Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tempertures Rising at the Los Angeles Times

Nine days ago we experienced a fire in the control panel for the chillers at the LA Times Olympic Facility, which raised the temperatures in the pressroom to unbearable levels. To make matters worse, many of the fans that are meant to distribute the air in the pressroom are non-functional.

Brother Edward Brunner wondered just how hot the pressroom was and brought in a thermometer yesterday to measure the temperature in the pressroom. We all knew it was uncomfortably hot, but had no idea it was eighty degrees in the pressroom.

The printing process uses a dampener solution that throws a mist of water into the air of the pressroom, which makes it extremely humid. Many workers are complaining of rashes under their arms and other places on their bodies due to the temperature and humidity, which working without breaks or lunch periods never allows one to cool down properly.

Olympic Pressroom Manager Johnny Walker has assured me the replacement fans and control panel for the chillers are on order, and may be installed as soon as this Monday.

Let’s hope Walker is correct as the heat wears you out.

Yesterday I brought in an ice chest filled with a case of water and a case of soda, something management should be doing for the workforce at the Los Angeles Times. I could not believe how quickly the COLD DRINKS disappeared.

For you naysayers of the union, who loves you baby, certainly not management.


grandspud said...

From Southern California Edison's web site:

...Set your air conditioning thermostat at the highest comfortable setting. A setting of 78°F, rather than 70°F...

The recommended setting for AC by electric companies has always been 78. So, if we do the math, the pressroom is 2 degrees warmer. OMG!

Hey, I happen to like a cooler room too Ed, but stop with the dramatics.

$.02 said...

The challenges of completing the daily newspaper at the Los Angeles Times are many, and with the fire in the control panel for the chillers last Thursday [11 days ago], the pressroom is like a sauna as the temperatures are high [80 plus] and the humidity unbearable [a human condition].

People tend to feel most comfortable at a relative humidity of about 45%. Humidifiers and dehumidifiers (chiller systems) help to keep indoor humidity at a comfortable level.

Fluctuations of relative humidity, driven by temperature changes in the microclimate (e.g. the pressroom) can lead to poor production scenarios. The appropriate response therefore must be aimed primarily at a stable relative humidity, rather than a specific temperature, based on human considerations (wants/needs/feelings).

In 1902, the first modern electrical air conditioning unit was invented by Willis Haviland Carrier in Buffalo, New York to improve manufacturing process control in a printing plant, Carrier’s invention controlled not only temperature but also humidity.

Carrier’s technology was applied to increase productivity in the workplace; by controlling the temperature and humidity of the plant, the processes were made more efficient as the paper size and the ink alignment were consistently maintained—[read that: little modulation of the paper and tight color registration].


Research has found that paper manufactured in the range of 40% to 50% RH at 72°F works in most environments.

Paper is sealed in a moisture barrier to contain its own environment. The temperature of paper within the controlled environment and the relative humidity will remain constant because it cannot react to the ambient conditions outside of the barrier. Therefore, the paper can be exposed to extreme hot or cold conditions and, as long as the stock is brought to the same temperature as the pressroom when used, there should not be an equilibrium problem.

Paper does, however, have an RH factor and must be brought into equilibrium with the environment of the pressroom or trouble will occur.

The effects of exposing paper to a very low humidity pressroom can be disastrous. Paper will try to reach equilibrium with its environment and will release its moisture to the surrounding air.

Above 35% relative humidity, static electricity that is generated by moving a non-conductor against a non-conductor is dissipated into the air; however, below 35% RH, static electricity builds up causing feeding, jamming, and other problems.

When the relative humidity exceeds 65%, another set of problems begins to occur—the sheet becomes limp.


As for your citation of the SCE web site, I believe that is information is directed residential customers. The warehouse and production environment should be applied, this is where the average breakdown for usage in the manufacturing sector is as follows: 1% heating, 1% refrigeration, 2% cooling, 16% lighting, 69% motors—and 11% miscellaneous (I’ll let minds wander on that one).