KBA open house at German headquarters unveils slew of Drupa launches
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Press release from the issuing companyApril 22, 2008 -- KBA North America, a leading global press manufacturer based in Williston, Vermont, and its parent company, Koenig & Bauer AG, held an international press conference on April 8 and an open house from April 9 to 11 at its sheetfed facility in Radebeul (near Dresden) to provide an exclusive preview of the major innovations it will be exhibiting at Drupa in Düsseldorf, the largest printing equipment trade show in the world, scheduled for May 29 to June 11, 2008.
Approximately 1,600 industry professionals from all over the world took the opportunity to attend live demonstrations of new features and upgrades in formats ranging from half-size to large. These included a slew of innovations for enhancing productivity, quality, finishing, cost efficiency, and press ecology. New products that will be exhibited at KBA’s 36,600-square-foot booth at Drupa in Hall 16 include the new Rapida 75 29-inch and Rapida 106 41-inch; an upgraded Rapida 105; a new independent consulting firm known as KBA Complete; a one-of-a-kind Rapida 142 eight-color perfector press; and a number of new automated technology features for (1) sheetfed presses, such as DriveTronic SPC and PileTronic Ident, and for (2) web presses, such as PlateTronic automatic plate changers, NipTronic cylinder bearings for the remote adjustment of impression pressure, RollerTronic automated roller locks, Plate-Ident plate identification, and FanoTronic automatic fan-out compensation. In all, KBA will have nine presses on display at Drupa 2008.
“I believe that we have demonstrated to printers that we have the most automated and diverse press line to satisfy whatever market they serve,” said Holger Garbrecht, president and CEO of KBA North America. “We’re listening to our customers’ needs and providing them with a wide range of technological choices to help them produce the highest-quality printed job in an economical manner. At Drupa, we have 257 presentations planned to be delivered over the two-week period, alternating in English and German, which will deliver our key messages of Best Value in Class, World Makeready Champion, Trust the Leader in Large Format, and Proven Green Technology.”
Under the banner “Strong on quality—fast, simple, reliable,” the event opened in a recently completed production hall with the unveiling of the new Rapida 75 29-inch sheetfed press and an upgraded Rapida 105 41-inch sheetfed press. Dubbed the “best value in their class,” both models have been given a new, individual design. Both presses target the large number of printers who are looking for production flexibility, performance, and intelligent automation at a price that will not break limited budgets.
Rapida 75: bigger and better
Reengineered for a slightly larger sheet size, KBA’s new 15,000 sph Rapida 75 is configurable with two to eight colors plus coater and perfector, and incorporates some 30 new features. Commercial, label and packaging printers will be interested in the special 23¾ x 29½-inch version, which was also demonstrated at the open house. Many of the proven features that have made the bigger format presses popular have now been incorporated in the Rapida 75. These include pneumatic suction sidelays, an open inking unit design, gripper systems, and KBA Densitronic density measurement and control from the console. Impressing the live audience, a five-color coater press with extended delivery produced a high-speed job change from luxury liquor packaging on lightweight board to a brochure on 150 gsm paper.
Before the curtain was raised on the debut of the new fully automated Rapida 106 41-inch press, a laser light show with dancers, acrobats, and singers helped to build the anticipation. “The focus of the Rapida 106 is its 18,000 sph output, fast makeready times, and the higher productivity afforded by a larger sheet size of 29½ x 41¾ inches,” explained Ralf Sammeck, executive vice president of sheetfed sales. “The choice of automation options is also greater: KBA DriveTronic dedicated drives, and the benefits they bring in terms of changeover times, operation, maintenance, and waste, have redefined the international benchmark in this format, while the DriveTronic feeder, with its manifold presetting options, can now handle even lighter stock at higher speeds. For the past four years, KBA has remained unique in offering a no-sidelay infeed, DriveTronic SIS that eliminates all manual intervention during changes of stock and ensures a much smoother sheet travel than mechanical or pneumatic systems. DriveTronic SIS now features in over 60% of all high-performance Rapidas.”
KBA has also revamped its standard 41-inch sheetfed press, the Rapida 105 universal. Reverting to its original name, the Rapida 105, the upgraded model has a maximum output of 15,000 sph (16,500 sph with HS package) and is available with up to seven printing units plus coating, UV, and hybrid printing options. Alongside reliability, quality, productivity, and value for money, the Rapida 105 focuses on versatility—it can print commercial, books, labels, and cartons—and to this end, the plate format is now adjustable for compatibility with other 41-inch presses. Automated features include a shaftless DriveTronic feeder, plate changing (automatic or semi-automatic), and washing. For greater convenience, press controls are now based on a Microsoft Windows operating system, ensuring that updates will be available in the long term. Video-based automatic color register control and a choice of Densitronic or DensiTronic Professional closed-loop densitometry systems help minimize waste, makeready times, and quality deviations. The Rapida 105 at the open house demonstrated its capabilities by printing packaging and postcards.
