TESTING THE NEW EQUIPMENT: Phil Goetze, right, measures a test plate from the new direct-to-plate printer as Lora Cable and Robin Cull of The Madison Courier, and Phil Boger from Point Click & Drag look on. (Staff photos by Ken Ritchie)
TESTING THE NEW EQUIPMENT: Phil Goetze, right, measures a test plate from the new direct-to-plate printer as Lora Cable and Robin Cull of The Madison Courier, and Phil Boger from Point Click & Drag look on. (Staff photos by Ken Ritchie)
The Madison Courier has installed equipment this week to increase the efficiency of the production process.

An old camera that made negatives of pages was removed to make room for new equipment. The camera had not been used for six years.

The camera was installed in 1947, according to Curt Jacobs, general manager of the paper. Stories and photos were assembled on a page and then photographed to create a negative. That negative was sent to a processor, which created a plate to be put on the printing press.

Jacobs said the camera had been in use at the paper until 2006, when the Courier eliminated the camera process and sent pages digitally to an image processor where a page negative was produced. That negative then was burned onto an aluminum plate.

Now, that image processor has been removed to make way for new technology.

The new equipment, costing $36,000, was installed this week. Pages will still be designed on computers but will be sent directly to a processor that burns the page image onto a plate for printing.

"Now we're taking that next step and eliminating the negative," Jacobs said. "That's been pretty largely adopted by most newspapers now."

The upgrade was eventually going to be made, but became immediately necessary after the Courier's image processor became unreliable.

Jacobs said the equipment upgrade will improve the quality of printing and is a more environmentally friendly way to print.