically for the materials handling industry.

The netting, designed to prevent the falling of palletised loads and goods from storage systems, is manufactured from high tenacity polypropylene stitched chord and secured and tensioned by a Gripple® wire fixing system. Constructed using a 3mm chord and 45mm x 45mm mesh size, the net conforms to EN1263-1:2002 and EN1236-2 standards and is fire retardant. The nature of its construction means the netting can be easily manipulated, configured and installed to a vast range of applications without the need for complex or costly fabrication processes.

It was soon realised the benefits of installing the safety netting would exceed that offered by traditional steel mesh systems when coupled to the operational requirements of Newsprinter’s facility.

The typical rate of installation for the safety netting is between 300sq/m and 500sq/m per day. This is between 50% and 60% quicker than the more traditional steel systems and offered Newsprinters a significant cost saving. With fewer man days on site, this also impacted as little as possible on Newsprinters’ day to day operation.

When loads fall onto or collide with the netting no damage is caused and when the load is removed, the net returns to its original shape. The flexible nature of the net also means that it prevents damage to that which it is attached, such as the twisting of handrail uprights or posts. The Gripple® wire fixing system also provides easy re-tensioning of the fixing wire should it be required.

These properties of the netting and installation methods, means the netting is virtually maintenance free. This was of particular interest to Newsprinters as it would enable them to focus on the efficiency of their facility in order to achieve the high output of printed newspapers.

Mick Geen, Manufacturing Support Group Calibration Manager, commented. “Identifying a safe, efficient and cost effective solution to improve handrail safety at Broxbourne offered unique problems that required smart and effective solutions.

“Several companies were invited to survey our manufacturing site and to suggest solutions to fulfil our demanding needs. SEC were the company that stood out in the crowd offering a range of solutions to suit our safety requirements. Newsprinters and SEC worked closely together to provide the final solution which was supplied and installed in a quick efficient and professional manner.”

In addition to improving site safety standards and preventing potential accidents at the Hertfordshire newspaper printing facility, the selection of safety netting presented Newsprinters with significant cost savings over more traditional steel products and minimised impact on the daily operation thanks to a quicker installation procedure.



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