With print runs steadily diminishing, the DriveTronic SPC dedicated plate-cylinder drive system introduced in the Rapida 105 in September 2007 is a key module. This system supports simultaneous plate changing in less than 60 seconds, regardless of the number of printing units. Because the makeready work and washing can be carried out simultaneously, it dramatically shortens changeover times, too. This was demonstrated on a Rapida 106 eight-color perfector during production of some challenging commercial jobs. Three print jobs of 500 sheets apiece, entailing 24 plate changes, were completed in less than 16 minutes. To date, DriveTronic SPC drives have been specified for 40-plus 41-inch Rapidas, or more than 300 printing units.
A further innovation associated with DriveTronic SPC is DriveTronic Ident, which reads registration marks imaged in the gripper margin on the plates and uses them to set a theoretical zero register on all the plate cylinders. As a result, registration is exactly right from the first proof. What is more, DriveTronic Plate-Ident identifies the color separations on the plates in each printing unit by scanning a data matrix code that is also imaged in the gripper margin. This eliminates all risk of confusion and thus unnecessary waste.
New consulting business
As a new service to printers and media enterprises, KBA has teamed up with MIS provider Hiflex to create KBA Complete, an independent consulting firm specializing in strategic investment planning, process analysis, and workflow optimization. In association with other key industry providers, KBA Complete offers JDF workflows, market-defining technologies for prepress, press, and postpress applications, MIS, print process management, process standardization, and climate-neutral print production. Experts from KBA Complete will be staffing the Solutions Centre on the KBA stand, offering competent advice and a wide choice of software for all forms of print-shop networking, organization, and e-business, including web-to-print, RFID, storage optimization, and paper management.
KBA is the world’s sole supplier of large-format perfector presses, which are used mainly to print books. At Drupa, KBA will be the first in the world to demonstrate eight-color perfecting on a Rapida 142. The aim is to demonstrate the productivity gains possible in commercial as well as book printing through switching to large format.
“We are the acknowledged market and technology leader in large-format press engineering, particularly for packaging printing,” Sammeck told the crowd. “No other manufacturer can match our 80 years of experience in large format. We have 60% of the market share in large format, and we’re number one in the packaging field.” At the open house, KBA reaffirmed this claim by printing aluminum-coated cardboard packaging for a brand of liquor on a six-color Rapida 162 64-inch UV coater press with extended delivery. An application of opaque white was followed by process and metallic-effect spot colors. The press was then converted to print packaging for hair color products, a task that is equally challenging. The production run was monitored by an entire range of quality control modules. During makeready the proof was scanned by DensiTronic PDF, compared with the original PDF, and approved in just 10 minutes. Without DensiTronic PDF, this process would have taken half an hour.
The Rapida 162 demonstration concluded by showing the efficiency of the KBA PileTronic automated pile logistics system at a production speed of 14,000 sheets per hour. New features in this system include PileTronic Ident, a read/write system that identifies the pallet, and the number of sheets on it, by scanning RFID tags that are either embedded or attached. The system can be used to record material consumption and pallet location. Each time the delivery pile is changed, PileTronic PDF writes the number of printed sheets on the RFID tag.
Rapida 162a: Perfecting format now even bigger
The print length of the perfector version of the Rapida 162a has now been extended to 46 inches, which means that the full sheet format can now be used in perfecting mode. Register accuracy, perfecting, and sheet guidance have been improved; there is a new, lower delivery pile; and the print-free corridors have been reduced.
Due to the limited assembly time, there will be no live demos of web presses on the KBA booth. But KBA will be displaying its four-high towers of revolutionary compact presses: the waterless Cortina 6/2 and its conventional counterpart, the Commander CT. Orders for these two presses include a multi-unit triple-wide Cortina press line for Le Figaro in Paris and a 15-tower Commander CT for the New York Daily News. Dubbed KBA Competence, this new compact platform offers some unique features, among them PlateTronic automatic plate changers, NipTronic cylinder bearings for the remote adjustment of impression pressure, RollerTronic automated roller locks, Plate-Ident plate identification, and FanoTronic automatic fan-out compensation. The benefits that these features (and an ultra-compact press design) deliver in terms of operation, maintenance, production flexibility, cost efficiency, and environmental friendliness will be demonstrated during the show via an interface. A control console with a direct link to new press lines at various users will give commercial printers a chance to come up to speed with advances in their field.
After the open house presentations and demonstrations, customers and journalists were able to mingle and enjoy dinner at a social evening at the Panometer in Dresden, a storage building dating back to 1880 and now transformed into a historic industrial monument. The artist Yadegar Asisi used a combination of drawing, illustration, and the latest computer technology to create a 360-degree panoramic view of Dresden as it was in 1756. Measuring 330 feet in diameter and 85 feet in height, the artwork was created on a canvas like material lining the inner wall of the building. KBA guests were able to climb to the viewing tower high above the floor to enjoy an illusionary visual experience.
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