KBA Open House-Partnership, Product Demonstrations, and Peer Group Discussions Dominate Three Day Event
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
KBA North America, a leading global press manufacturer based in Williston, Vt., welcomed over 120 key North American customers to its Open House at its headquarters on Oct. 12-14, 2007. Held in the newly-enlarged Customer Center, the Open House demonstrated KBA’s leadership in the large format press market, its strength in the 41-inch straight and perfector press market, its rock-solid experience in printing on all different types of substrates, and its strong partnership that it forms with all of its customers providing the highest level of care in service and quality. The Open House also provided a venue for newly-named CEO and President Holger Garbrecht to introduce himself and welcome customers to the headquarters.
“I am proud of our KBA team for the warm welcome and excellent presentations that they gave to our customers at the Open House,” says Garbrecht. “There is nothing that equals the one-on-one or small group presentations to demonstrate KBA’s breadth of press offerings—from our award-winning Genius 52 to our large format Rapida 142 and super large Rapida 205 81-inch sheetfed press. During this three day event, our main goal was to show customers that KBA is a partner in their business, we build presses to their specifications and needs, and we spend the time consulting with them on their needs and remain a partner with them after the press installation to ensure their continued success.”
Press descriptions and demos and high-end product samples
The Customer Center, managed by Chris Travis and his team, features a KBA Rapida 142 56-inch six-color plus coater, a KBA Rapida 105 41-inch six-color with coater and UV capabilities, a KBA Performa 74 29-inch six-color plus coater, and a KBA Genius 52 UV 21-inch five-color press. KBA vice presidents and district sales managers took turns explaining the intricacies of each press, the unique and award-winning components, and various high-end jobs produced on the presses. Spread among the presses were examples of super large-format jobs of US and world maps printed on the Rapida 205 81-inch press, high-quality reproductions printed on the Rapida 105 41-inch and amazing lenticular jobs printed on the Genius 52 UV.
Helping guests to become more profitable was the theme of an interesting panel discussion between three different KBA customer printers who described their unique positions and how their KBA press helped to differentiate their company. Moderated by Eric Frank, KBA vice president of corporate marketing, the panel consisted of Gilbert Ashdown, USB Printing, a commercial/packaging printer located in Los Angeles; John Giusto, Curtis Packaging Corporation, a designer and manufacturer of custom folding cartons located in Sandy Hook, CT; and Joe Kulis, The Garvey Group. a network of advertising, marketing, print production, support and fulfillment divisions located in the Midwest and dedicated to the design, production and distribution of graphic and electronic communication materials.
Trio of key printer panelists
The discussion was a free-wheeling range of answers about market trends, KBA equipment, and each firm’s success and profitability by partnering with KBA. John Giusto of Curtis Packaging, described how his firm works closely with designers to produce a different, unique package for each cosmetic or fragrance launch—all enabled due to the firm’s KBA Rapida 105 that allows Curtis to produce a variety of different techniques on an array of substrates. Joe Kulis of The Garvey Group revealed that his customers are always pushing the limits on print jobs and the necessity for their KBA press to respond to customer requests. Unique substrates are the differentiator among southern California printers, said Gilbert Ashdown, and their KBA press has put them in a leadership position in this particular niche.
Concluding the panel discussion, John Giusto of Curtis Packaging said, “When we purchased our KBA press, we did a lot of research and KBA was the best. Since the installation, we’ve found KBA service to give us an immediate response. We wouldn’t buy a machine from any other press manufacturer.” “KBA built a machine that fit our needs,” added Ashdown of USB Printing.
Vermont art reproductions printed on canvas
To demonstrate KBA’s ability to print on a wide variety of substrates, the Vermont artist Gabriel Boray signed reproductions of three of his well-known paintings that were printed on a canvas substrate on the KBA Rapida 41-inch six-color press. Guests lined up to chat with the artist and have the three Vermont scenes signed.
On Saturday Oct. 13, a new slate of events continued to captivate the guests. Three trade journalists who attended the Open House were invited to form a panel to talk about trends in the graphic arts industry and take questions from the guests. Lisa Cross, senior editor of Graphic Arts Monthly; Andrew Luke, associate publisher of Graphic Monthly; and Katherine O’Brien, editor of American Printer magazine; provided a lively discussion on topical trends in the industry.
Attendees also enjoyed intimate peer group sessions designed around particular topics of interest. Sessions included discussions on packaging, marketing, how to move into large format, waterless printing, UV inks, prepress, as well as used presses versus new presses.
Assisting in the Open House was a number of KBA partner firms who discussed one-on-one how their equipment aids the printing process. Present were Colter & Peterson, DRAABE, Flint Ink, Hiflex Corporation, Kodak, Pace Industries, and Pacur.
Fully-equipped prepress area in customer service center
Attendees were able to view the extensive prepress area at the KBA Customer Service Center, which is equipped with Kodak’s Prinergy workflow system, Magnus VLF platesetter, and Trendsetter platesetter.
"KBA’s hospitality at their Open House Event was exceptional,” says Mark Wilton of Kodak. “We have invested in their Kodak Premier Solutions Facility, where they have a complete prepress solution from workflow to CTP and plates, which provides their showroom the technology to make the presses shine.
During the event it was clearly demonstrated and mentioned that Kodak technology played a significant role in the success of the event. We participated specifically in the Prepress Trends seminar, where we were able to educate the attendees about such topics. Overall Kodak and KBA will continue to work together for the success of our current joint and future customers."
After hours, the attendees were able to enjoy the beautiful Vermont countryside in its fall foliage splendor and its warmth and hospitality. On Thursday evening, a welcome boat cruise on Lake Champlain allowed the guests to mingle and view the beautiful colorful shoreline. Friday evening brought the attendees to the Echo Center, a state-of-the-art three-story lake aquarium and science museum on the shores of Lake Champlain where 100 hands-on interactive exhibits and over 60 species of live fish, amphibians, and reptiles are housed. During the three hour visit, guests were entertained by a jazz duo. Just before sitting down to a delicious Vermont fare, the sun set over the shore of the lake and the mountains in the background. The following evening, the concluding event was a sunset boat cruise on Lake Champlain with a lobster dinner.