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KBA Rapida 205 81-inch Press Opens Windows of Opportunity for Lithographix Inc.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Press release from the issuing company

KBA North America, a leading supplier of sheetfed offset and digital presses based in Williston, VT, is announcing that Lithographix, Inc., a leading award-winning high-quality Los Angeles commercial printer, has installed a super-large format Rapida 205 81-inch six-color sheetfed press with coater, the first of its kind on the West Coast, in mid-September 2005 with full-production output in December 2005. “Lithographix purchased a new KBA Rapida 205 81-inch press due to its outstanding current technology, which has changed dramatically over the last 30 years,” says George Wolden, senior vice president of manufacturing at Lithographix. “KBA's attention to detail, in terms of design and engineering, is well thought out for a large format press. With the 81-inch we are able to serve targeted markets in a much more efficient manner with the same quality that Lithographix is known for as well as enter new markets that we’re not currently in, such as high-end packaging, point-of-purchase, and retail. The new KBA press has opened up windows of opportunity for us. In just one month of operating the press, we’re already in new markets that we never served before.” Full automation on super-large press The KBA Rapida 205 81-inch six-color press will provide Lithographix Inc. with a maximum sheet size of 59.5 x 81-inches running at a speed of 9,000 sph. It will give the company the flexibility to run paper and board stock ranging from 80 lb to 48 pt. Plus, this is the first press of this size to offer a wide range of automated technology, such as a fully-automatic plate changer, automatic blanket and impression cylinder washing systems, inline anilox coating system and drying options such as IR, UV, or hybrid. KBA has added its own Qualitronic inline sheet inspection system, KBA’s Densitronic quality control system, and inline perforating and slitting to the press. An automatic camera register control system provides an extremely efficient system for fast color registration on a press of this size. The press is also equipped with an automatic CCD register camera. A key reason for Lithographix’s success is its devotion to craftsmanship and hiring experienced devoted employees. “Although the graphic arts industry has automated much of its equipment and workflow, we still believe in the graphic arts craft and craftsmen,” explains Wolden. “We believe that even as the industry has become more automated, you need more experienced operators, not less. We put some of our most experienced people on the Rapida 205. Through our internal testing, we’ve determined that the Rapida 205 can handle a wide variety of substrates requiring an expanded use of screening technologies. The challenges involved using variable screening, on a wide variety of paper and polymer substrates requiring different fluid technologies, has provided Lithographix additional opportunities in creating predictable color profiling for outdoor campaigns. It’s gratifying to see the ease at which the KBA prints and delvers substrates from 100 pound text to 48 pt board stock.” Lithographix believes that the new Rapida 205 will compliment its year-old installation of digital inkjet printers designed for the digital superwide market, especially its outdoor graphic market for the entertainment business. “Work being produced on the digital inkjet printers will certainly go hand-in-hand with the Rapida 205,” says Wolden. “There will always be challenges and limitations with ink, water, and coatings, when applied to unusual substrates for outdoor or commercial products; however our research and development team has been very successful in meeting these challenges. We find the printing parameters (i.e., density, dot gain, print contrast, trapping, etc.), to be no different when comparing the 81 to 40 inch equipment. Today, depending on substrate stability, we will produce products using 175 line screening and very fine FM screening technologies.” The new KBA Rapida 205 81-inch sheetfed press is the first KBA press at Lithographix. The Lithographix press line-up includes five eight-color 40-inch presses with aqueous and UV coating utilizing UV inter-deck ink capability with extended deliveries, one six unit 38 inch Web, two eight unit single web 38-inch sleeved webs, with in-line UV coating, sheeters, pinless double former folding, pre-folding, combination folding with ribbon decks, and one six-color half-web. To accommodate the super-large 81-inch press, Lithographix needed to add large format CTP plating with the same capabilities as its existing CTP technology. Additionally, new finishing and material handing equipment was required. Setting themselves apart with the Rapida “This press differentiates us from printers who are still using slower older non-automated 77” and 78” sheetfed presses,” says Wolden. “Our new completely-automated KBA Rapida 205 81-inch press with a unique two-around configuration gives us the ability to print on heavy substrates with little or no marking as well as the ability to print on plastics.” In mid-February 2006, Lithographix held an open house to market the new Rapida 205. “We asked artists to give us their fine art files to reproduce on the 81-inch press,” explains Wolden. “We want to show that a press this size can reproduce high-end fine art reproductions. The artists attended the open house to sign the reproductions.” In October 2004, Lithographix moved to a state-of-the-art 260,000 sq ft building in Hawthorne, Calif. The new larger facility offers a comfortable relaxing environment for its customers and other valued-added services. The company also expanded its capabilities to include a new ad and outdoor/display division known as VisionGraphix. Delivering high-quality super large format projects But Lithographix is completely focused on high quality print and customer service, building close relationships with its customers to meet their demanding requirements. “Our customers want to enjoy the same predictability of color and print quality for their large format graphics, as they did from our commercial work,” says Wolden. “We believe that the KBA Rapida 205 will deliver this exceptional fine quality for our customers and help us broaden our services and generate business from existing customers as well as new sales.” Lithographix was established in 1953 as a general commercial printer. In 1980, the company was purchased by Herb Zebrack, who set-up its 260,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility in Los Angeles, with an additional manufacturing division in San Diego, and sales offices in San Francisco, Detroit and Chicago. Currently employing over 375 people, the company specializes in the automotive and entertainment markets, providing a host of commercial and digitally printed applications including annual reports, brochures, posters, indoor and outdoor graphics. Current company annual revenue is $120 million, expected to grow to $145 million by 2007.




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