Seismic isolation of a printing press in Wellington, New Zealand

  • D. J. Dowrick DSIR Physical Sciences, Lower Hutt, New Zealand
  • J. Babor DSIR Physical Sciences, Lower Hutt, New Zealand
  • W. J. Cousins DSIR Physical Sciences, Lower Hutt, New Zealand
  • R. I. Skinner DSIR Physical Sciences, Lower Hutt, New Zealand


This paper describes the seismic hazard near the Wellington Fault in Petone, and the measures taken to protect a new printing press made of brittle cast iron against earthquake attack. The printing press, owned by Wellington Newspapers, was located just 20 m from the Wellington Fault. Mounting the specially designed building housing the press on a seismic isolation system, lead-rubber bearings, reduced the estimated loads and deflections on the press by a factor of 8-10 compared with the non-isolated case. As a result the press should suffer only modest damage in earthquake shaking somewhat stronger than that required by the New Zealand earthquake code for the design of buildings.


Anderson, J.C., and Bertero, V.V. 1987. "Uncertainties in establishing design earthquakes". Jnl. of Structural Engineering 113(8): 1709-1724. DOI:

Beanland, S. 1988. "Location of the Wellington fault at Richmond Street, Petone". NZ Geological Survey Report to Wellington Newspapers Ltd.

Campbell, K.W. 1981. "Near-source attenuation of peak horizontal acceleration". Bulln. of the Seismological Society of America, 71(6): 2039-2070.

Cousins, W.J., Robinson, W.H., and McVerry, G.H. 1992. "Recent development in devices for seismic isolation". Bulln. NZ Nat. Soc. for Earthq. Eng. 25(3). DOI:

Hodge, W.C., and Macfarlane, M. 1988. "Effect of the Edgecumbe earthquake on mechanical and process equipment at the Tasman Mill". Bulln. NZ National Soc. for Earth. Eng., 21(3): 161-173.

Idriss, I.M. 1985. "Evaluating risk in engineering practice". Proc. 11th Intl. Conf. on Soil Mech. and Foundation Eng., San Francisco, 1: 255-320.

Joyner, W.B., and Boore, D.M., 1981. "Peak horizontal acceleration and velocity from strong-motion records including records from the 1979 Imperial Valley, California, earthquake". Bulln. Seism. Soc. of America 71(6): 2011-2038. DOI:

Matuschka, T., Berryman, K.R., O'Leary, A.J., McVerry, G.H., Mulholland, W.M., and Skinner, R.I. 1985. "New Zealand seismic hazard analysis". Bulln. NZ Natl. Soc. for Earthq. Eng. 18(4): 313-322.

Seed, H.B. and Idriss, I.M. 1982. "Ground motions and soil liquefaction during earthquakes". Earthquake Engineering Research Institute.

Skinner, R.I., and McVerry, G.H., 1988. "Preliminary design of base-isolated structures". Proc. 9th World Conf. on Earthq. Eng., Tokyo, VIII: 409-414.

Smith, W .D. and Berryman, K.R. 1983. "Revised estimates of earthquake hazard in New Zealand". Bulln. NZ Nat. Soc. for Earthq. Eng. 16(4): 259-272.

Standards Association of New Zealand, 1989. "Draft revision of New Zealand loadings code. DZ4203".

How to Cite
Dowrick, D. J., Babor, J., Cousins, W. J., & Skinner, R. I. (1992). Seismic isolation of a printing press in Wellington, New Zealand. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 25(3), 161-166.