ROBOTS AT WORK
A
The newspaper production process has come a long
way from the old days when the paper was written,
edited, typeset and ultimately printed in one building
with the journalists working on the upper floors and
the printing presses going on the ground floor. These
days the editor, subeditors and journalists who put the
paper together are likely to find themselves in a
totally different building or maybe even in a different
city. This is the situation which now prevails in
Sydney. The daily paper is compiled at the editorial
headquarters, known as the prepress centre, in the
heart of the city, but printed far away in the suburbs at
the printing centre. Here human beings are in the
minority as much of the work is done by automated
machines controlled by computers.
B
Once the finished newspaper has been created for the
next morning’s edition, all the pages are transmitted
electronically from the prepress centre to the printing
centre. The system of transmission is an update on the
sophisticated page facsimile system already in use on
many other newspapers. An imagesetter at the
printing centre delivers the pages as film. Each page
takes less than a minute to produce, although for
colour pages four versions, once each for black, cyan,
magenta and yellow are sent. The pages are then
processed into photographic negatives and the film is
used to produce aluminium printing plates ready for
the presses.
C
A procession of automated vehicles is busy at the new
printing centre where the Sydney Morning Herald is
printed each day. With lights flashing and warning
horns honking, the robots (to give them their correct
name, the LGVs or laser guided vehicles) look for all
the world like enthusiastic machines from a science
fiction movie, as they follow their own random paths
around the plant busily getting on with their jobs.
Automation of this kind is now standard in all modern
newspaper plants. The robots can detect unauthorised
personnel and alert security staff immediately if they
find an “intruder”; not surprisingly, tall tales are
already being told about the machines starting to take
on personalities of their own.
D
The robots’ principal job, however, is to shift the
newsprint (the printing paper) that arrives at the plant
in huge reels and emerges at the other end
some time later as newspapers. Once the size of the
day’s paper and the publishing order are determined
at head office, the information is punched into the
computer and the LGVs are programmed to go about
their work. The LGVs collect the appropriate size
paper reels and take them where they have to go.
When the press needs another reel its computer alerts
the LGV system. The Sydney LGVs move busily
around the press room fulfilling their two key
functions to collect reels of newsprint either from the
reel stripping stations, or from the racked supplies in
the newsprint storage area. At the stripping station
the tough wrapping that helps to protect a reel of
paper from rough handling is removed. Any
damaged paper is peeled off and the reel is then
weighed.
E
Then one of the four paster robots moves in.
Specifically designed for the job, it trims the paper
neatly and prepares the reel for the press. If required
the reel can be loaded directly onto the press; if not
needed immediately, an LGV takes it to the storage
area. When the press computer calls for a reel, an
LGV takes it to the reel loading area of the presses. It
lifts the reel into the loading position and places it in
the correct spot with complete accuracy. As each reel
is used up, the press drops the heavy cardboard core
into a waste bin. When the bin is full, another LGV
collects it and deposits the cores into a shredder for
recycling.
F
The LGVs move at walking speed. Should anyone
step in front of one or get too close, sensors stop the
vehicle until the path is clear. The company has
chosen a laserguide function system for the vehicles
because, as the project development manager says
“The beauty of it is that if you want to change the
routes, you can work out a new route on your
computer and lay it down for them to follow”. When
an LGV’s batteries run low, it will take itself off line
and go to the nearest battery maintenance point for
replacement batteries. And all this is achieved with
absolute minimum human input and a much reduced
risk of injury to people working in the printing
centres.
G
The question newspaper workers must now ask,
however is, “how long will it be before the robots are
writing the newspapers as well as running the
printing centre, churning out the latest edition every
morning?”

Questions 33 – ۴۰
Complete the flow-chart below.
Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the text for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 33-40 on your answer sheet.

The Production Process
The newspaper is compiled at the editorial headquarters by the
journalists.

The final version of the text is 33 …………… to the printing centre.

The pages arrive by facsimile.

The pages are converted into 34 …………… .

۳۵ …………… are made for use in the printing presses.
The LGVs are 36 …………… by computer.

The LGVs collect the reels of paper.

The LGVs remove the 37 …………… from the reel.

The reel is 38 …………… .

The reel is trimmed and prepared by the 39 …………… .

The reel is taken to the press. The reel is taken to the ………………….

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