THE introduction of a new German-built Colorman printing press to the Morning Post Centre was a step-by-step piece-by-piece proposition, according to the plant's chief engineer Helmut Haas. Speaking from his office adjoining the computer room, Mr Haas has a control-tower view of his pride and joy - three monstrous printing presses. The hard work and planning involved in the move is nearly complete. Just over a year ago, the South China Morning Post took delivery of its third press. It was shipped, piece-by-piece from Germany to the Morning Post Centre in Tai Po. Similar to the two older Colorman presses formerly housed in the SCMP Building in Quarry Bay, the new press is capable of producing 70,000 newspapers an hour. There are differences between the new and old presses, which were built in 1986. The new press has an EAE control system and an automatic ink-feeding system. The older presses run from a straight keyboard programme; the new one runs through a Windows system with a mouse. The new press also has another improvement - an automatic ink-feeding system. Operators must be thoroughly versed in both. Between September 1994 and January this year, the new press was assembled, tested and made ready. With phase one completed, Mr Haas undertook the project of transferring the Quarry Bay presses to Tai Po. 'We needed two presses operational at the same time, which is why we had to build the new one and have it in production before the move could occur,' he said. In the six weeks that followed, the first of the Morning Post Centre presses was disassembled for re-assembly at Tai Po. At the end of June this year, there were two Tai Po presses functioning and the remaining press at Quarry Bay had to be shut down and transferred. Mr Haas said he hoped to have the final press running by December, giving the Tai Po operation three independent press lines, each capable of output speeds up to 70,000 copies per hour. He said space was not a problem in the new facility and maintenance was easier. 'In the old building, the presses were completely enclosed and there were problems working on them in such a tight space,' he said. With the massive classified section, he said some runs, particularly Saturday's, had the presses working non-stop from Friday morning to Saturday. With all equipment operational by December, Mr Haas said two presses would work on the newspaper's main sections and one full-time on pre-printed sections.