KBA Comments on Quebecor Purchase of Presses to Print the Yellow Pages
Wednesday, August 22, 2001
On July 24 the world's biggest commercial print group, Quebecor World, celebrated the official start-up of a new high-performance KBA Commander press line in Merced, California. The ceremony was attended by representatives of Pacific Bell Directories, a major Quebecor customer. Designed for the production of four-colour telephone directories, the new web offset tower press raises the performance bar in the North American directory market . The multi-unit press line effectively demonstrates that - even in the face of a powerful challenge from the Internet, electronic databases and storage media - the Yellow Pages are still a popular information and advertising medium throughout the world, with a big potential for growth. The cylinder circumference of the totally shaftless Commander press has been reduced for heatset operation from 1,156mm to 1,143mm. Maximum web width is 1,467mm , maximum production speed 43,200cyl.rph and output capacity in straight production 2 x 72 pages. The press has been in four-shift, 24-hour operation seven days a week since May 29. Quebecor is exploiting this outstanding capacity and flexibility to extend its market lead on the West Coast. Sophisticated Market Demands In his speech at the inaugural ceremony, Marc Reisch, CEO of Quebecor World North America, focused on the current trend towards ever greater sophistication in the directory market and cited the technology upgrade with the new KBA press line - which is specifically engineered to address these trends - as evidence of the group's continuing commitment to the Merced operation. Sales director Alwin Stöckl dwelt on the technological challenge the new investment entailed and how KBA, which leads the field in directory press technology, mastered this challenge in close collaboration with Quebecor World. He went on to say that for Merced and the people working there the new Commander press is a key investment in the future. Eric Steinbach, general manager of the Merced operation and organiser of the event, described the official start-up of the KBA Commander press line as a big day for all concerned. "Like the KBA Compacta 618, the first totally shaftless commercial press in North America, whose start-up two years ago almost to the day was headline news in the trade, the new Commander directory press represents a groundbreaking project for the entire branch." Steinbach continued, "In KBA we have found a partner with the proven competence, innovative ideas and high-performance technology capable of satisfying our customers' quality and output specifications. Pacific Bell Directories, our biggest customer for telephone and address directories, demands world-class quality." Steinbach thanked KBA's engineers and service technicians whose exemplary dedication ensured that this high-tech project was completed well up to schedule and satisfied Pacific Bell Directory's ambitious expectations. "The new Commander has been acknowledged throughout the US print industry as a further milestone in the development of directory presses. This applies particularly to the V5 gripper folder, the first in web offset in the USA, though the outstanding performance and flexibility of the press as a whole also reflect a plethora of technological advances. The slogan for our collaboration with Pacific Bell - 'Partners in Excellence and Innovation' - applies equally well to our collaboration with KBA. With regard to quality and capacity in four-colour directory printing, the Commander press is a world leader: its folder and superstructure technology, and its advanced level of automation, have redefined the standard. Initial customer reactions to the new press have shown that we made the right decision in choosing KBA." Special Configuration Cuts Investment Costs and Manning Automated paper logistics: the KBA Patras reel-handling system with automatic KBA Easy Splice splice preparation station and three Pastomat RC reelstands are located between the three Commander towers and the V5 folder For the Commander project a configuration was chosen that would minimise capital investment costs and manning levels while promoting efficient communication between operators at the press and the reel-handling and copy-converting systems. To maximise operational ease the KBA Patras reel-handling system, automatic KBA Easy Splice splice preparation station and three Pastomat RC reelstands are located between the three parallel Commander towers and the V5 folder. In order to ensure a high print quality in four-colour production on lightweight stock the printing towers of the Commander feature film inking units with three forme rollers and three oscillating ink rollers, four-roller spray dampeners and shrink wheels to control fan-out. The three Dual-Dry III high-performance dryers for the Commander are located 12m (39ft) up on a steel platform and, like the earlier models on the KBA Compacta 618, incorporate an evaporative cooling system (ECS). This ensures that the lightweight directory stock dries evenly and thoroughly irrespective of ink coverage and production speed. The KBA Drivetronic shaftless drive system incorporates 25 AC motors, one for each of the printing couples and the folder. The advanced level of automation cuts makeready times and minimises waste. Flexible Product Design The turner decks with 45° turner bars can be adjusted to a 1/3 of the maximum web width to allow the ribbons to be positioned centrally relative to the formers. The superstructure of the V5 folder has three movable formers that can handle 371mm to 489mm ribbons side by side. Slitters at the RTF can slit the webs into three ribbons. Cross perforators, adjustable on the run, expand the range of options for product design. Derived from gravure, the high-precision technology of KBA's V5 1143 heavy-duty, double-delivery gripper folder enhances both the productivity and cost-efficiency of the Commander press line and underlines KBA's pole position in folder technology. The copy streams from the Commander press line are transported from the delivery to two vertical stacking systems featuring automatic palletising. The Commander's console technology embraces CIP3-compatible preset systems with RIP interfaces and Logotronic production data and management systems, which enable repeat jobs to be stored and downloaded on demand.