26 Feb 2010 Leave a Comment
We had a nice wet snow last night. It covered the foothills like a glaze of frosting on a cupcake, and the sun was like Hannah (Hannah only eats the icing on cakes) The sun will melt away a dry snow rather quickly, a wet snow takes a bit longer, but I bet the foothills are brown again this weekend.
Our morning was taken up by the Denver post tour co-op. We met at the old Rocky Mt. news facility, now the Denver post facility. The press makes more than just the Post, they do other city papers like Boulder and Broomfield, USA Today, New York Times, the Denver Post, Westword and a few others. Our guide Tony led us into the web press room.
Giant rolls of paper were being scooted around by robot forklifts following magnetic tape.
We watched the robot machines roll across the floor, pause when a friend robot had to come through and then restart their path on the way to pick up rolls of paper. Inside the warehouse we watched the forklift pick up rolls of paper and transport them all over the place. The warehouse holds 8,700 rolls of paper, enough for one month of printing, the train comes in twice a day and drops off rolls. All the paper comes from 3 mills, 2 of which are 100% recycled paper, the other mill isn’t 100% so the total recycled paper that the Post uses is 70%, not bad. Tony said that 15 years ago they just loaded all of their excess onto trucks and sent it off to the landfill.
I made Joel figure out the volume of the cylinder, we’re guessing that each roll was about 3 feet high with a diameter of 3 feet (21.195 ft^3)
Next we went into the room that carries the cut and folded papers around the factory.
There are different colors for different papers, that way they can print more than one kind of paper at a time. We went into the room where the plates are laser etched. Here are the blanks.
We got to see the aluminum sheet pass through the laser, through chemicals to wash it and through a heater to dry it.
Then we got the coolest souvenir, the sheet!
It’s the Opinion page. If you wonder why the print isn’t backwards, it’s because this metal sheet gets put on the roller and a blanket is on top of that (like a rubber thing) then the ink is passed through, it adheres to the raised surface of the print, prints onto the blanket (which is then backwards) and then is transferred to the paper.
Next we went down to the floor where the inserts are added and the papers are put together. We saw the Sunday comics all ready to go! We saw the vault that the inserts are housed in, it’s 31 floors high and kind of like a bank vault. A robotic forklift can go get whatever inserts are needed (remember they print more than one kind of paper) and bring it to the dock.
Apparently there are spies about who want to find out what stores have what ads, that’s why they are in a vault (King soopers has eggs on sale, sorry that all the insider info I know.) This is the $1million machine that ties the papers together and loads them onto a pallet.
They have a sense of humor at the paper too, here is the Danger sign, there was also an Anger sign (Danger minus the ‘D’) and instead of wear protection, it’s a ‘bear’ protection area. Here are some papers fresh off the press that were being whisked over our heads.
On the way out we saw these pipes that we thought were air ducts, but they are really the pipes that load the ink into the ink tanks.
Grace was wearing the evil yellow mask because she’s been fighting off a RAD episode since Monday and I didn’t want to waste all that medicine going into a place where there might be fumes. It must have been well ventilated though, it didn’t smell like a printing facility at all.
We zipped home after that and grabbed a quick bite before going to presentation club. Bethany did her experiment with hydrogen peroxide and yeast while talking about exothermic reactions and molecules. Grace talked about Ambergris, which is what Sperm whales throw up and then is used by some perfume companies – it smells good (no, really, after floating around in the ocean for 10 years) and has a bonding agent in it that makes other smells stick to you (scientists have invented fake Ambergris to use now.) Hannah did colors, she poured food coloring and water together to make purple, orange and green. We also had – how the starch in pudding breaks down, space and black holes, rockets, the space shuttle and how chocolate is made. The theme was science, next month the theme will be food. That will be a great one to attend as I am sure we will have lots of food samples.
It was Bunko night at church so I went there and had fun. I remember when my step-mom went to bunko and was always raving about it and I was like, what is the deal with that? It really is fun, we had 16 tables of 4 women each rolling dice for 2 rounds. I wiped out twice and bunko’ed twice and funko’ed 5 times. (bunko is 3 of the same number on that round, funko is 3 of the same number when you’re not on that round.) There was lots of food and different candy at every table, so as long as you won each round you would go to a new table with new partners and new candy. I had a strategy to get to the head table, that was to start at table 6 and work my way up. I should have started about 2 tables back, I got to the head table and lost and had to go all the way to table 16, bummer. Tomorrow we’re going to CU Boulder for a GS event, Joel is going with a friend somewhere and James is going to AZ for a week.