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United Nations In-plant, A Year After the Flood

January 2014 By Bob Neubauer
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Last month, IPG Editor Bob Neubauer paid a visit to the United Nations’ Publishing Section in New York City. A year ago this in-plant had nearly 100 employees running numerous offset presses and digital printers in a basement facility on Manhattan’s east side. Then Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast in October 2012 and sent the Hudson River surging right through the in-plant’s doors. All of its equipment was destroyed.

In the year since that disaster, the UN Publishing Section reopened as a digital printing operation in a temporary conference facility at the UN site. The offset operation was not brought back. Many former press operators have been reassigned to other tasks, such as scanning old UN documents for digital archival.

Publishing Section Chief Narendra Nandoe told IPG that he had already been planning to phase out offset over the next five to seven years, but Sandy accelerated those plans. Today, long-run publications that the in-plant had been printing for UN agencies are being outsourced, while “mandated” documents, such as the daily UN Journal, are being printed (in the six official languages of the UN) on a pair of Canon Océ Varioprint 6320s with in-line binding. Color pages are printed on a Canon imagePRESS C6010.

Nandoe is keeping a close watch on production inkjet technologies and predicts the in-plant will eventually add new printing equipment to bring back many of the publications being outsourced. He’s a strong proponent of in-house printing, for reasons of time and cost savings, as well as security. 

In the near term, though, impending budget cuts at the UN threaten to downsize his already decimated operation. Because certain mandated documents must be printed on-site, however, the in-plant will continue to operate. 

Overseeing the United Nations’ Publishing Section are Ramon del Rosario, deputy chief (left), and Narendra Nandoe, chief.

An operator in the United Nations’ relocated and downsized in-plant runs one of the Publishing Section’s two Canon Océ Varioprint 6320s.


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